Murray Hill (performer)

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Murray Hill at The Cooper Union

Murray Hill is a New York City comedian and drag king entertainer. He is the entertainer persona of Busby Murray Gallagher, although this persona is maintained even in private settings.[1][2][3][4] Murray Hill is the self-proclaimed "hardest-working middle-aged man in show business".[5]

In The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures, Judith Halberstam praised Hill for "transforming masculinity and exposing its theatricality with profound results".[6] The New York Times called him "the current reigning patriarch of the downtown performance community"[3] and the Seattle Weekly called him a "pioneer" of drag kings.[7]


Hill started performing in 1995, when the East Village's cutting edge chic waned as the neighborhood gentrified, the art galleries moved for cheaper rent in Chelsea and the music scene shifted to the Pacific Northwest. His famous impersonations include Elvis and John Travolta.[8] Hill was part of a 1990s wave of comedians and performers whose talent stood out in the Lower East Side and East Village scene, emblematic of the neighborhood as portrayed in the musical Rent.

Hill is a frequent emcee in Lower Manhattan of such events as the annual "Ms. Lez" competition,[9] a bingo night with co-host drag queen Linda Simpson, and a variety of burlesque and theater performances.[10][11][12]

Hill was the opening act for a tour of the rock band Le Tigre[3] and has opened up for The Gossip. He has performed at parties given by Joan Rivers, Ivana Trump and Liza Minnelli, and his acts incorporate homages to Joey Adams, Benny Hill, Sammy Davis Jr., and Henny Youngman.[3]

Hill has also performed regularly with award-winning violinist Scott Tixier.

Hill had cameos in John Cameron Mitchell's 2006 film Shortbus and HBO's Bored to Death. He also appears in Dirty Martini and the New Burlesque, a film about NYC's burlesque scene with a focus on performer Dirty Martini. Hill and Michael Musto appeared in the video for TV on the Radio's song "No Future Shock."[13]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Halberstam, Judith (2000). Female Masculinity. Duke UP. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-8223-2243-6.
  2. ^ "Murray Hill". Cityfile New York. Archived from the original on 2010-01-14.
  3. ^ a b c d Meet Downtown's New 'It' Boy, Ada Calhoun, The New York Times, January 9, 2005.
  4. ^ Brune, A. M. (28 March 2016). "Murray Hill: 'I'm more than a drag king. Why can't you just call me a comedian?'". the Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  5. ^ Snook, Raven (2004-05-10). "Girls, Girls, Girls: In the mood for something blue? The Second Annual New York Burlesque Festival is shakin' this weekend". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  6. ^ Judith Halberstam, "Drag Kings", in Zimmerman, Bonnie; George E. Haggerty (1999). The Encyclopedia of Lesbian and Gay Histories and Cultures. Taylor & Francis. pp. 247–49. ISBN 978-0-8153-1920-7. p. 248
  7. ^ Massengill, David (2000-06-21). "Long Live the Kings! Drag Kings are making a scene in Seattle". Seattle Weekly. Archived from the original on 2007-06-26. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  8. ^ Judith Halberstam, "Drag Queens: Masculinity and Performance," in Gelder, Ken (2005). The subcultures reader. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-34416-6. p. 414.
  9. ^ There She Is, Murray Hill and Ms. Lez, New York Magazine, June 8, 2007.
  10. ^ Burkett, Dia (2008-02-12). "Burlesque off Broadway". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  11. ^ Segal, David (2004-09-02). "N.Y. Expressionism: On the Streets and in Theaters, Political Protest Is a Multimedia Experience". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
  12. ^ Murray Hill at the Siren Music Festival, Hillary Chute, The Village Voice, July 17–23, 2002.
  13. ^ Thompson, Elizabeth (2011-04-12). "Amy Davis and Michael Musto on Making TV on the Radio's "No Future Shock" Video". Paper. Retrieved 2011-12-18.

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