Randy Rainbow rides Trump train to viral video heaven
Perhaps you find Randy Rainbow’s song parodies disrespectful. Like “Desperate Cheeto,” where he zings President Trump for “Upsetting everyone you meet-o.” Or “The Room Where it Happened,” where he uses the “Hamilton” showstopper of the same name to take on Donald Trump Jr.’s ever-expanding Trump Tower meeting guest list.
(“Lots of Russians in the room where it happened,” he sings, expressive eyebrows raised for maximum “What the hell?” effect.)
Perhaps you would like to compose a very angry email to Mr. Rainbow asking him to stop making these videos that you can’t seem to stop watching. Stop writing these highly inappropriate, unapologetically liberal lyrics that make you giggle even when you really don’t want to.
Good luck with that.
“I always say it’s surprising how much hate mail I don’t get,” said Rainbow, who is bringing his live show to the Martinis Over Fourth cabaret in Hillcrest on Nov. 21 and 22.
“What I do hear from people on the other side is, ‘I don’t agree with you, but I watch your videos and they make me laugh.’ That’s how important comedy is and how important it is to laugh.”
Randy Rainbow is his real name, and gut-busting political commentary has become his game.
His “Super Braggadocious” video, made after the first debate between Trump and Hillary Clinton, has been viewed 27 million times on Facebook. The riotous “Desperate Cheeto” has racked up 666,000 views on YouTube in just the last month. He has almost 770,000 Facebook followers and an original musical in the works.
And no one is more shocked by this Trump-fueled turn of events than the mocking man himself.
A Florida native, Rainbow grew up in a showbiz-oriented family. His father was a musician, his grandfather was a bandleader, and his maternal grandmother was just naturally hilarious. (“She was my biggest comedic inspiration,” Rainbow said. “She was a nurse and a comic genius.”)
He spent his formative years doing community and regional theater, dropping out of college to work on a cruise ship. Rainbow moved to New York in the early 2000s, bringing with him an encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater and only a vague idea about what he might do with it.
So he worked various day jobs (receptionist, Hooters host); wrote a blog about Broadway; and snagged a writing gig with the BroadwayWorld website.
All the while, he was creating parody videos in his apartment. As writer, director, photographer, editor and star, Rainbow was a one-man YouTube machine. And in 2010, he hit pop pay dirt.
The clip that changed it all was “Randy Rainbow is Dating Mel Gibson,” a homemade video that re-purposed a recording of Gibson ranting at a former girlfriend to rip-snorting effect.
“What do I wear tonight?” Rainbow says into the phone.
“WHAT THE (BLEEP)?” the recorded Gibson bellows.
You don’t want to know what recorded Mel thought about Randy’s new throw pillows.
The video went viral, and a surprising career was off and quipping.
“I decided then that I would do the hot topic that everyone was talking about,” said the 36-year-old performer, who has created and starred in multiple web series for BroadwayWorld, written for comedian Kathy Griffin and performed at the Tony Awards.
“Sometimes it was political, and sometimes it was more pop-culture based. It was always the thing that was on everyone’s news feed or trending on Twitter. It took a natural turn to politics a year ago. What else are we talking about?”
And if people are talking about something Trumpian, chances are good that Rainbow is in his apartment in Astoria, Queens, turning breaking news into toe-tapping satire while his Persian cat, Mushi, looks on.
Does the president’s social-media mania make you crazy? Rainbow’s “Before He Tweets” — “And though he’s volatile, erratic and slightly dumb/He’s got the whole world under his tiny thumb” — will have you cackling in your straitjacket.
Frustrated by those calls of “Fake News”? Sing along to Rainbow’s “Fiddler-on-the-Roof” inspired “Fact Checker, Fact Checker,” and your mood will improve considerably.
Wondering how a musical-theater geek from Florida became the life of our political party? Rainbow wonders that himself sometimes. But there is no doubt in his busy brain about why.
“After the election, I was depressed for a week. But I have it a little better than a lot of people, because I’ve made it my job to laugh at things. I learned this from my family. No matter what is going on, you go for the laugh. Because if you don’t laugh, you cry.”
Randy Rainbow Live
When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 21, and Wednesday, Nov. 22
Where: Martinis Over Fourth, 3940 Fourth Ave., Hillcrest
Tickets: Sold out ($35-$40, plus $15 food/drink minimum per person)
Phone: (619) 400-4500
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