Randy Rainbow achieved Internet stardom with his series of political spoofs and song parodies satirizing mainstream media and conservative leaders such as Donald Trump through green screened mock interviews and now he’s set to bring his unique brand of song comedy to the Calvin Theatre in Northampton on May 18. Rainbow spoke with Valley Advocate staff writer Chris Goudreau about his upcoming performance and speaking truth to power through comedy.
Chris Goudreau: How did you get your start in music and comedy?
Randy Rainbow: From a very early age, my family has always been very musical and very funny. The dinner table was always like Last Comic Standing. I was turned on to musical theater; specifically music comedy. It’s always been a thing for me.
Chris: I heard that your grandmother was a big influence on your comedy?
Randy: She’s still to this day, the funniest person I’ve ever met. She’s just a combo of Joan Rivers and Lucille Ball and Bea Arthur and other funny women that I had seen on television. I had learned recently that the format of my videos, which a lot of times is me inserting myself into these interview situations. It’s just really just kind of what she would always do when I was at her house. Whenever I was at her house, the TV would be on in the background and if they were interviewing a politician or a celebrity she would talk back to that person as if she were conducting the interview; and just inserting these hilarious one-liners. I realized recently, that’s kind of what I’ve been doing. I’m a crazy old lady talking back to the TV.
Chris: Do you find the current political landscape a great thing or a terrible thing for comedy?
Randy: Oh, for comedy it’s fabulous. It’s terrible for the country, but it’s been great my career, which is all what we should be concerned with. Every day there’s something new. It’s amazing. You can’t keep up.
Chris: What are your thoughts on Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner?
Randy: I thought she killed. I thought she did a great job. People seem to be rewriting history a little bit. When I was first hearing it covered I thought, ‘God knows what she had done or said.’ It sounded like she really berated [Sarah Huckabee Sanders] and went after her looks, but I thought she did a great job. It’s interesting what people are accusing to be offended by nowadays. Comedians in general are an endangered species and we have to protect them whenever we can.
Chris: Could you tell me what your writing process is like?
Randy: These days it’s a couple [videos] a month, but if it’s a musical parody I’ll pair the situation at hand with a song. I do try to get it out in the course of 48 hours because you have to be quick these days just because of social media. If you’re covering anything with this administration, the news cycle changes by the next day at noon. I will write and record a song for about two to four hours and film it and stay up all night editing. I try to get it out the next day.
Chris: What are your thoughts about using comedy as a way to speak truth to power? Do you believe that it can be used in that way?
Randy: Yeah, absolutely. For me, it’s always been the only way to really communicate truth … It’s just a way of leveling with people. It’s just the best way to get to the heart of the matter.
Chris: What’s the focus of your tour and what are you planning for your show in Northampton?
Randy: We’ve been touring for a bit now. This particular tour is all about the music. Some of my most viral videos have been song parodies. It’s all the greatest hits. There’s a big screen and some videos that are interactive that segue into the songs … There’s a Q&A and a little comedy mixed in.