EMMYS: Randy Rainbow talks excitement over first Emmy nomination, LGBTQ representation in entertainment, and growing popularity on YouTube

August 28, 2019

Among the long list of LGBTQ nominees at the 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, there are a number of first-time nominees, including Randy Rainbow, whose YouTube comedy series "The Randy Rainbow Show” is nominated for Outstanding Short Form Variety Series.

A comedian and singer, Randy Rainbow is best known for his series of spoofs and song parodies, often providing commentary on the current American political climate. Over the past decade, Randy has earned himself a loyal fan base, accumulating over 300,000 subscribers and over 44 million views on his YouTube channel. Randy has also taken his comedy on the road, touring the U.S. to sold-out shows with “Randy Rainbow Live.”

This week, GLAAD had the chance to catch up with Randy to talk about his Emmy nomination, his growing success on YouTube, and the significance of LGBTQ representation at this year’s Emmys.

GLAAD: How does it feel to be nominated for your first ever Emmy this year? What was your reaction when you found out?

Randy Rainbow: It was totally surreal. I had just wrapped an interview with NPR when I got the news. Needless to say, it feels incredible. My reaction when I found out? Elation followed by.... WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO WEAR????

G: Your YouTube comedy series “The Randy Rainbow Show” is known for its parody videos with a political focus. What inspired you to take this route with your comedy?

RR: It happened organically. My parodies are my commentary on the absurd and ridiculous taken from the headlines. Trump came in and dominated that discussion.

G: This year’s Emmys are very LGBTQ-inclusive, with a long list of LGBTQ people and content nominated in various categories. Why do you think it’s so important to see this growing representation for the LGBTQ community in entertainment?

RR: I think that our contribution to this form of art is undeniable and it’s nice to see the gay community being more accepted and acknowledged. But look at history, at the tremendous contribution we have made to the Arts in general! We are a pretty fabulous lot - that can’t be ignored!

G: You’ve been posting YouTube videos for over a decade now. In that amount of time, you’ve acquired over 300,000 subscribers on your channel. How does it feel to have this level of impact online and how do you feel you’ve evolved as a comedian since you started on YouTube?

RR: It’s funny, there are many that have far more followers than I do. What I hope makes my videos different is how they resonate with what is happening in America that day and are rapidly shared. I turn a video around pretty quickly - usually 48 hours.

G: Over the past year, what is one of your favorite videos that you’ve created and why?

RR: I would say my parody of The Cell Block Tango because I received so much incredible praise on the complexity of it. Truth is, I made it in my apartment in Astoria, Queens just like all the others. I’m a self-taught, one man show so to be complimented by fancy industry experts on the production value is extraordinarily gratifying.

G: What would an Emmy win mean to you?

RR: Not only would it be a tremendous recognition of my work but a confirmation that all the time I have put into this crazy career paid off. I’m taking my mother to the Emmys, who always believed in me and supported me. It means so much to me personally that I get to experience all of this with her. She’s so proud and fully expects me to win. Gwen Rainbow is not coming to play!