By Brandon Voss
Originally published on Advocate.com July 26 2010 1:05 PM ET
By now you’ve probably heard the leaked audio recordings of Mel Gibson’s alleged rants to girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva. But what if the dirty secret buried in Gibson’s rose garden were a new romance with a Jewish gay man named Randy Rainbow? The 29-year-old New York City–based blogger explains how he turned a public scandal into a YouTube sensation.
Advocate.com: How are things going with you and Mel?
Randy Rainbow: So great! We’re at that stage now where we’re getting really comfortable around each other, but where he’s still being super romantic and calling me cute little anti-Semitic pet names.
But seriously, folks. Talk to me about the inspiration behind your new YouTube video, “Randy Rainbow Is Dating Mel Gibson.”
I have a fairly twisted sense of humor, so that helped. Also, whenever I hear or see something really upsetting, my mind immediately goes to comedy — sort of as a “fight-or-flight” coping mechanism. So when I initially heard those tragic Mel Gibson tapes, I thought, Wouldn’t it be funny if this were actually him courting someone?
In the clip you break it to your mother by phone that your new boyfriend isn’t Jewish. Is Gibson’s alleged anti-Semitism part of the reason you targeted him?
That line about him not being Jewish was actually a last-minute ad lib, so I’m glad people are catching it. But yes, I figured that with all of his anti-Semitic and homophobic rants, it would be a perfect shit storm for old Mel to be portrayed as the gay boyfriend of a nelly Jew like me. It’s too bad I’m not also African-American, and I apologize for that.
How might your parents react if you actually took home Mel Gibson for Passover?
I’d like to say that he wouldn’t be welcomed in our home, but my mom has that classic Jewish mother mentality, so the fact that he’s a wealthy celebrity would trump everything else. He’d be at the head of the table for Seder, reciting the Four Questions — though probably with a lot more profanity.
Do you have any comparable horror stories when it comes to dating?
Well, I’ve dated my fair share of out-of-work actors, so most have been narcissistic alcoholics, but luckily no one’s threatened to bury me anywhere yet.
Your video has gotten more than 60,000 views in a week, and it’s already been featured on a number of major blogs. What has that recognition been like for you so far?
It’s been fun. I hoped people would like it, but I could not have expected this reaction. After a couple days I started getting e-mails from friends saying, “Bitch, you and Mel are all over the place!”
Lately, the most popular gay YouTube clips have been spoofs of pop songs by cute boys in swimsuits. Why do you think your video has caught on despite its blatant lack of male nudity and Lady Gaga?
I’ve certainly considered that and am flattered by it. Aside from the fact that its subject is a hot topic right now, I like to think that people’s attention spans are still durable enough to withstand 4.5 minutes without lip-syncing or pecs. But I love all those other videos too, and I’m a big fan of male nudity and Lady Gaga. Hopefully those things are at least implied in my video.
The comments section of a gay blog can be a vicious place. What’s the feedback been like for you?
Knock wood, everyone’s been really kind so far. Lots of people are quoting lines from it, which I love. One gentleman said, “I want to be the pot o’ gold at the end of that Rainbow.” Hopefully we can work that out.
Though the video is clearly a satire, some comments have expressed concern that the closing sentiment — “If you or someone you know is the victim of domestic abuse, suck it up” — makes light of a serious situation.
It’s interesting to me that some people can laugh all the way through the first four minutes and then suddenly be so offended by the last ten seconds, which is really no more than a punctuation of the four-minute joke that's just been told. I hope people understand that the message at the end is meant to be from the viewpoint of the Jewish gay man silly enough to actually date Mel Gibson. It’s absurdity. I obviously don't condone abuse of any kind.
More tapes of Gibson’s rants have leaked since you posted your video. Should your fans expect to see another phone call from Mel?
I haven’t listened to his new stuff yet, but yeah, Mel still has my number.
With which other celebrities would you like to have fake phone conversations?
I’d love Lindsay Lohan to call me from jail. That would be a short video, though, because I’d probably just hang up on her.
When did you start making videos?
I believe one of my first videos is of me as a flamboyant 8-year-old, acting out a live version of The Wizard of Oz — in the role of Dorothy, obviously. Back then, I think my main goal was to be Judy Garland, but now I just hope to entertain people. And to be Judy Garland.
Who’s your YouTube idol?
Remember that big black girl who fell off the table while she was singing? I would love to be her.
Did you have any help filming the Mel Gibson video?
My process is a very lonely one. It’s just me alone in my apartment with my video camera. My cat sits off-camera and looks at me funny. Sometimes he feeds me my lines.
So what’s your story, Randy?
I’m a Long Island Jew. I was actually raised in South Florida from the age of 9, but there’s nothing funny about that. I have a performing background — mostly musical theatre — and I’m a writer. I’ve always been a ham and I like to think of myself innately as a comedian. I come from a very funny family, so I guess it’s in my genes. I’ve yet to give stand-up a go, but it’s always in the back of my mind. Ultimately, I’d love to write and act for film and television. I also hope to one day have my own talk show. I hear Oprah has an opening on her new network.
Randy Rainbow — is that your real name or what?
Ain’t no way I’d make that shit up. It sounds like the corniest stage name ever, but it is in fact on my birth certificate. I used to think, Why couldn’t my parents have gone with Mike or Adam, so at least I wouldn't have the double-R alliteration? But I guess if you're going to have a really fruity name, you might as well go full-out.
How did that name work out for you as a kid?
It was a very trying childhood, believe you me. I just thank the good Lord for making me a homosexual and not a really butch football player or something. Things could be a lot worse right now.
Tell me about your blog, the Randy Rainbow Bloggity Blahg-Blahg.
Well, I’m a big show queen, so I started the blog a few years ago to document my theatrical experiences. After a while, though, it also became a place for me to tell stories and kvetch about my day-to-day as a single homo in the city. It’s very cathartic, and it’s gotten nice recognition, mostly from the gay and theatre communities. Aside from getting Mel Gibson to date me, it’s led to some pretty amazing opportunities and writing gigs.
You’re having an official premiere party for “Randy Rainbow is Dating Mel Gibson” August 9 at Splash in New York. Are you nervous that Mel will crash the event and cause a scene?
I only wish; I could use the press. I’m sure Mel will be otherwise engaged that night, so I won’t get my hopes up. Plus, he hates gays and Jews, so there’s that. But I’m still crazy about the guy.