LGBTQ

TikTok star Rob Anderson on gay science videos and his epic sub anthem: ‘I’m like the new RuPaul!’

Rob Anderson. (YouTube/Rob Anderson)

Rob Anderson blew up on TikTok with his Gay Science series – now, he’s ready to dominate. So to speak.

You might have come across Rob on TikTok, where he’s racked up more than two million followers with his “Gay Science” videos, his Oscars coverage, and – more recently – his comedy pop songs.

As he prepares to hit the road, PinkNews caught up with Rob to talk sexual submission, blowing up on TikTok, and why queer people need comedy to get through hard times.

You got your start in comedy – what was your entry route into that world? 

My favourite movies were always the parodies – I loved Scary Movie, Not Another Teen Movie, any parody that took something in pop culture and flipped it on its head. As I got older I wanted to get into finding my people who also enjoy that sort of thing so I moved to Chicago and I did improv. That was my entry into comedy and I was fairly successful at it. I was a working actor, I was an improv comedian, but I didn’t really feel my magic doing that so I just took a little break and went to New York. It was during that time where I wasn’t really focused on being a comedian that it actually worked out for me.

Rob Anderson wearing a floral patterned suit.
Rob Anderson wearing a floral patterned suit. (Supplied)

Since then you’ve blown up on TikTok. How did that come about and what’s the experience been like? 

I was making TikTok videos for a company I was working for – a food review website – and I really liked it, I was really good at it, and a lot of the videos were going viral because of their humour. I thought I’d give it a stab myself. I really enjoy the creativity that comes with TikTok. It was the one platform that actually got me to create things. I mean we’ve had YouTube and Instagram, so many ways I could have entered the internet as a comedian, but it really took TikTok to tap into my creativity.

It’s nice to have people that get me and get what I’m doing. Some of my content isn’t always comedic – that’s what I really enjoy about TikTok. I can tell a story about ladies in the 1900s who murdered people for survival or female serial killers. I can really just do whatever I want on there.

The Gay Science series in particular has had a huge response – where did that idea come from?

I couldn’t find a reason why gay men liked iced coffee but it seemed like the choice was ubiquitous – that gay men prefer iced coffee over hot coffee. I am definitely one, and there wasn’t any actual reason for it, so I decided to make my own. I wanted to explain it in a way that was silly but matter-of-fact, almost like, ‘this is the reality of the situation,’ but clearly it’s not. People loved that so much that they kept sending me requests for more Gay Science topics, so I just took those things that already exist and explained them all with fake science.

LGBTQ+ people are going through a tough time right now, from legislative attacks to rising hate crime. What’s the power of comedy in that context? 

I think it has a huge benefit in both directions. I think for people that disagree with the notion that queer kids exist and deserve to love themselves, if they are approached in a way that’s through humour their guard is down a little and maybe the message can be heard a little bit better. Things just hit harder when they’re through comedy because there’s a sense of confidence about it.

I also think on the side of people that agree with you, it’s nice to laugh at something when you’re fighting so hard. We fight so hard all the time and it’s exhausting, and it’s nice to have a little bit of a laugh in between all that.

What can people expect from your upcoming comedy shows – what’s the general vibe?

Rob: The vibe is gay [laughs]. It’s a very gay show. I have a lot of material that I wanted to make jokes about that I can’t really do on the internet because of social media guidelines, so I kind of tucked them away in their own private little space. I’ve taken those things and made some of them songs, creative presentations, so it’s more variety than just stand-up – there’s a lot of storytelling too. 

Your comedy song “Nothing For You” explores kink and sexual submission – where did the inspiration come from? 

I wanted to make music that sounded like a song you’d hear on the radio, but if you listen in to it you’re like – what? So many songs are about wanting somebody, giving somebody your everything, and I thought it would be fun to twist it and want them to give you their nothing and make that the choice. It definitely came from that aspect and also playing into this submissiveness and kinkiness that is part of the queer community and gay culture specifically. I wanted to make that a pride anthem and have people kind of wonder why that’s a pride anthem. People who get it, get it.

You donated 100 per cent of the proceeds from the song in the month of June to For The Gworls, a Black, trans-led collective. Why is that organisation close to your heart? 

There are a lot of really great LGBTQ+ causes and organisations and I think a select few get a lot of attention in the month of June. They’re great organisations, but there are so many that do more specific things. For The Gworls was one of those that was really close to me that I felt were doing something really great. I lived in New York for a while, they’re a New York based organisation, and they help trans people everywhere. They provide financial assistance for rent and gender-affirming surgeries, and they throw parties to raise money for that cause. It really connects with me. 

You’ve done pop music, you’ve done comedy – what’s next? 

Everything [laughs]. I’m like the new RuPaul – where’s my candy bar? Where’s my bobblehead doll? One of my favourite comedians is Nathan Fielder and his style of comedy is this docuseries ‘half-real, half not real’ [format], and I’ve always really wanted to get into that. I think getting into a docuemntary or a series that is real – real interviews and real things happen but it’s kind of constructed in a way that it’s going to be a joke – that’s something I want to explore. So after my show this fall I think I’ll hone in on that kind of format. 

Rob Anderson is touring across the United States this October. Tickets are available here.

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