Irreverently smart, with a comedic and precision smart abandon, TikTok comedic sensation Rob Anderson is redefining what makes things truly “funny”. While already known for his richly smart and hilarious viral series Gay Science, Anderson is taking risks that are paying off, weaving in satire with beliefs on the LGBTQ community and how we can challenge them. I caught up with Anderson as he dropped his brand new single “Nothing For You” and we chatted about the moment he knew he was truly funny,
Michael Cook: Im chatting with you on a pretty big day, it is the day that your song ‘Nothing For You” was released. Tell me about the track.
Rob Anderson: I wrote a song called “Nothing For You” with a few songwriters and it is…stupid (laughs). It is rooted in stupidity, but has this really good pop song energy and this great hook and melody. The idea of the song is finding someone so attractive that they can reduce you to nothing. You can be just an entry point for them, they can be your conservator, remove all of my rights; that is the idea of the song.
MC: Is music something that you always wanted to do? With your own career path, from comedy to viral series to advocacy, music may not look like a direct and natural path for you.
RA: I have always enjoyed music and musical comedy. I was in musicals in high school and college and when I was in Chicago doing improv there for about seven years I was in a musical improv troupe for a majority of that. Music and comedy have always been a part of my life, but I have never applied them this way like it was a song from a pop star.
MC: When did you realize that you were not just a funny person, but it was going to be your life’s passion and work?
RA: That is a great question, I don’t think I have ever thought of it that way before. I liked comedy, the Scary Movie films 1 & 2, when they came out, they were my first movies to look at and say “I really like this”. I liked the satire and the parody. Then when Strangers With Candy came out, that helped develop my humor. I don’t know if I was particularly a funny person until college, I started to have more fun and be funnier myself I guess. When I graduated, I knew at that point that I would have more fun going to Chicago, meeting improvisers, meeting comedians and finding my people there, instead of working another boring job. I ended up working a boring job though, just in Chicago (laughs).
MC: Your comedy is much more than just simply observational. You are able to discuss the topics that are going in the world while being brilliantly funny, but also getting your point across at the same time. How do you find that line?
RA: I think choosing subjects and situations that are silly and focusing on something that is really a dumb or overlooked that does not deserve the amount of commitment that I am willing to give it, then I commit really hard to that silly thing. Within that, I can bring up points that are a little more serious or I am making a point through it. Because the concept is so ridiculous or because I am going way too hard on this one thing than anyone ever should, it receives the pressure of having to make serious points, even though they are threaded through.
MC: That is what you are doing with your viral series Gay Science. You are taking the beliefs that we all have and we are seeing them through the lens you see them through.
RA: I think the idea of stereotypes is so silly to make them into reality. As gay men, we have so many weird ones that just dont make any sense but they kind of do. With some people they may ring true and then with others, not at all. I think there is a lot of fun in making fun of how ridiculous they are.
MC: What is one stereotype about gay men to you that is absolutely ridiculous, yet so very accurate?
RA: That we can’t sit in a chair properly (laughs). There is truth to it, but we physically cannot sit in a chair in the way that it is intended, but it is so preposterous. If you look at a room filled with chairs, gay men will each sit in them in a different way than straight men would. It is funny and it’s just so ridiculous.
MC: What does Pride month have in store for you other than promoting ‘Nothing For You’?
RA: Well I am giving back during the month of June, 100% of the proceeds for the single is going to For The Gworls. It is a charity that raises money through parties and very connected to queer culture. It raises money to help black trans people pay for rent and pay for gender affirming surgeries; all the proceeds from the song this month go directly to them. It is interesting now, with my career being in gay comedy, working and having jobs during the month of June while trying to celebrate while also trying to remember what it is about and make sure it has some meaning in it, it is definitely like juggling all three of those things.
MC: How do you find is the best way to balance those things? In this day and age, everyone is working to develop their own brand.
RA: We will see (laughs). This is the first year that it is really a lot, last year there were a few things here and there. I guess we’re gonna see how I will balance it…
MC: With everything that you have accomplished throughout your career, what is the one part that makes you the most proud so far?
RA: I think that when I have an idea that takes a lot of commitment but it is so stupid, I think I am most proud of myself when I really commit to it fully and trust myself. Because I think it is fun, other people will. It is a big risk factor though, because when you are spending all this time and energy making all these little props and putting a “Don’t Wake Daddy” sign on a doll for a fake game, and all these little things that I do. Never speaking to anyone about the idea and only knowing the moment the video goes out whether people will like it or not. I think I am most proud of that aspect of me, trusting my stupid ideas. I think that is the thing that I am most proud of in my career.
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