Randy Rainbow is a comedian, actor, singer and writer, but became incredibly famous for his hilarious YouTube videos. In his earlier work, he staged fake phone conversations with famous people by editing real audio clips of those celebrities. He was steadily building a following of subscribers, but his breakout video came in 2010 with “Randy Rainbow is Dating Mel Gibson.”
In the 2016 American Presidential campaign Rainbow gained a larger audience, with a series of spoof interviews and musical parodies skewering the election process and the candidates, especially Donald Trump and his cronies.
It was a pleasure to sit down with Randy Rainbow right before his appearance at the Sunshine Cathedral as part of the Outlandish Fort Lauderdale Comedy Series.
Were you always outspoken even as a kid, or when did the performer in you come out?
I was actually a pretty shy kid. I’ve always had a lot to say but have also always been somewhat introverted. That’s how the performer in me was born. Like many performers, I needed to create personas that would allow me to express myself. My family has also always been hardcore into musicals, so it’s in my genes.
When did you get your first professional gig?
Does my Bar Mitzvah count? Wouldn’t matter, anyway. I didn’t have one. I sang on a horrible children’s album when I was about 11. I think I got about twelve cents for it.
When did you realize that entertainment would be your career?
I’ve always known on some level, but I guess the final nail in the coffin was when I took a leap of faith and quit my day job several years ago. Frankly, performing is the only thing I enjoy and the only thing I’m good at professionally, so there was never really a choice.
What was it like working with two of my favorites: Bianca Del Rio, and Margaret Cho?
Who? Just kidding. It was a blast. Bianca and I have been friends for a long time. We used to have weekly shows running simultaneously at the same gay bar in New York City. Margaret Cho has been an idol of mine for years, so to meet her for the first time on a soundstage and get to sing and dance with her in a fancy commercial was beyond my gayest dreams.
How do you turn your videos around so quickly?
When something major happens in the news, I do my best to get a video up as soon as possible, which means writing, singing and filming all day and then editing all night. I haven’t slept since last October.
I know this is a really hard question, but what is your favorite video (Ok, I will but an “S” at the end of video if it helps)?
Of my own videos? That’s like asking a parent which of their children they love more: The ones that make me the most money, of course! But seriously, if I have to choose, “Desperate Cheeto” has been a big hit for me lately. “Braggadocious” will also always have a special place in my heart.
Mixing politics and musicals has become your claim to fame, why do you think people like this so much?
It’s an unlikely pairing, which I think people find appealing – like bacon and peanut butter. I also think in these troubling times, musical comedy is like a spoonful of sugar that helps the bullsh*t go down. (Am I allowed to say “sugar” in this magazine?)
What’s the best reactions you have had to your videos?
As a fan girl myself, it’s always most exciting to hear from the artists and celebrities I admire. Stephen Sondheim and Dick Van Dyke have written me fan mail, the cast of Will & Grace is always sending their love, and even my CNN boyfriend Jake Tapper has slid into my Twitter DMs to tell me he enjoys my videos. Swoon!
What does the future hold for you?
I have a busy year ahead. Lots of videos to make, lots of touring and lots of fun projects in the works. If my master plan works out, I hope to soon be appearing regularly on a television near you.
What should the South Florida audiences expect from your shows as part of the Outlandish Series?
Lots of laughs and free paper towels.