Rob Anderson Takes the Stage
PRIDE
PRIDE

Episode · 3 months ago

Rob Anderson Takes the Stage

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Our guest this week is queer comedian and viral content creator Rob Anderson. Rob is best known for his short form sketches, parodies and comedic series "Gay Science", which tackles harmful queer stereotypes by answering questions like: "Why Are Gay Men Terrible Drivers" and "Why Gay Men Can't Sit In a Chair Properly." Amassing over 2 million social media followers, his comedy thoughtfully explores relatable LGBTQ+ issues in unique and sardonic ways.

On today’s episode, we learn how Rob went from small town class clown to big city marketing positions at Grindr, Uber, and The Infatuation to global TikTok sensation, author, musical artist, and stand-up comedian. We also discuss the differences between online and on-stage performance and, his upcoming North American comedy tour “Heartthrob Live,” and why it’s important for him to be a vocal advocate for the queer community.

You can purchase tickets to “Heartthrob Live” at heartthrobanderson.com/tour. They are selling out fast, so don’t wait!

Your host is Levi Chambers, founder of Rainbo Media Co. You can follow Levi @levichambers across socials.

Follow the show and keep up with the conversation @PRIDE across socials.

Want more great shows from Straw Hut Media? Check out or website at strawhutmedia.com.

PRIDE is produced by Levi Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Boles, Ryan Tillotson, and Brandon Marlo. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrera.

Have an interesting LGBTQ+ story to share? We might feature U! Email us at lgbtq@strawhutmedia.com.

*This podcast is not affiliated with Pride Media.

Straw media. I'm leavi chambers. My pronouns are he, him, his, and this is pride. I grew up with a lot of trauma and damage, as a lot of queer people do, so I think I used to humor as a coping mechanism and that kind of always stuck with me. So I think my sense of humor probably developed and changed as I got older. So I don't know if I was always funny, but I always liked, I always had a sense of humor. My guest this week is Queer Comedian and viral content Creator Rob Anderson. I am a comedian, uh, and content creator and producer of short form comedy videos on Tiktok, Instagram, uh, everywhere on the Internet. Uh, and I currently live in L A and I am working on a whole bunch of different projects Um at the moment. So just basically a comedian Um that focuses on queer content, but not always. Rob Is best known for his short form sketches, parodies and comedic series gay science, which tackles harmful queer stereotypes by answering questions like why are gay men terrible drivers and why gay men can't sit in a chair? Properly amassing over two million social media followers. His comedy thoughtfully explores relatable lgbt Q plus issues in unique and Sardonic ways. On today's episode, we learned how rob went from small town class clown to big city marketing positions at grinder, Uber and the infatuation to global tiktok sensation, author, musical artist and stand up comedian. We also discussed the differences between online and onstage performance and his upcoming North American comedy tour, Heart Throb live, and why it's important to him to be a vocal advocate for the queer community. I'm Rob Anderson and this is pride heart throb. Rob has become a household name in the Queer Community, but Rob Anderson wasn't always a viral tiktok star. Okay, so were you always funny? Like what was what was little rob like? You know, I'd say as a kid I was pushing the envelope a little. I didn't always stick to the rules, because a lot of the rules when you're a kid are silly. A lot of them are still silly now. But I just thought I went to a Christian Um, UH middle school and elementary school and they have so many rules and why? What is all this for? Um? So I was suspending a lot. I had a lot of detentions, even in Public School. Um, just because I like to push things. I thought authority. I. I didn't really feel like I threatened my authority. Uh. And my mom wanted to kill me before I gave her I gave her a lot of stress growing up. I was a tough kid to raise because I just felt like, I don't know what is authority. You know, that's the kind of kid I was. So I feel like you were just like a good time. Yeah, I mean I think so. Like if I was a kid in class, I'd have been like rob is fun. Yeah, I think so. I don't think I ever pushed it too far where I was hurting myself or others, but I think I was trying to find the things that were stupid, like why can't we say that? Why can't we do that? Why can't we play that music? Why can't we watch that show? Uh, and I think most, maybe the classmates would probably agree with me. So I think that my um the class clown per se. I don't know if I was like the class clown, but I was definitely a little bit of a troublemaker. So even back then, obviously you challenge authority. You were funny. Did...

...when was like the first time you realize like, Oh, I love this, I love being funny. I want to do comedy when people are having a good time. I always want to have a good time. I want to enjoy myself, I want to laugh. And Uh, I think when whatever was giving me that feeling, in a very elementary sense, I just wanted to give to other people. And I think our our world, is weird. We do a lot of weird things. Uh. The news is sometimes really tough to get through. It can be depressing and sad, and I think humor shakes people out of it a little bit, reminds people were all just on this dumb floating rock. Like we a lot of this stuff we do was just made up. Someone decided that it was gonna be a thing. Once some old white guy decided this was gonna be a thing, and now we all do that thing, and I think humor kind of breaks it up a little bit, makes people realize this is all just really kind of quite stupid. School money, all made up bullshit. Yeah, like, what is money? What is money really? So, throughout all of this, you eventually kind of worked your way up and worked into a career in marketing. I graduated in two thousand nine, which was a recession at that time, so jobs were hard to come by and my first job out of college was as a reporter for a construction journal, and that is as riveting as it sounds. It was. What are the lights? Uh? Did you like report on like there's new back hose at the new construction site? That's what you paid. Nineteen dollars a year and UH, full for salary, full time. And I sat at the desk and I called contractors and architects to see what jobs they had open forbidding for different subcontractors, and then I would let the subcontractors know that there were jobs happening. And I I had the state of Tennessee and Kentucky. I had like the south. Uh. It was because such a great time, I mean seeing if there was an orange Julius opening in Kentucky and calling people and let them know they were going to build one. Um, what a great time to be alive. But from there, UM, I luckily, my next job after that was for grinder. It was just when grinder was first starting out. So my job, my job was a lot of marketing and I got a lot of skills from that, and then I started working for Uber and then eventually the infatuation uh doing creative marketing campaigns to grab attention of these like new startups at the time, Um, and it used a lot of my creative skills with a lot of my like technical marketing knowledge that I had gotten over the years. I kind of wanted to understand the parallels between what you were doing for construction and and grinder and also if you had to like pit it queerness right, like do you feel like when you were doing the construction calls, did you have to put on like a hey rob kind of voice, you know, like got any new dirt to move or something? You know, I feel like Kentucky, you might even need an accent to really fit in. So I'm wondering what like that, being a queer person at grinder versus construction media was was like yeah, I definitely. Well, it was when I was first starting to come out and, like a lot of gay people, I came out as by initially, UM, because I didn't want to set all the women that I had hooked up with. I'm like no, I really did like you, you know, like like you know how just by and then eventually not. So in that weird like phase you still have a little bit of that trying to stay heterosexual in some ways. So I think that probably carried to the conversations with the Construction Journal Company. But I was so bad at the cold calls. Like cold calling somebody out of the...

...blue when they're not expecting it and just trying to get information is hell. I'm an introvert in a lot of ways and it was hell. And so they eventually moved me to only doing it online and so I could just check websites and see and not have to call people. Oh my God, it was such relief. Um. But aside from that, working at grinder was, of course so much better to be able to just be gay. I actually wasn't as I was like Oh, wow, people are gay. I'm like wow, you know, like we're going there Um, because a lot of the people were Um. So that was like my first I would go out to West Hollywood and visit the offices and I'm like, well, this is crazy out here, this is people are really gay. It was exciting. I think that moment in my life, that period in my life, I was trying to find humor with being gay and finding the humor in it and looking back at how I've kind of progress and how my as I've matured, my humor has changed. I look at some of the things that I had written at that time. I was an Improv comedian, so there were some like sketches I would put up that were filmed and I look at those now and I'm like, Oh, it's funny to see how my humor changed from me realizing like, Oh, this is what being gay is, but I was making myself too much of the butt of the joke. Uh. And now my humor doesn't rely on me being the butt of the joke. There's just humor that's within the community. Uh. So it is interesting how it's changed because my perspective of who I am as a gay man has changed to I mean, that's kind of awesome, right. That's the evolution, which is very scien ce right. That's actually a beautiful segue into gay science. Um, the evolution of ROB's comedy. And in ten years I'M gonna look back in the humor now and go what was I even doing? Then? Wow, that was really bad, you know, but that's that's progress, absolutely. I mean that's that's how works for everyone. Right. You're like, wow, that was thank God that I'm here, or thanks someone, thanks someone, that I'm here. Yeah, at this point, thanks someone. Um. So what inspired you to start your whole gay science? I guess we're going to call it a series. Yeah, it is a series. Uh, the preference that gay men have for iced coffee over hot coffee is so, UM, ubiquitous, it's so ingrained. I wanted to know why that was and I couldn't find any information on that, and so I decided to make my own information, which was through the form of fake science, in a video that was very matter of fact, um, but so silly. And so it's clearly so stupid and people really got to kick out of it and people really enjoyed it and they kept sending me more of our community stereotypes that we have our own community jokes, uh, as things to like poke fun act, because some of them are so silly, like not sitting in a chair properly, UM, coloring your hair when you're in a crisis. Um, literally there's just dozens and dozens of them, Um, and I've had fun making fun of each one of those through this fake science method. So what was what was the process like in the very early days of of Gay Science? What what was that process like? Did you like come up with a concept and then kind of scripted out, like how did that go? Yeah, I started with a list of, Um, all of the stereotypes that I know of that I wanted to explain, and then a lot of the Times I rely on my audiences. They're really awesome and they have really good ideas, and on Instagram I popped up up story that was like Hey, send me whatever stereotypes you want to explain, anything you want to explain through gay science, and so I added those to the list and then I kind of prioritized which ones I thought I had a good...

...explanation for and then I put those into their own documents and I think about like, how can I get to that end result? What weird, stupid path can I bring people on? What what story can I tell, uh to to land at a thing that's positive? UH So. So a lot of these things start with something that's negative. Like maybe why are wire game and annoying? Why do we hate terrible music. Why or do we talk like that? Why do we run like that? All these things that we get picked made fun of all the time, and it ends in a place it's like because, you know, we're better, queer people are better. Um, we're elites, we have we've evolved and the rest of everyone else just hasn't caught up with it yet. So, Um, that's the kind of path that I wanted to take. And then in that is all the jokes. You just throw in a whole bunch of jokes. Uh, you do a bunch of voiceovers a few times over lay um images on top of it. I just have a lot of fun with it. They're the most fun thing that I've ever made. I have so much joy making them that sometimes it will be like a few weeks till one comes out because I think of more funny things to add into it. That just they make me laugh. So is the purpose of the content that you're creating? Do you feel like really, at its core it's the social commentary, or do you feel like comedy is really and laughing and making people laugh is at its core? All of them give some sort of should give you a little bit of joy. Um, should make you feel good. Uh. So I don't make anything that makes anyone feel bad, Um, which I think is a very unique thing. I think we have a lot of more we have more positivity in content these days, which is nice. You know, we're not those like the bitchy two thousand tens, like the nasty like you know, Um, we don't have that sort of attitude in our culture as much anymore, which is really great. Um, but I think that when it comes to talking about our community, there's a lot of things that like to talk negatively about it or make some people in our community feel weird for being the way they are, or that if a lot of people do a certain thing, if it's really popular in the gay community, then it you know, we're gonna WE'RE gonna talk down on that, we're gonna make people feel bad that they're in this in the masses, that like something that's popular, and I think what I like to do is make people feel good about being in our community, no matter what kind of place they have in it. So I think that's what all of my stuff has in its core. But, going off what you're saying, does it does it have a message? Does it not? Is it just to make people laugh. I think it just depends. It doesn't always have to have a message. Sometimes I just might think an idea is really stupid, like holding in your poop for a while just to like remind yourself of an x, you know, remind your stuff that you miss him. You know, that's the so stupid right, like what is that? What are you saying? Like what? But I'm like, I just want to do a video about the fact that you miss somebody, so just like holding your poop a little bit longer to like, you know, feel like they're in there. I mean that's I don't know, there's no social message. They're like that. I'm not really I'm not bringing anyone to the polls to vote for any sort of social cause there. Um. But and then other times, you know, I like to Um talk about the government's response to monkey box or gaze, the gaze over covid Um controversy. You know, there's some other things that have a little bit more to them. I mean, I'm sure there are people who can relate to holding in their Poop, just as Mitch longer, I would hope so. I mean this video is for them. There's definitely an audience for every single concept. Um. So, so when you first got started, did did the concept go viral right away? It wasn't one of those like you know, you hear that story, the stories from people, particularly who create content on Tiktok, where it's like I put a video up and I woke up in the morning and I was famous. Basically, Um, is. Is that...

...how it was for you, or was it a little more of like a slow burn into like an inferno? You know, I think that it's more of a slow burn. I put a lot of effort into my videos. Um, not always, but most of them that do well. They take a lot of time and effort and planning. I'll create fake board games, uh, and all the individual pieces, I'll get them three d printed and I will make original boards, and so some of my concepts can take over a month to get together. I design everything myself. So, Um, a lot of those things have hit really hard because people are sometimes just impressed by the sheer amount of work that went into something so stupid, like just taking an idea that's so dumb and committing to it's so hard. Um, people just seem to enjoy those sorts of things. So over time. You know, those things build and people are like Hey, I like this guy, like he puts a lot of time and energy and effort into these dumb ideas. Um. So for me it feels like a slow burn. Even if someone individually looked at videos, they go. He just went viral really quickly. I think I was just working really hard. Um. But yeah, I'd say a slow bird. That's deserved, a deserved slow burn, a deserve slow bird. Since Starting Gay Science, Rob has partnered with the Academy Awards, made promotional content with pop star Kim Petris, penned a number one best selling children's book based on the infamous national anthem performance by singer Fergie, put out a song and music video and appeared on the discovery plus show. The book of Queer sounds overwhelming, to say the least, in terms of gay science. Right. What happens when that's not what you want to do anymore? I mean so many things have happened already. Right, I'm like, Oh my God, I am my success as success. Um, yeah, no, thank you. We should clap for you, but it'd be weird. Um, I have too many ideas and too many things that I want to do. where. Um, I will just have them all in different documents of like Um long form shows that I want to make, movies that I want to write, um start like scripts that I've started to write and collaborations. I'll see somebody online I'm like, Oh my God, I love this person. It would be so fun to do this and this with them, but I want to make sure that thing was the perfect match. And so I never approached them or d m them because I'm like in the back of my mind like that that'll come to me when it does and then I'll reach out to them. And so I actually have too many things that I want to do and it would be nice to have a less and be able to actually like focus on what that one next thing is Um, which I'm trying to do. That's like I'm trying to hone things in and find one thing and like really focus on it. Um. So, uh, yeah, I think when it comes to a series like gay science, I've really never gotten tired of it goes in waves. Or if I have a lot of good ideas, I'll have a bunch of in a month and then maybe like the next couple of months, like maybe I'll have one or two. I just kind of Lean into whatever is most enjoyable for me to make. Um. But there are sometimes where I think things run its course. Like I had a series called boyfriend twins, and it may eventually come back, but I did it for like maybe about nine months and I feel like there was like I went through a bunch of topics with them. I think we got to know who these two guys were. Um, they were a boyfriend twins that looked alike. I played both of them and they're dating each other. But the show wasn't about the fact that they looked alike. It was just about like a slice of life in a in a gay couple, Um, and people really liked it and I think I was like good on it. It's sort point who were like bring that back, like where...

...did that go? Like we want more videos of them, and I think I did one and I just didn't enjoy it as much and I'm like, well, I'm not. I'm just gonna bring it back if I want to, if I have a good idea for it, um, but I just get bored too easily. I like to move on from things, but gay science is the one thing I haven't really gotten bored with. Recently, ROB announced he'll be kicking off his twenty city North American comedy tour, Heartthrob, live in black rock city, Nevada, on August thirty one, which will conclude in Los Angeles on December eleven. The show features original music, presentations and personal stories. He says he's kept far away from the Internet. You can purchase tickets at HEARTTHROB ANDERSON DOT com slash tour. You've kind of taken everything and now you're doing it live and on stage, which to me sounds more terrifying. Like it's better to put something on the Internet because if it's really doesn't hit, you can be like, I'm gonna del eat that. You can't delete real life embarrassment because it's just there. So was that terrifying taking the comedy you created for online to a live stage with real human beings in front of you? Yeah, there was definitely nerves involved. I don't know if I was terrified, though. I was an Improv performer in Chicago for seven or eight years for the second city and I owe and the stage is really comfortable for me. I really enjoy it, but I have not been on it since. So it was I was a little nervous because it had been about seven years, six years Um, since I stepped on on a stage and it was stand out a lot of stand up that I was doing all new material. So I was like, I just didn't know how people were going to respond to it. Um. But it's a room full of people that already like me and enjoy me in these shows that I've had leading up to the tour. Uh. So the audiences were just fire and the material really landed, which was great. Uh. And I refined it even more. A bit of a perfectionist, so after that first show I was like, okay, like what worked, what didn't? How can I make that better? And I spent another month of like refining it, and then I did in front of a new audience in San Diego and I saw what they liked and didn't like, and then I refined it more. And so, like, over time, I just came up with what is, I'm really confident to say, is like an awesome, funny show and I'm excited to do it in the fall. Is it really fucking funny? It's it's really fucking funny. It's really gay. It's really really gay, and I've had some straight people in the audience, Um, and I I think they enjoy it too. There's there's a moment. There's a moment for the straight if they don't it's fine. Yeah, yeah, but it's really gay and it's all the things that I've been wanting to say, stories I've wanted to tell, jokes I've wanted to make that I can't really make on the Internet, Um, especially not places like Tiktok where it's like heavily moderated. Um. It's all of the more explicit things and more personal things that I think when you're on stage and you're in an environment where it's just you and the audience, it just feels more intimate. Uh. And that's the kind of show that I've put together. Can you give us like a little taste of what people should expect? It should be explicit. It's very gay. Yes, uh. It's the basis of it is storytelling, personal stories taken from my life that I've wanted to tell and intersplice in those are original songs. Some of those are songs that people have may have heard, original songs. Yes, I love this. Yes, Um, there are songs that I've released. Two songs out now, comedy pop songs. Those are in the show, as well as other songs that are just only really should exist within the confines of the show to give them context. Uh. And then...

...original Um presentations. So it's a variety of sorts of stand up storytelling, Um presentations and music and a little bit of nudity. Wait, there's no wait. Okay, so this is fitting. I was getting excited for the nudity. Oh, there's a little bit. Okay, twenty one plus. You gotta be one. Well, the first question is, who's nude? Is it you? I'm assuming so, because it's called it's the heartthrob tour. Correct. Yes, but the audience? You're nude. The audience is nude. Oh, you don't know until you don't know, until you come in, and I'm like don't you love this? That's Super Fun. Everyone get naked. Did did you name your tour heartthrob? Did you are you a self described heartthrob, or did people say like you are heartthrob? That should be the name of the tour. Uh. My original instagram name was really boring. I think it was like Rob Anderson Eight, Rob Anderson Eight, and I was like I need a Pun. I need a pun in my name. Uh, and so a few years back I changed it and that's that's the one I decided to come up with. So No, nobody actually calls me a heartthrob itself. I call myself it, which is so cool, isn't it? What a cool thing to name yourself a compliment. Yes, so how many? I know you actually have a lot of your tours are several of them are already sold out. I think Portland has sold out and maybe Seattle sold out. Um, but you're going everywhere, from like Texas to Hawaii. I mean I think around the east coast a little bit dabling in like Philadelphia. So there are a lot of places for for people to see you. Where can they buy your tickets? They yes, I'm in twenty cities. I actually wanted to hit up every single city in the United States, in North America, and my tour agent was like, you know, her name is Rachel, she's amazing. She was like this is your first tour, you know, like, why don't we just try to dial it in? But she got all the cities that I wanted and she got amazing clubs in them. Um, you can get tickets at Heartthrob Anderson Slash tour. HEARTTHROB ANDERSON DOT com slash tour. Uh and I'm in Texas and Florida and everywhere on the East Coast. I'm in Toronto and, yes, even in Honolulu. Will End my tour in Honolulu. So there's a lot of places to see me. Uh and it is selling out. So we so that. I think seven of the shows so far, Um, and I think they're all going to sell out. Is what I'm told. So that's very exciting. So if you do want to go see heartthrob live, you need to get tickets. I mean by the time this comes out, probably you're too late. It's it's over, but you're too late, but hopefully not. You might as well check and make sure that you're not too late. Rob is a vocal advocate when it comes to lgbt Q plus rights and issues, so I wanted to get his pulse check on some current issues the queer community is facing. What are your thoughts on some pertinent issues to the LGBTQ plus community that don't say gay bill, Um, even just the precariousness of Queer rights in our country? Um, specifically after the overturning of Rov Wade, the government's response to to monkey pok. So I'd love to know about kind of the the issues that are really important to you right now and and just why you feel like you should, I guess, use your platform for those those issues. Yeah, I um. It can be really depressing reading and seeing what's happening because, like a lot of things, uh, you think you have a little bit of progress. And I mean when we had gay marriage throughout all fifty states and two thousand fifteen you know, a lot of uh, mostly CIS UH gay men, felt like okay, fine, like we're finally all equal, but it is not the case. There's a lot of people under the LGBT Q plus umbrella that don't...

...have that equality, that that are are more stigmatized, and I think that even now, seeing what's happening in Florida and how other states are seeing that don't say gay bill and making their own versions of it. Um, the fight really never ends and it can be exhausting and really frustrating seeing it. Um, but we have to notice that it's happening, realize we're gonna take some losses and things are gonna have to we're going to be pushed back, but we're not gonna stop talking about it, uh, and we're not gonna stop showing how absolutely ridiculous it is. Um. And, and I do that through comedy. Um, it's it's just my way of communicating, it's my way of like showing my thoughts. Um. But everyone does it in their own way and so, Um, yeah, I think that that's like just a it's a very important thing for me. Where can all of the people into the Rock and in a cave? No shame for cave dwellers, but where can they follow you on social media if they're not already? On instagram it's Heart Rob Anderson, and on Tiktok it's heart throbberts and on twitter it's a smart throb. Oh my gosh, the puns. I know. It's mainly because my name was taken in each one of these subsequent things, so I couldn't. I had to find new wage, a new way to call myself, a new thing. Uh. And then, Um, youtube is just my name. Well, thank you so so much for coming on the podcast and taking time away from my guests. You were probably like knee deep creating new content for tech talk. That's going to be out in like a month or so because it's taking a long time for you to make a new board game or something, but I really appreciate you taking the time to be on the podcas past and to talk to us about all of these things. Levi, thank you for having me. This was so much fun. Pride is a production of Straw hut media. If you like the show, leave us a rating and a review on Apple podcasts, spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts. Then follow us on Tiktok, instagram, facebook, twitter and snapchat at pride and tune in weekly for more. Be Sure to share this episode with your friends and subscribe for more stories from Amazing Queer people. If you'd like to connect with me, you can follow me everywhere, at Lea by chambers. Pride is produced by me Levy Chambers, Frank Driscoll, Maggie Bowls, Ryan Tillottson and Brandon Marlowe. Edited by Frank Driscoll and Daniel Ferrara.

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