What a perfect day to bring this up - Halloween. Think Halloween 365 days a year and that is a drag show; costumes, fantasies, silliness and fun.
Having lived in LA, Chicago, New York, Berlin and Las Vegas, I have pretty much lived in the hubs of drag show environments. However, nothing compares to Berlin where drag is an art and a long standing tradition.
In Berlin, I know people who have made a good living doing nothing but drag - Romy Haag being one of the most famous, having even had a brief, public relationship with David Bowie. But there are many others - Everest is famous for his spot-on impersonations of Marlene Dietrich, others created their own “character” and some simply adapted to the persona of the day - Cher, Madonna, Streisand, Liza, Shirley Bassey - most likely there are several Lady Gaga’s running around now as well.
We have a good friend who visits Las Vegas once a year and he makes most of his money in Berlin doing drag - working stage shows, galas, private parties and making television appearances. He is actually a very funny comedian and can work an audience like you cannot believe - snappy comments, quips, political commentary. The fact that he dresses as a woman makes it easier for him to get away with a lot of his material - women laugh, as they seem him as sympathetic to their viewpoints, and men laugh as they hear him make comments “nice women” would never say. His audience is rarely Gay men, mostly heterosexual, older couples who find him non-threatening, but wildly funny and exotic.
There is a huge difference from professional drag acts vs the amateur who will maybe do it a couple times per year. The professionals know their niche - some are drop dead gorgeous and others are purely comical - some go for the big names and lip-sync the songs, other sing using their real voices - but they have all learned how to entertain and adapt their shows to various audiences.
Drag shows are not for everybody - to be honest, I have pretty much “been there, done that” and don’t go see them anymore. But they are entertaining diversions - nothing more odd than watching country singers dressing up in cowboy drag for a concert in Madison Square Garden, or strippers doing pole dancing wearing 12 inch stilettos, the bling on hip-hop singers, the piercing/tattoos/long hair of heavy metal rockers - everybody has their costumes for their shows.