TikTok Funny Man Rob Anderson

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rob Anderson is a comedian and content creator best known for his short form sketches, parodies and comedic series like "Gay Science", which answers important LGBTQ 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, Anderson's comedy thoughtfully explores relatable LGBTQ+ issues in unique ways. Recently Rob has partnered with The Academy Awards, made promotional content with popstar Kim Petras, and even penned a number one best selling children’s book based on the infamous 2018 National Anthem performance by singer, Fergie. Previously, Anderson studied improv and sketch comedy at iO, Second City, and The Annoyance in Chicago, as well as held marketing positions at Grindr, Uber, and The Infatuation. Rob has been featured by Good Morning America, Business Insider, NPR and more.

On this episode, we chat with Rob about his take on corporate marketing for Pride, going from power marketing genius for Uber & Grindr to working on his own brand, coming out, going viral, mental health in the social media world, body image, and hitting the road with his North American tour....oh, and love and dating. Hosted by Alexander Rodriguez.

This is metro source minis, the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the L G B T Q world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's metro source on the go out in proud since hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, writer for Metro source and Queen of the podcast it's influencer pride on this episode. I thought I was an influencer when my mom and my best friend made a comment on Myselfie. Hashtag Star, Hashtag two comments. Hashtag. Where's my sponsorship? WOT, wow. Let's talk to a real influencer. Rob Anderson is a comedian and content creator best known for his hilarious short form sketches, parodies and comedic series like Gay Science, which answers important heart dating questions like why are gay men terrible drivers? And why, why, why can't gay men Sitney chare properly. Thanks. I've wanted to know for years. Amassing over two million social media followers, his comedy thoughtfully explores relatable lgbt q plus issues in very unique ways. He has partnered with the Academy Awards, Made Promotional content with pop story Kim Petras, and even penned a number one best selling children's book based on the infamous two thousand eighteen national anthem debacle by our girl Fergie. And previously, uh, he studied Improv and sketch comedy in Io, second city and the annoyance of Chicago, as well as held marketing positions at grinder, Uber and the infatuation. He's been featured by Good Morning America, business insider, NPR and more. Please Welcome, Rob Anderson. Wow, what an introduction in Alexander, I've been such a fan of your so I'm so excited to chat with you. We're just gonna dive in and spill the T um. We're gonna WE'RE gonna really dove into your career. But first I have to know, coming from a huge marketing background with big companies, and this is such a hot topic this pride season. Um, what is your take on big name corporations showing US love during pride? Is it a money making gimmick? Is it helping our cause? What's your opinion? Yeah, I think there are a lot of different takes on it. Uh, and I feel like there's some validity in a lot of what people say. My thought is that, Um, if we as the community can use what they're giving us, whether it's attention, money, publicity, uh, for our betterment. Um, that has to be some kind of relationship there between. It has to help us in some way, Um, as well as it's helping them make money and, uh, you know, promote their own businesses. So as long as there's some equity there, UM, it's up to us to choose the things that we think are worth it, uh, if if that makes sense now' percent and I always say, you know, if some kid out in the middle of a city that has a hundred people sees a big name corporation put a pride flag on their stuff, you know that helps that kid. Me and my bubble here in West Hollywood doesn't really do much, but for that kid it means the world to see that. Yeah, you know, there is a validity to their lifestyle. Totally that. Um, okay, I have to know. How did the transition happen from working for other people being a marketing genius to now becoming your own profitable brand? How does that even happen? Well, I was doing creative campaigns for grinder and Uber and the infatuation my most recent job, and so I've always had this sort of like sense of humor and how I market things. And I had to start Tiktok for my last job and I'm like, Oh, this is so fun, and I was making videos go viral for them and I'm like, I think I should just do this on my own, uh, and I started to and write. As the pandemic hit, I was doing some relatable stuff around that. So it was kind of like the perfect storm and that's sort of how it happened. Now, coming from a marketing background, people assume, oh, he knows how the algorithms were, so naturally he's...

...become a viral star, but that's not exactly how it works. You really can't guarantee what's going to be it, what's going to go viral. Um. Can you speak a little bit about that and what do you think's attributed to your success? Uh Yeah, that's a really good question. I there are definitely some tricks that you can learn about getting people excited at the start, getting hopping onto trends. There's like little tricks that a lot of people know. Um, but I think, uh, you have to remember that not everything is going to do well and you have to have fun and be honest with what you're trying to do and not try to play into what people want. Uh, and this except that some things are going to fail on the Internet even though you really like it. I noticed that a lot of the things that I do that are specifically for Queer people that straight people would not get or understand, they don't necessarily do as well on these big platforms, but I'm okay with that because it's something that I want to do and some people will get it. Yeah, and it's really hard to put your finger on it. I don't I have some musician friends, you know. They'll put their heart and soul in their new song, but then they post a shirtless selfie and then that goes viral. It's like, what the Hell? Uh. When did you first kind of realize that you personally we were going viral? When did it kind of hit home? I had people reach out to me. I did in Provence, Chicago for like seven or eight years, and I had improvisers reach out to me that I worked with then saying like Hey, my friends are sending me this, this is so cool. That this is all happening, and I think that that was the moment when it wasn't just gay people sending me things and being like Oh, when I had beyond that, just like the comedy and Comedians uh sending me things, I was like, Oh, I think these things are reaching really far. This is really cool. I'm very curious because obviously you came into it knowing more than a thing or two. I loved what you did for Uber in terms of mixing comedy and marketing, but now it's really become this empire. We've seen this evolution in your content. I have to know now what is your creative process, because now you have so many things to answer for. You have the audience to answer for, you have certain sponsorships, people expect a certain brand for you. What is your creative process when you're creating a new video? Where do you draw your inspiration? Do you kind of storyboard it? Do you have like a wall calendar of where you need to be in terms of editing? went to post, like, what's that process? Yeah, I have this doc multiple documents, on my desktop and then on my phone, whereas I listen to music, I get inspired by music and I think of dumb things during I'm like this song makes me feel like this story is happening. So I get inspired by music and then write things to it. But I'll have things to do on my phone for a while, uh, and then I'll add to them and sometimes it will be two, three, four weeks, like I think this thing is ready, uh, and then I'll put it together, and that's sort of how a lot of these things form. And then I'll also have ideas for sketches that are so uh, there are so many elements to them where I need to make fake props, order a bunch of fake things, design a bunch of stuff, and those things can take weeks to come in. And so sometimes it can take like I did a gay science episode on if Bob's will survive the apocalypse and I created over a hundred original props for that video and that took like three months to come in. So when that came up, I was so excited to get that out there. You know, we have this weird and I mean we, I mean mainstream audiences, have this weird love hate relationship with influencers, you know, and so I don't like some of my friends are like, oh, they're an influencer, quote unquote influencer, like it's a bad thing or they're not a real artist or they're not a real comedian. But yet influencers are amassing these huge numbers of fans and cliques and views. So obviously we all love it. Like the nuclears folk features an actual influencer who's playing an influencer who gets canceled and the whole kind of character is so over the top. It's so and we know you know about stereotypes, Um, but it's like a stereotype of what an influencer has become. How do you feel about this kind of love hate relationship that people have when...

...they hear the word influencer? Yeah, I understand why people are frustrated with influencers because they can seem out of touch, um, but it's such a wide umbrella and now I think a lot of people are using the phrase content creator, because it is an umbrella that that gets a lot of different types of people. So Benito Skinner, Benny Drama, who you just mentioned, is on book. He is a comedian, he portrays original characters, he does impressions, he's a very smart, sharp comedian. So for him to be on that show and that makes a lot of sense. But to think of him as an influencer, you could go, oh, well, someone who just posts really pretty pictures could be an influencer. So there are a lot of different types here. But I think of him as a comedian who makes digital sketches. Mh Uh. Now, what does the word influencer mean to you? Not The definition, but what does it mean to you in your life? I I think I think of influencers as people that, uh, started to make their own paths with the new technologies and new algorithms of these platforms. Um, and I think it very broadly. Um, I don't I don't know if I necessarily always refer to myself as an influencer. Uh, sometimes I just say I'm a TIKTOKER. I don't really know. I have to still figure out like what I now I've been saying comedian, which makes sense, but I'm like totally yeah, like I am one, Um, but I don't know. I think it's a very broad term for people that use the Internet in a way to like make make themselves their own bosses. Okay, Um, what I love about this pride season and the interviews I've been doing. There's been a lot of talk about mental health and mental health awareness, which hasn't really existed in the past couple of years, and there's this talk that about the mental health issues that exist in the influencer world or the content creator world. So have you the pressure being categorized by the number of likes and comments? You have the pressure of getting sponsorships, putting out better and better content, also dealing with the keyboard warriors who can spew out negative comments? How do you deal with all of this and how do you kind of combat that mental fatigue? Yeah, that's a very valid thing that I'm thirty four, so for me I've had my issues with it. But I think about young kids who are seventeen, in the early twenties and this is all happening for them and it must be much, much harder, uh, if they haven't had some lived experience of adult bullying in some way, just like they don't have that thing that lets them dismiss things like maybe someone in their thirties or forties or older might. So I really, I really feel for them in those mental health issues. I think creating content during the pandemic, it had this break from the awfulness of what was happening in this like light where I got to make things. But on the flip side, I didn't have real life to balance out Internet comments. The Internet comments were our reality. So it was particularly hard during and you're a gay man who told their age. I'm that's that's amazing. But along with yeah, I think we should be. We should be proud of our age, no matter what it is. But it's so funny because you ask a game and their age and all of a sudden they start to twitch. He does like here. I am Um, but along those lines. You know, we see shirtless, we see those muscles grow. Uh. The idea of body image and engaging your sexuality must also have its own pressure. How have you dealt with that kind of body image body issues, not just, Um, as an entertainer on camera, but also as part of the L G B T q community, because, you know, we can be hard on each other. Yeah, very, very hard at each other. I went through enough body issues in my twenties and had some really unhealthy habits, uh, just trying to be something that people would find to be, uh, the most attractive, and I think when I had moved into my thirties and I had actually stepped away from comedy in my life. I had stepped away from a lot of the things that is doing and just found something new in...

New York. I kind of like came into my own and had this sense of confidence of like I'm gonna work out for me, like I'M gonna get my body together so I feel really good. And once I had that mental shift, Um, I stopped really caring about what people thought of me, uh, and what they thought of my body. And what's interesting is like everyone is insecure about their own bodies and when you see someone who looks really, really good, you to them they don't even look as good as they should. So everyone has that insecurity. Um. So, yeah, well, that person is like the epitome of like godliness, you know, or they're so hot or whatever, and in their mind they're like no, they don't see it at all. People dying. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Um, I love your gay science series. I have to tell you my mom loves your case science series because it's so funny, Um, uh. But it is so honest about our community and you know, there's a portion of our community, and for good reason that we're just so easily offended, especially when we're categorized. But stereotypes do exist for a reason. They come from somewhere. You really dance that fine line between drive humor and pushing the envelope with your quote unquote, facts. Are you ever afraid, especially now, of crossing that line, going too far, being canceled, not being politically correct? Yeah, I think I found a sort of sweet spot in gay science, whereas maybe some of the videos I was making before Gay Science, uh, we're crossing the line, not cross the line, maybe being too mean, maybe not being mean mean enough, for like more, not as critical, and I think with gay science I found this thing where I'm taking things. It's a very protected series because I'm taking things that people have already talked about, sometimes for years, about a queer stereotype. I'm not inventing any they're pretty they're pretty well known or joked about, and then I'm making light of stereotypes, so I'm not like reinforcing them, but also playing with like the parts that could be true, because sometimes there's a truth in them, and then ending it with a positive message, like it is some genetic superiority that queer people have, and that's why we have a list, that's why we sit this way, like we're better and we've genetically always been better, and that's always how I end think. So they end in a positive note. Well, I love that. It's like we've taken back the term queer. For a period of time, if you were called Queer, that was like the worst thing ever, and now we have power over it, and this is kind of what I love about gay science is, you know, you're putting the humor back in our community, you're putting humor back in these conversations that we're having with each other and also with the mainstream, you know, the world as well, and I do love that we kind of reclaim it. was like, yes, we are superior and yes, we do drink a lot of ice coffee. Yeah, we do run that way, we we we do all those things, but it's because we're better. Now have to know. What kind of kid were you growing up? Are you like the class clown? Were you in the drama cloud? What kind of both of those things? Definitely both of those. Um, I wasn't a rule follower. I was suspended from school a lot. I had a lot of detentions. Um, I was. I really was getting in trouble all the time because that's just I was always pushing the boundaries. They come up with so many dumb rules when you're a kid in high school and you're like, why do I have to do that? Why? So I was my mom. She had nine heart attacks when I was a kid. But that's that's some kind of energy. You know, you're you're you're changing the landscape and you're pushing the novelope. Now what first kind of drew you into the entertainment slash marketing world? Yeah, I have a lot of different interests, which I know a lot of performers, entertainers can understand and relate to. Where you you're pulled into so many different directions in your head of like, well, I love being behind the camera, I love writing, I love singing, I love performing, Um, I love board games, like I just love so many different things and like what can I do? So I um, I went to Chicago after I graduated to get into...

Improv and find my people to help create something funny. So that's where I started to like get into entertainment. Um, but I'm not connected to entertainment at all. Like my family is just like a standard family in the suburbs. So trying to find my way in, you know, like trying to be seen or or whatnot. It's definitely the biggest challenge because if you don't have the connections, you just kind of have to like figure it out. So that's what I decided to do there. And to your earlier points, sometimes it fails, you know, it's sometimes it's a you know it's sometimes it's it's a miss. And you can't just be one thing anymore. So you having this kind of scope of all these interests and abilities and jobs that you've taken. You know, you can't just be a singer anymore. You have to be also a social media marketer, you have to be a business person, you have to do everything and then you can sing. It's like, Jeez, you know. Um, do you remember your first kind of industry professional job, like in an entertainment yeah, Um, well, or like mark and you're like this is my first I'm ready for my first day at work. Oh yeah, well, when I graduated school I took a really crappy job as a construction journalist reporting on I mean it was two thousand and eight after the subprime mortgage crisis. So jobs were scarce and they were paying nineteen dollars a year. So that's what I took after college. So that was my first professional job, but I actually don't like to think about it too often. So I'm like, oh, that was a rough spot. Um. But then I moved to grinder after that and I was marketing for them and I'm like, Oh this is this is really cool. I this feels like a real job. That is funny, though. You know, sometimes you just have to take a job just in order to to survive. You know, you say construction, I think, oh well, there's a bunch of guys and hard hats and tight jeans, but that probably was not the environment. Oh No, no, no, not at all. We were a bunch of kids at desktop computers, like calling contractors being like are you guys building in this area, like it was a spot. Now can you share your coming out story with us? Um, yeah, I mean it's not too exciting. I basically I was living out of the House and that was twenty one and I was slowly coming out to friends or family, most, I'm sorry, mostly coming out to my friends over time. And then while I was in Chicago, my mom's dramatic. So my mom is an Italian woman who is just she is filled with drama and, uh, she's very theatrical, and I didn't want it to be this big thing because for me it really wasn't. It was like something that I had always been and I just didn't want to make it just coming out of the closet. You don't want to make it this big. Some people do, and that's great that you want to celebrate and like make a video and like be like here I am. That's not me. I'm like low key. So I did not want to tell her in person because I knew that she would like want to sit down and make a day of it. Like I couldn't do that. So I called her on the phone and I told her I liked boys Um and she still is not happy about that to this day, because she wanted to have that like moment, but it wasn't for her. It's not her moment, it was my moment and I didn't want one. So that's my coming out story. It's really located. Okay, what does love and dating look like for you? Is it hard to date? Rob Anderson Um, I wouldn't say it's hard to date me. Um, I wouldn't think. But I I've been single for like three or four years and when this started to happen, with my career and content creating and Tiktok and whatnot. Um, I've been so obsessed with it because it's what I've wanted to do for so long that I am really focused on it. So I really haven't given an opportunity to I don't go on dates um or um actively try to date because I know that I wouldn't necessarily want a partner at this moment. But I've definitely been hooking up and it's been that's been fun. I mean I think that's so important to say. You know what my career is first and that's what I'm gonna stick to. It makes you a healthier person, I think. Especially, especially, gonna stand looking up. Um. But do you think it would be a challenge for somebody, or do...

...you come across people that want to meet, date, sleep with rob the Tiktoker rather than Rob Anderson? Um, you know, I've definitely people come up to me at bars and clubs and they'll recognize me and say hi, but it's actually been a very awesome experience because, based on because of the things that I post, I get the types of people that come up and they go, oh my God, like when you had that one joke in this one video that was so funny because it referenced had other joke you made. Like they bring up specific things that I do in my content. So it's not always like hey, like I want to hook up with you, it's like, oh, these little things that you do. So I'm able to have little conversations with people and I really enjoy it. So that's just been my experience with people meeting me right now. Um. So No, actually, it's been like pretty cool. Were you scared at all releasing your debut single? Nothing for you. It's one thing to put yourself out there like you have, letting us into your life, uh, these these past few years, but now kind of really kind of putting it all out there in a very different way. Was that all scary? Definitely not scary. I was so excited to do it because it's something that I'm good at. But I haven't been dancing or singing in a lot of my videos because they have they have to be in some sort of way that feels right to me. Uh and Um, they can come off a little cringe. I think for me personally, if I'm singing or dancing in something, that isn't exactly how I wanted. And this was how I wanted it to be. I wanted to be a well produced single that sounded like a pop song you'd hear in the radio. But if you listen to the lyrics they're so stupid you're just like wait, what is he saying? Like what? Wait, what? Um, but then you want to keep listening to it and then if you find yourself singing the words and you're like, I can't believe I'm singing this song out loud. That's what I wanted to do and I put a great video together for it. I was so excited for people to see it. Um, no, not at all. It's like the summer pop like it's so Um and I love that you're doing live shows. You must be so happy to be out and about since covid what do you love about doing live shows that's unique to the stuff that you film and and and your other projects? What do you love most about stepping on stage? Well, I am a theater person. I'm a live performer. That's what I have been doing most of my life. So I have not stepped on a stage for five years until I started doing my show and I realized how fun it is to be in front of a room of people and have that connect. It is such a great, wonderful thing. And now it's especially awesome because the people in these rooms aren't just people that the comedy club has pulled in. been like there's a random show, come see it, like you want to see comedy, we have it. It's more like these are the people that know and like me and the things I make. So they're coming to see me and now I'm doing what I do well for them and it's just this wonderful combination. And I wanted to go to literally every city. Um, but it is my first tour, so like we're trying to tone it down and like pay like, you know, like main spots here and like. But I really was like I wanted to go to literally every city to just to see see the people. Yeah, of course, Um. And it's also it must be fun to kind of retrospect, to put all, you know, your best of pieces together and be able to celebrate them all in in one night and again with your singing. Um. Now, just real fast, do you feel this obligation to kind of now be an activist for the community, with all of your followers, with you getting that mainstream attention like MPR, Good Morning America, do you feel that's like, no, I have to be an activist? That's a really good question and I am, in my own way, an activist and I think that the any attention that my um things get, my videos get, that I get. It's related to the type of content I make, which is funny. It does serve a purpose. Sometimes it doesn't have to always. Sometimes I can just make something totally stupid if I want to. But if there is some message...

...in it, like there isn't a lot of gay science episodes, that's who I am Um. So when I have interviews or I meet people, that's that's why it's happening. So I wouldn't necessarily change a switch and be this like hard activists with serious tone, and that's okay too, but those people exist and they do what they do really well. So I'm gonna do what I do well. I love that. And real fast, what is your message to your fans this pride season? Um, I'd say, UH, don't stop stopping at Zara. Y'All shop at Zara too much. It's too much, too much. You gotta back off from Zara. Everybody, girl, I walk into Tzara and they're like the socks are over there. I'm like thanks, I don't have a good alternative to Zara. So actually, this is empty advice. I'm just saying y'all better stop. I just walk around nude. WHO NEEDS CLOTHES? And Anyway, it has been such it has been such a joy to chat with you. Where do you want everybody to find and follow you? Yeah, I'm on Instagram with heart throb Anderson Tiktok as Heart Roberts uh, and you can find me on spotify as heart throb. How much. It's so funny because, like I said, I've been a fan for years and getting to chat with you it's so easy. It's just like hanging out with an old friend, a thirty four year old friend, Alexander. This was the best, the best interview. I had so much fun. Thank you, rob, so much. Happy Pride. You too. Right. That has been my chat with heart drop throb Anderson. You can read my in depth article with him in our issue of Metro source, available on news stands around the nation or at Metro source dot Com. And that's our open episode. I'm your host lead writer for Metro source, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander's on air. Until next time, stay true and do you. That has been another metro source mini like. Share and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro source magazine on newstands or online at Metro source dot com. Follow us on Facebook, instagram at Metro source and on twitter at Metro Source Maga. Until next time. Bank passages.

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