Whether Randy Rainbow is flirting on the phone with his new boyfriend Mel Gibson or taking advice from the uber-professional Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the New York-based YouTube star is routinely hilarious, cheeky, and provocative. On the heels of his newest clip, an instant classic about the idiocy of Chik-fil-A, we caught up with Mr. Rainbow (yep, that’s his real name) to discuss what makes him laugh, where his ideas come from, and the Broadway obsession that fuels his web series “Chewing the Scenery.”
AfterElton: Tell me the origin story of your “phone call” videos, like the Mel Gibson and Dr. Laura clips. Where did the idea come from?
Randy Rainbow: Well, it all started with Mel Gibson, as most things do. I’d been doing a written blog for a while and was ready to start incorporating some of my performance skills. I’d done a couple of sketch videos prior and then the whole Mel story broke and it just sparked something deep within my uterus, or wherever creativity comes from. I was having drinks with a friend and I suddenly turned to him and said, “I think I should start dating Mel Gibson, ya know, for publicity.” We both giggled at the notion for about another drink and the rest is her-story. And because that video blew up, I figured I would stick to the format of incorporating myself into these high profile situations under absurd circumstances. There’s always fun material out there for me to work with.
AE: You have an Audrey Hepburn poster in the Mel Gibson video. Come on, really? You don’t like real bad-asses like Dietrich and Bette Davis?
RR: Hey! Never judge a book by the Audrey Hepburn poster hanging in its kitchen. I’m actually not even that huge an Audrey enthusiast, to tell you the truth, though I do enjoy her. It was on sale and It went nicely in my kitchen. Bette Davis is definitely much more my speed.
AE: Judging by the celebrity cameos in some of your videos, you’re apparently friends with Michael Urie and Brent Corrigan. How did these correspondences come about?
RR: Once my videos started getting some nice press, I figured I’d better get a few big names on the bill. I’d never met Michael Urie, but we have a mutual friend who gave me his info and he immediately agreed to make a cameo. He’s a delight and I’ll always be very grateful to him. Brent Corrigan actually was just a fan of my stuff – the feeling is very mutual, by the way – and he tweeted me late one night asking if I wanted to do a video with him. Imagine my disappointment when I found out he was talking about comedy.
AE: Your Chik-fil-A video is hilarious. Like in your Mel Gibson-style vids, it shows you nonchalantly deflecting vile people. Does this comic style mask what I suspect is a healthy rage?
RR: I have a lot of healthy rage, that’s for sure. But I think my videos are kind of a metaphor for how I generally try to handle things that upset me, which is to take a step back, look at the bigger picture, find the humor in it, and laugh at the damn thing.