Randy Rainbow is one rainbow I’ll never be over. The Emmy-nominated satirist—known for his YouTube videos featuring show-tune parodies, complete with political conversations he inserts himself into—is a priceless gem who makes living through the Trump era way more tolerable. And now he’s brightened up the holidays, too.
His debut album, Hey Gurl, It’s Christmas!, released on Broadway Records, is a hit on the charts—and it’s no wonder. On it, Randy reworks Christmas classics and also does original material by Marc Shaiman and himself, while being joined by guests like Alan Cumming, Kathy Griffin, Norm Lewis, and Lorna Luft. Anxious for a Rainbow high, I called up Randy, hoping he wasn’t rolling his eyes the whole time.
Hi, Randy. What does Christmas mean to you? Does it elicit good memories?
The best memories. Does that make me exciting?
It makes you unusual.
I love Christmas so much. As a kid, it was my first opportunity to be theatrical. I noticed that aspect of people being more publicly on display, and it was very appealing to me. I was a really overdramatic gay kid. Both of my parents were Jewish [note: Mom is still with us], but we always had big Christmas celebrations. My parents threw me into ballet at age 6, so I was always in The Nutcracker. A gay drama queen. And my aunt is Italian and always had a big Christmas to-do.
Who is more important to you—Jesus or Santa?
Santa, but Jesus is a little more my type.
You obviously had fun making the album.
It’s the gayest Christmas album. An exciting dream come true. And it’s charting on the Comedy chart.
And it’s not even really a comedy album.
Thank you. I consider it a musical-comedy album, with a lot of real singing. I do a sexy, romantic love duet with Norm Lewis.
Wait. Is he coming out? [Laughs]
I don’t know what the story is. That’s for another interview. He’s always been my husband as far as I’m concerned. He’s my Christmas zaddy.
It’s the new “daddy.”
Oh! It’s zaddy with a z, not saddy with an s…
You take the new lingo and make it retroactive!
I always bring it all back. Why are you not a drag queen? Or are you?
I think I am at heart. I just don’t have the budget for costuming, or the interest. In my old days, before any of this was going on and I was hosting a weekly show at Therapy [in Hell’s Kitchen], I was the only non-drag queen with a night there.
You’re a groundbreaker.
Thank you. Put that in the article.
But I never had the interest in all that work.
Would you be a pretty drag queen?
Hell, yeah. When I do it occasionally for Halloween, I’m gorgeous. Last year, I was Melania.
With the “I really don’t care, do u?” coat?
She’s the new Eva Tanguay.
Eva sang a song called “I Don’t Care” over a century ago. God, my references! Anyway, what drag queen drives you crazy with delight?
I’ve always loved Coco Peru. She came on board and was my fairy godmother from the beginning, very supportive. I worked with Bianca Del Rio. I love Bianca. We did an Orbitz commercial. And Ru has been extremely supportive. I’m such a fan, not only of his art but his philosophy.
Would your satire do well with a Democratic president?
I think I could probably take a nap every other day. I don’t think the material would be as intense as it is now. It’s hand-delivered to me on a daily basis. As long as there are headlines and controversy and people fighting about shit on social networks, I’ll always have material. But maybe I’d return to the days when I talked about other things. After all, my career started when only Michael Musto knew who I was—when I was dating Mel Gibson.
Exactly. But I’d miss your political commentary.
There will always be Republicans doing things.
True. Last time we talked, you were rather alone, dating-wise. Are you still that way?
We have not moved the needle on that. It’s Christmas time, and I just upped my subscriptions on Tinder and all those dating apps. I think I’m feeling the spirit. But I’m busy.
At first, I thought you said prescriptions. That’s even more important.
What’s your favorite Broadway musical of all time?
Into the Woods.
I think it should end after Act One.
You’re one of those? I won’t tell Steve [Sondheim].
He’d be devastated. Anyway, thank you, Randy, and congrats on the album.
Always nice to talk to you and have a great holiday.