A day before I interviewed Randy Rainbow, I was sitting in a Starbucks in my neighborhood enjoying a venti dark roast coffee with three pumps of pumpkin spice. I began chatting with a really handsome British guy who I assumed was straight. Once he found out I worked in LGBT media, he asked, “I just love that guy Randy Rainbow who is creating those hilarious election videos.”
This election cycle has had a lot of breakout stars, and Randy Rainbow is one of the viral sensations leading that pack. So much so, his name is brought up during random coffee talks with straight strangers at Starbucks.
Well, I had the opportunity to actually tell Rainbow this story the next day before I interviewed him. We then gabbed about his new-found celebrity, his cats, working with the cast of Will and Grace, and what is next for him.
Election season ends tomorrow, but we have a feeling Rainbow is here to stay.
Randy Rainbow (in response to the British guy at Starbucks): I love that story. He was straight, though?
Alexander Kacala: I think he was. I probably could have slept with him but who knows?
Who cares about you! I was talking about me! I want his number.
Wait, Randy Rainbow is your real name?
Everyone thinks it’s a stage name but if you think about it would be the worst stage name ever. Who would invent that name? Unless they were a clown or a drag queen.
How long have you been doing this? I know that when people see an overnight sensation like you they say, “Where did he come from? He came out of nowhere!” But I’m sure you have been doing this for a long time.
Yeah, I have been doing the videos for about five years now. I have had a nice, steady but slow climb in my numbers of notoriety for five years. I was doing pop culture mostly and then this election. Thank God! I just had so much material. It absolutely sky rocketed. The last three months have really been like a re-birth for me.
You film all of your videos in your apartment, right?
I do. It’s me in my tiny little studio apartment in New York City and my green screen.
And your cats.
And my cats!
I did read an interview where you mentioned them but I probably could have assumed you being a gay man that there were cats involved. How did the Will and Grace collaboration happen?
Debra Messing was following me on Twitter for a few weeks. She was re-tweeting a lot of my videos which was thrilling for me because of course I am a huge fan. And then one night, I got a DM from her on Twitter saying, “Hey Randy. I’m a big fan. And I know it’s a big ask but the cast of Will and Grace is reuniting to do a Hillary fundraiser next week. Could you possibly write us a parody to sing?" So I threw myself off the balcony because I was so excited and I said, “Yes, Debra Messing, I will squeeze it into my schedule.” Which is fucking crazy but my schedule is really so crazy and for a second I was like, “Debra Messing, worst timing ever!” So I had to rearrange my whole life but I was so excited and over the moon to do it.
— Eric McCormack (@EricMcCormack) October 28, 2016
Tell me about the process of coming up with the song?
I asked if they had anything specific in mind and she said, “Well, we love Broadway but we’ll leave it up to you. We love Broadway and we love peppy.” She had a few points to hit, the usual Trump mockery stuff. So I came up with “Officer Krupke” from West Side Story. It’s peppy and wordy and I shot that back to her and she said, “Perfect." And then I sent her the lyrics a few days later and she loved it but she said, “This is great and I know I’m being greedy but I’m such a fan. I want to have a recording of you singing it.” So again I was like, "Yes, Debra Messing! I will do whatever you ask me to do!" I recorded a demo for the whole cast and the next thing you know, I am on this email chain with Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Sean Hayes, and Megan Mullally. And I died.
You are performing Election Eve in New York City. Tell our readers about that show.
I will be at Birdland here in New York which is very exciting. It’s sort of going to be a culmination of all my videos. I just came to rehearsal and I have a live band and a lot of Broadway performers coming to do election-themed material. And we are sold out!
That is incredible. What is next for you after the election is over?
I have had a few meetings with some networks and lots of production companies. Hopefully, I am going to get to work on some sort of television project. My dream is to - I like the scripted comedy thing. That has always been my dream. Talking about Will and Grace. I would love to be on a sitcom like that but because of what I am known for now it seems that people want me to do more of a hybrid of The Daily Show and some sketch comedy and a Chelsea, Lately sort of thing. I am working with a few fancy people on developing a pilot for that. Hopefully, that takes off and becomes successful. And I am also being asked to perform live at various places around the country so I have to work on a live show too and go on a little tour in a few months.
I am going to ask you some random questions. So just imagine you are Sarah Jessica Parker walking around your brownstone in the West Village.
Aren’t I? I thought I was.
Where are you from originally?
What’s your favorite movie?
The Wizard Of Oz
Favorite Meryl Streep film?
Oh my god! That is Sophie’s choice! The Devil Wears Prada
Favorite TV show that’s currently on?
Are you single or taken?
Single. Damn It.
Twitter or Instagram?
Vine or Snapchat? Oh, well Vine doesn’t exist anymore so…
I had a Vine. It was like an abandoned amusement park.
Who should EVERYONE be following right now?
Favorite Golden Girl?
Oh God! Again with these questions! Dorothy.
Who are you most like on Sex and the City?
I am really a hybrid but let’s say Carrie.
Favorite character on Sex and the City?
What’s your favorite fast food restaurant?
What’s the hardest thing about being a YouTuber?
Being alone all the time.
Anderson Cooper or Andy Cohen?
Drag queen crush?
Bianca Del Rio
I don’t watch that show. Believe it or not. Is Dorinda one? She follows me on Twitter so let’s say her.
What’s your spirit animal?
Cat cause I’m a lesbian.
Best gift you’ve ever received?
I just got a big, beautiful flower arrangement form the cast of Will and Grace.
A person you want to have coffee with?
What’s your favorite curse word?
Marry, fuck, kill: Violet, Trump, Melania, Ivanka.
This is disgusting. I will marry Melania. I guess I will screw Ivanka. Trump is dead.
Grindr or Scruff?
What would your Craiglist profile headline be?
I will tell you what my Grindr one is. It’s, “Less masc than a lesbian but more masc than a kitten.”
Watch Rainbow’s latest video:
This interview has been edited and condensed.