Kiki & Herb Segue From ‘Mister Fister’ Into ‘What Child Is This?’ at Carnegie Hall

Great musicians, not so good at pull-ups. Photo: Getty Images

Christmas came early to the gays: After three long years, Kiki & Herb made a glorious return to Carnegie Hall last night. The gaylites were out in force: John Cameron Mitchell sat near man-about-town Murray Hill, and the libidinous Alan Cumming was perched a few seats down from Rufus Wainwright — until he was asked to take his proper seat. As women giggled at the line stretching out of the men’s room, Kiki (Justin Bond’s delicious mess of an alter ego) emerged onstage bearing a glittery staff that foretold of the biblical tales she would later share. Perched next to a jug of what she called “mommy juice,” Kiki described the birth of Jesus as a Cirque du Soleil–like event (“Like nothing you’ve seen before”) and spoke of her “deeply personal relationship” and “tender lovin’” with the Lord — not to mention a contentious rivalry with Mary Magdalene. (Later she recounted an affair with Hitler, “an eccentric artist from Austria with one ball.”)

The night was not solely devoted to revisionist history. The raspy chanteuse and accompanist Herb tore through a postmodern holiday mash-up, with wailing covers of Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, and the Talking Heads bumping up against a sprinkling of Christmas tunes. In what might’ve been the most nimble juxtaposition of the night, a tale of a kinky neighbor nicknamed “Mister Fister” segued into a rousing rendition of “What Child Is This?” Later, Kiki became introspective. “It’s not a good time to go shopping or go to church,” she said, swilling whiskey. “They’re killing the shoppers and the churchgoers — who’s left?” She then flung her arms open, indicating herself and the audience, and all in attendance cheered madly, applauding their ageless drunken queen. —Michael Alan Connelly