Rob Anderson Brings His Patented Brand of ‘Gay Science’ To The Masses With New Book

Courtesy of Noah Fecks.

From his hilariously viral video series discussing beloved pop culture films and television, Rob Anderson is packaging the LGBTQ culture alongside his beloved video series and releasing the vibrant and brilliantly hilarious book “Gay Science.”

Anderson manages to merge pieces of the community with actual science, conspiring to stir up some truly interesting conversations. I sat down with Anderson for an extended chat where we discussed the origin of the book’s idea, how his video series became such viral moments, and the unique trajectory his career has continued to take.

Michael Cook: Your new book “Gay Science” is absolutely spectacular! It’s vibrantly colorful, full of visuals, and chock full of actually tangible information as well!

Rob Anderson: Thank you so much! I tried to base it on real things as far as science, but also culture. Each chapter is trying to get into what that part of the community is like generally and poke fun at a little, but back also it up with science. It's a lot, but there is a lot of research that went into it (laughs)!

MC: Do you have a background in science and research or just a substantial knowledge of LGBTQ everything?

RA: I don’t have a degree in science or anything, but I have always just loved science. I think that is where the video series initially came from, I just find it fun and interesting. For this book I had to research a lot more science than I knew and I really enjoyed it. Everything from outer space, I even took a couple days learning about our advances in science in outer space and everything that we know that we know now that we didn’t years ago, and that’s not even associating it with queerness! I researched each one of these fields and branches of science, and then for the gay culture for gay men, that was the easiest for me because I live it.

I think tapping into different parts of the community that I am not part of, that took a lot of research. Reaching out to friends who are in parts of that community, and learning how they joke about themselves … It’s funny with gay men and lesbians there is almost a culture where we love to poke fun at these things and poke fun at these things and invent these stereotypes of ourselves. Not just the stereotypes that bigots have come up with for us, but also ones we use like to make up ourselves. Whereas other parts of the community, like looking into bisexuals, they want those things but there really aren’t those things that tie them together like gays and lesbians. There isn’t as much of a community, but they want one so bad. So even puns or anything that they can grab onto and say, “This is so bisexual of us;” that's in the book.

Then moving into other parts of the community that are really fighting for the right to exist and haven’t really had an opportunity to poke fun at themselves like other communities have, but still have a great sense of humor. I wanted to include everyone in this book, but I made it more about the detractors and the ignorant people, I made the sections about intersex and trans people about those who disagree with their existence, almost making fun of those people instead of those actual communities.

MC: What’s genius is that you invoked things like the works of Wendy Williams and you turned them into a truly serious topic!

RA: It’s a very serious thing (laughs)! She did great work understanding the gay wrist. She deserves to be appreciated and respected.

MC: One thing about “Gay Science” is that it’s definitely written for the LGBTQ community, but absolutely anyone could pick it up and thoroughly enjoy it.

RA: It’s nice to hear you say that, that is what i was trying to do. Feel inclusive where people who are not part of the community could still laugh at these things; that is what its there for. It’s not meant to make anyone feel isolated or that they are not part of the joke.

MC: Your career has truly blossomed online within the past couple years. Your video reviews of pop culture institutions like “7th Heaven” and “The Berenstain Bears” where you decipher the parts of these formerly wholesome American touchstones and show them to us through the lens of how devious just might be is truly remarkable.

RA: It really is; I have enjoyed revisiting things that I watched as a kid. “7th Heaven” and “The Berenstain Bears” are two things in particular that I didn’t expect them to be this way. It was a fun diversion when I was writing the “Gay Science” book to start rewatching them for fun, and then I thought that people would actually enjoy this as content. People need to know what’s going on here if they haven’t read it or seen it in a while (laughs)!

Now I get all of these requests, and it has been so fun, of all of these movies or shows that I either have never seen or haven’t seen in a while. I just watched “Never Been Kissed” and I put a video up about it and I hadn’t seen it since it came out in 1999. I remember it being a cute rom-com, but it is actually messed up (laughs). The whole movie I was like “This is the plot”? Josie Gellar (Drew Barrymore) pretends to be a high schooler, goes to high school to write an exposé about high schoolers and falls in love with a high school guy. Then her teacher falls in love with her because he thinks she’s a student. Her brother who’s in his mid-20s just starts going to the school too and dates another girl that is 16. I’m like, "What the hell is going on?!” (Laughs)! It’s actually outrageous and I don’t know why I didn’t catch it initially; it is absurd.

MC: Your co-hosting gig with Monét X Change on the WOW Presents Plus competition show “Glam Slam” was such a fun departure for you that seemed to fit like a glove!

RA: That was such a fun one to do! Monét X Change and I have been friends and I for quite a bit and everyone loves working with Monét. She said, “This would be fun for us to do together” so I have Monét to thank for that. I am a huge fan of “Drag Race” and I know all of the queens so it was very exciting to see them, to see them work and it was quite impressive to see what they did in three hours, those looks! That was a great experience.

MC: Speaking of, who have you loved from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” Season 16 so far?

RA: I did love Mirage I wont lie, the talent show number with the clacking of the heels! I didn’t expect her to leave early, but I get it. You have to know the words to the lip sync and it is something RuPaul has been very serious about, like with Valentina. It would be inconsistent with Ru to keep her not knowing the words to a Cher song just because she could dance rally well. I love Plane Jane, and I love the Amanda Tori Meating also, it’s a genius name. The casting is incredible and every year the cast gets better and better!

MC: When people pick up “Gay Science,” what do you want them to get from it once they finish it?

RA: I think the queer community, because not by our own choice other people are doing this, the queer community is always under some sort of attack in some way. By politicians, and ignorant people who have nothing better to do and are creating problems because they don’t want to face other problems that actually exist. So they divert the attention towards queer people. We know it, we see it; it’s so dumb, but it carries weight politically. Because of that we are seen constantly in this light as a very serious groups of people who are always having to fight, who are part of this story that is sad. We are funny, we have a great sense of humor, we joke about ourselves all the time. We have gotten through trauma in our lives with humor, every part of the queer community. i want people to see that and know that we don’t take ourselves so seriously even though we take the right to exist seriously.

With the video series, that I think has been the best when I read comments, I have amassed a more diverse audience that is not just queer people when I am reviewing things like “7th Heaven” and “The Berenstain Bears.” Straight people have seen the videos now and they’re like, “Are we allowed to laugh at this?” I think it’s surprising to them. “They make fun of themselves in this way?” We do and I don’t think we get a lot of queer comedy that allows for that; it’s always so serious. I think that is the biggest takeaway that I would love for someone to see or read. Not just straight people, but queer people; especially young queer people who are very serious.

Online I see a lot of serious discussion about things which is fine, but I think reminding people that life is silly, it really is, you shouldn’t be taking your life so seriously that there is a weight on your shoulders … Shake things up, things are dumb, things are really stupid. Look at these stereotypes; we are going to make them real, we're going to apply them to science and we're going to make you laugh. It’s a bit of a lighter load you know?

MC: Your career is following a very interesting trajectory, almost like a pinball machine where you are hitting a bunch of areas and it’s culminating into a career that is wonderfully diverse!

RA: That is a funny way of putting it (laughs)! I try not to think on my career or trajectory because I find that when I don’t think about something a year or two years ahead and just do the thing I want to do, then things are great and I end up reaching people who have this in common or enjoy it. When I end up saying I’m going to do “this” you don’t end up meeting those specific goals and you may miss an opportunity to do stuff.

I think that’s a great analogy and I am doing whatever is enjoyable for me and if someone else enjoys it and they like the content, whether it's a show, this book or the videos, I am just going to keep going forward from there. Not thinking about what this will set up for me in the future, I used to do that; I did improv in Chicago for seven or eight years and I love doing improv. My whole mindset was that I would do improv, then become a writer on a late night show or “Saturday Night Live” holds auditions and you try to get on “SNL.” It’s like hold on, you're limiting yourself from a whole career that doesn’t even exist yet. TikTok came out and all this stuff so once that started, I just let that go and I’m just doing my thing; whatever happens, happens. Even if it’s just this, I am enjoying myself and I am really happy with my career.

Pre-Order Rob Anderson’s Gay Science on Amazon.

Follow Rob Anderson on Instagram @heartthrobanderson.


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