Local taxi drivers offer tourists a ride to see a donkey show in the red light district. The shows are difficult to verify and may be urban legends, but anecdotal accounts are frequent. Author Jim Dawson writes: "No doubt there are clandestine clubs that have put these sordid floorshows on display, but if every man who claims he actually saw one is telling the truth, there must be a lot of bowlegged women hobbling around Tijuana."
The "donkey show" in Tijuana myth is deeply embedded in US popular culture, and it is occasionally given as a reason to visit Tijuana. From time to time one may come across naive tourists going up and down La Coahuila street, unsuccessfully trying to find the show.
More recently the term has been used to describe a situation that has become a "complete mess".
In the 2005 book The Godfather Returns written by Mark Winegardner. In the story Fredo Corleone's wife Deanna Dunn insists they attend one. The passage reads: "on a whim, they'd headed to Mexico. When they'd gotten there, Deanna Dunn, insisted on going to see a donkey show. ... who thought that watching a donkey fuck a teenage Indian girl was a hoot."
In the 2006 film Clerks II the character Randal Graves sets up a surprise going away party for his friend Dante Hicks, hiring "Kinky Kelly and the Sexy Stud", a donkey show which turns out to be homoerotic in nature.
In the 2007 movie The Heartbreak Kid, Ben Stiller and Michelle Monaghan are tricked in to a small theater with false advertising but instead find a donkey show.
In a 2008 episode of House entitled "It's a Wonderful Lie", Dr. Gregory House treats a clinic patient for contagious ecthyma which he believes she contracted while performing in a donkey show. She then invites him to come watch the show. House goes to see the patient's show where he sees her playing the Virgin Mary in a nativity play and appears to be sitting on a real mule.
In an episode of Strangers With Candy, Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris) makes reference to participating in a donkey show in Tijuana. She says she used to use homemade drugs for their numbing effects during the show.
In the episode My Fallen Idol of the American comedy-drama television series Scrubs the Chief of MedicineDr. Kelso asks the protagonist John Dorian and his friend Chris Turk whether or not they have seen a real donkey show, further describing the show as "really very tastefully done," adding "I understand one of the women who entertains the donkey used to be on a soap".
In the Dick Figures episode "The Red Devil", Red and Blue ask a woman to take them to a "burro show". When they get out of it, Red seems to have enjoyed it, but Blue is in tears, showing sympathy for "the poor donkey".
^New West. 1981. "One of the drivers offered to drive me to a donkey show. In Tijuana's past the donkey show was always rumored to exist"
^"Ethnic, sexual slurs pervade bar". Denver Post. June 8, 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-21. "Although donkey shows in Tijuana and other border towns are impossible to verify, the Internet is rife with anecdotal accounts of brothel bestiality."
^"On the Borders". Chicago Tribune. March 17, 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-21. "I did ask Ricardo Lizarraga about Tijuana donkey shows. He laughed. I havent heard the donkey show rumor in years he said. It's like an urban legend"
^Mark Winegardner (2005). The Godfather Returns. p. 252. "Last night, they'd taken their wives and gone out on the town, such as it was. On a whim, they'd headed to Mexico. When they'd gotten there, Deanna Dunn insisted on going to see a donkey show. Charlotte, at least as of this morning"