He's A Sensation
Randy Rainbow owns the net with hilarious viral social commentary

By Lee Valentine Smith

With self-produced videos from his studio apartment in New York, Randy Rainbow has emerged as one of You Tube's hottest social and political commentators. Since he does all his own editing and post-production, Rainbow (yes, it's his real name) has really made a name for himself. What began as parody interviews and pop-culture skewering has now turned into a cottage industry for the quick-witted performer. Now his songs and skits are taking on a life of their own on the road in a live, three-dimensional production. Think Pee Wee Herman, Weird Al and Alan Sherman all rolled into one viral video and you've got the Rainbow connection.

How does it feel to be a viral sensation?

It's amazing. I've been making videos for almost seven years now. I had a nice following and it led to a lot of cool opportunities and fun gigs but needless to say it went to the next level when um, 'you-know-who' came on the scene. It might have been terrible for the country, but he's been great for my career.

The first big thing from you that I remember was the "I'm Dating Mel Gibson" video.

That was it, the first one really. I always say, 'the older, white, anti-Semitic misogynists are really my wheelhouse.' That's where I shine. They're great for business. Maybe there's some kind of issues in my past that I need to work out, but I just know how to deal with those types. I'm lucky that every time some crazy stuff happens, I'm able to make jokes and songs about it. Otherwise, I'd just be drinking with everybody else.

So you were doing pop culture commentary and then Donald Trump comes along. Were you heading toward political commentary anyway, or was that such a culture shock that it informed your path?

That's pretty much it. I'd always go to the most viral things. Whatever was trending, whatever was on everyone's Facebook or Twitter feeds. So for me, it's easy to determine the subject matter for my work, and it was just a natural progression to talk about the current political climate.

Let's talk about the live show. A while back, you were scheduled in the suburbs at the Atlanta Comedy Theater, how was that show?

That was one of my first live gigs actually. An incredible packed house and it was one of the greatest audiences to date.

As you're taking the show across the country, can you see any cultural differences as you cross the States?

I just did a Texas tour which I was a little trepidations about. I was excited to tour through Texas but I didn't know what the response would be. But it seems like people are craving someone to bring some order to this chaos, which I hope I do a little bit.

Can you see any shifts from region to region?

Luckily I'm thrilled that I have a fanbase. So really it's specifically my people at the shows. They're really supportive and along for the ride pretty much the whole way.

You're famous for videos, so is the live show a multi-media event?

It is. And this tour, this show is really all about the music. It's called 'Randy Rainbow Live' and that's exactly what it is. Since many of my most popular viral videos have been the song parodies, so there's background videos that will kind of segue into the songs. I have a live band, which is a lot of fun for me because I have a musical theater background. I'm getting to return to my roots!

Are you bringing other comics? Is this a review style show?

It's just me! What else do ya need? Then there's a Q and A, talkback part, in the middle of the show. I get some bonding time with the audience and that has become my favorite part of the show.

What's next for you? An album, a DVD?

I think the natural progression for me will be an album. But because there's so much parody stuff, that gets a little tricky. I'm mostly known for parody but I'm looking forward to collaborating with some composers and [five time Academy Award nominated and Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner] Marc Shaiman is gonna be writing some stuff for me.

Your stuff is so of the moment, do you think you'll ever do a DVD/concert film?

People do ask for that and to me that almost seems a little antiquated now, the DVD thing. If you want to do a marathon of my videos, you can just go on You Tube. But I've getting requests to do a greatest hits-type DVD. I've been touring this show for about a year now, so it's at a place where I would like to film it.

Were you always interested in musical theater and performance?

I've been in musical theater since I was 8. My parents put me in ballet. My mother just wanted to gayest son she could possibly have, so she's been working on this for a while. So musical theater and performance has been a part of my life forever. Long story short, I moved to New York and started developing my comedy voice. Then that led to the videos and somehow along the line, it's all kind of merged together. Now here we are!

Randy Rainbow plays April 12 at the Buckhead Theater. For more information, please visit thebuckheadtheatreatl.com.

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