Support the news
Singer and comedian Randy Rainbow has gained close to a million followers on social media for his Broadway satires that take on political themes. Among the videos are "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea," "Putin and the Ritz," and "GOP Dropout."
Here & Now's Robin Young talks to Rainbow (@RandyRainbow) about his political satire and the pressure he feels to keep on producing.
On keeping up with the news cycle
"I haven't slept since January, to be honest with you. I'm holding on by a thread, but I'll make it through."
On his video about former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci
"It was quite crazy the way it happened because I was editing the video — I had a whole, sort of, different video planned. When the news came through, without thinking, I just did my hair and makeup and I just jumped in front of my green screen and had to reconstruct the whole ending of the video."
Oh his production set
"If you saw my setup you would laugh at me. It's quite absurd. I do it all from my little studio apartment in Astoria, Queens, and I stand in front of a camera on a tripod while my cat watches me, making faces at me."
On Broadway-style parodies and how his work stays true to himself
"I think kind of what you see in the videos is true to me, if not maybe a slightly heightened version of my real self."
On how he started making these satires
"I started by doing a blog back when everyone was blogging, which was kind of just about my life and that turned into kind of doing more hot-topic stuff. And I would tackle, you know, do commentary on what was on everyone's Facebook feed. And I guess from there I started working for broadwayworld.com, which is a very well-known Broadway website. So, they had me sort of doing hot topics but for Broadway. Coming from a musical theater background I would just tell the news via Broadway show tunes. And that's how that song parodies came about.
"Somehow along the way, I put the two together and did the more mainstream news with the show tunes, and somehow it kind of works."
On keeping up with the demand
"I have like 700,000 people on Facebook alone asking for them on a daily basis, and so I feel an obligation now."
On reactions to the videos
"I do hear, certainly, from everybody, all across the board. I always say it's surprising, though, how much hate mail I don't get, considering the subject matter I'm tackling. I hear a lot from people saying, 'You know, I just have to tell you, I don't agree with your political views, I have nothing in common with you, but I love your videos. And I always say 'Thank you. That's terrific. Let's grab a drink sometime, you sound great.' I think it kind of speaks to just sort of how unifying comedy can be in times like these."
On whether satirical videos of the Obama administration would offend him
"Not I. I mean, I'm from the Joan Rivers, Don Rickles kind of old-school comedy in that nothing is off the table, certainly not in politics. So, I think if you can find something to laugh at, that's got people kind of on edge, or, you know, stressed out, I think you gotta go for it."
This segment aired on October 9, 2017.