BY Ross von Metzke
January 05 2010 7:05 PM ET
Response has been huge from the deaf community but also from the gay community? Were you surprised that both were on board with what you were doing?
Yeah, I’m surprised about the gay community, a little bit. I mean, clearly, I’m pretty much shirtless in every one of these videos, so obviously, it’s going to get some kind of attention from that. But I’m kind of shocked there is such a large following from that, because I would say it’s equal. I’ll venture to say maybe more gay guys than deaf people. A while ago I posted a “Gays Should Not Marry” video, and it was a spoof on gay marriage. That, I think, brought people too.
Well, and the fact that you focus on Britney and Lady Gaga doesn’t hurt.
Well, they’re gay icons. Of course.
Why specifically the two of them?
I don’t know. Their songs are just a lot of fun. Specifically, with Lady Gaga, even if she wasn’t really popular, I think her music is very creative, and it allows you to have your own ideas about the song without ever needing to see her or her videos. Britney I grew up on. She has these awesome beats. And that’s another reason. When you’re interpreting music, I don’t particularly care for slow, monotonous. You need something that can make you move, and make your hands move as well as your feet.
These seem like really elaborate undertakings ... the signing aside, the videos themselves are well-produced. How long does the typical video take you, start to finish?
It depends. I tend to procrastinate, so if I take away all of the procrastination, it would take me about three to four days of editing nonstop, and filming could take about a full week. There are all the costumes ... I fund everything myself. I buy all these weird metal chains. I go to the hardware store and he’s like, “Oh, what do you need the chains for?” “I’m wrapping myself up.” “Um, OK, have fun.” “Bad Romance” is actually the fastest video I’ve ever done, and it’s also the most expensive. But like I said, I actually had the idea in my head already, so I didn’t have to think, Hmm ... what would I do here?
Has doing these videos actually led to more work as a performer?
Yes. That’s another kind of a shocker. YouTube is kind of a weird dichotomy. People think, Oh, it’s YouTube. But people see you through YouTube ... it is a huge platform. Broadway Bares found me through there, and I told them, “I’m not really a dancer. I can learn, but I move with my hands.” But they wanted me to do it. There were others. The New York Public Theater — I interpreted one of their plays, right there on the stage with the actors. It kind of constantly brings me to a place where I’m able to perform more. I’ve interpreted off-Broadway shows.