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Playing with Myself

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Instant New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! An intimate and light-hearted memoir by viral sensation and three-time Emmy-nominated musical comedian Randy Rainbow that takes readers through his life—the highs, the lows, the lipstick, the pink glasses, and the show tunes. Randy Rainbow, the man who conquered the Internet with a stylish pair of pink Instant New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! An intimate and light-hearted memoir by viral sensation and three-time Emmy-nominated musical comedian Randy Rainbow that takes readers through his life—the highs, the lows, the lipstick, the pink glasses, and the show tunes. Randy Rainbow, the man who conquered the Internet with a stylish pair of pink glasses, an inexhaustible knowledge of Broadway musicals, and the most gimlet-eyed view of American politics this side of Mark Twain finally tells all in Playing with Myself, a memoir sure to cause more than a few readers to begin singing one of his greatest hits like “A Spoonful of Clorox” or “Cover Your Freakin’ Face.” As Randy has said, “There’s so much fake news out there about me. I can’t wait to set the record straight and finally give people a peek behind the green screen.” And set the record straight he does. Playing with Myself is a first-hand account of the journey that led Randy Rainbow from his childhood as the over-imaginative, often misunderstood little boy who carried a purse in the second grade to his first job on Broadway as the host at Hooters and on to the creation of his trademark comedy character. In chapters titled “Pajama Bottoms” (a look back at the days when he wore pajama bottoms on his head to pretend he was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), “Yes, It’s My Real Name, Shut Up!” (no explanation necessary...) and “Pink Glasses” (a rose-colored homage to his favorite accessory), Playing with Myself is a memoir that answers the question “Can an introverted musical theatre nerd with a MacBook and a dream save the world, one show tune at a time?”


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Instant New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! An intimate and light-hearted memoir by viral sensation and three-time Emmy-nominated musical comedian Randy Rainbow that takes readers through his life—the highs, the lows, the lipstick, the pink glasses, and the show tunes. Randy Rainbow, the man who conquered the Internet with a stylish pair of pink Instant New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller! An intimate and light-hearted memoir by viral sensation and three-time Emmy-nominated musical comedian Randy Rainbow that takes readers through his life—the highs, the lows, the lipstick, the pink glasses, and the show tunes. Randy Rainbow, the man who conquered the Internet with a stylish pair of pink glasses, an inexhaustible knowledge of Broadway musicals, and the most gimlet-eyed view of American politics this side of Mark Twain finally tells all in Playing with Myself, a memoir sure to cause more than a few readers to begin singing one of his greatest hits like “A Spoonful of Clorox” or “Cover Your Freakin’ Face.” As Randy has said, “There’s so much fake news out there about me. I can’t wait to set the record straight and finally give people a peek behind the green screen.” And set the record straight he does. Playing with Myself is a first-hand account of the journey that led Randy Rainbow from his childhood as the over-imaginative, often misunderstood little boy who carried a purse in the second grade to his first job on Broadway as the host at Hooters and on to the creation of his trademark comedy character. In chapters titled “Pajama Bottoms” (a look back at the days when he wore pajama bottoms on his head to pretend he was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz), “Yes, It’s My Real Name, Shut Up!” (no explanation necessary...) and “Pink Glasses” (a rose-colored homage to his favorite accessory), Playing with Myself is a memoir that answers the question “Can an introverted musical theatre nerd with a MacBook and a dream save the world, one show tune at a time?”

30 review for Playing with Myself

  1. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    4.5, rounded up. Ok, I was predisposed to like this, having been an RR fan even before he broke out in 2016 with his anti-45 song parodies. But I was pleasantly surprised (and suitably enthralled) by his telling of his own story - which, sure, follows a lot of the well-worn tropes of celebrity tell-alls (and memoirs by gay men!), but is also rather erudite and well-written. While NOT as LOL funny as one might expect, it is a fun and fast paced read (I read the entire thing in less than 24 hours, 4.5, rounded up. Ok, I was predisposed to like this, having been an RR fan even before he broke out in 2016 with his anti-45 song parodies. But I was pleasantly surprised (and suitably enthralled) by his telling of his own story - which, sure, follows a lot of the well-worn tropes of celebrity tell-alls (and memoirs by gay men!), but is also rather erudite and well-written. While NOT as LOL funny as one might expect, it is a fun and fast paced read (I read the entire thing in less than 24 hours, so that says something). And it tugs at the heartstring a couple of times, most notably in relating the details of his cat, Mushi's, demise during the pandemic (too ashamed to admit tears WERE shed!). If one wishes it were a mite deeper AND gossipier (he's oddly circumspect about his romantic life, for example), I can't imagine any fan coming away disappointed. I also have newfound respect for just what an awesome job he did saving my - and many others' - sanity during the Dark Ages from 2016 - 2020. My sincere appreciation to the author, Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the ARC in exchange for this honest and enthusiastic review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Della B

    I have long been a fan of Randy Rainbow and was excited to read his autobiography. His humour did not translate well to pure written word unfortunately. Not that his book should be all laughs but the only time I had a true sense of the man behind the façade was when he described his last days with his dying cat. It brought tears to my eyes. This Randy I would have loved to seen more of in the book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    I just found out this book existed and I already need it like I need air

  4. 4 out of 5

    June Price

    Which one of these is Randy Rainbow? The overweight, introverted child wearing a cartoon t-shirt? The boy being bullied in the school yard? The child hiding in his room to avoid his father's anger? The star of many a school musical? The boy who spent most date nights with his grandmother? The boy who would eventually count the legendary Stephen Sondheim as a friend? The one who cried when his cat had to be put to sleep? The multi-talented star of many a viral video? If you said all of the above, Which one of these is Randy Rainbow? The overweight, introverted child wearing a cartoon t-shirt? The boy being bullied in the school yard? The child hiding in his room to avoid his father's anger? The star of many a school musical? The boy who spent most date nights with his grandmother? The boy who would eventually count the legendary Stephen Sondheim as a friend? The one who cried when his cat had to be put to sleep? The multi-talented star of many a viral video? If you said all of the above, you are right. Randy Rainbow is all of these and more. I came to this book as a fan of his viral videos expecting a light but intriguing look at his rise to video stardom but came away with far more respect for him than I could have imagined. His story manages to be both humorous and sadly enlightening for those of us who never had to walk in his shoes or, this being Randy, ruby slippers. Randy Rainbow is his real name, btw. If you are at all familiar with his work you are likely familiar with the person that he portrays in his videos, the heightened, campy persona that frequently breaks out in song. He writes like I'd imagine he'd talk. I found myself almost waiting him to break out in song somehow, never mind I was reading a print copy of "Playing With Myself". I found myself not only liking him but adoring his mother and grandmother. Apparently I share that with Carol Burnett, yes, that Carol Burnett. Bottom line, I came to learn more about how Randy Rainbow makes his videos. I came away not only with a good idea of how that happens but a genuine respect and liking for the man behind the pink eyeglasses. Thank you #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for this delightful introduction to such a wonderfully talented man.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    If anyone can make it just the most fabulous thing ever to be proudly, exaggeratedly gay, it's Randy Rainbow. (And yes, that is his real name, given at birth.) Mmmmwaah. 😘 Love you, Randy! And I'm so sorry about Mushi. He hung on for you as long as he could. Are you a Tippi Hedren fan? She likes cats too. The big scary kind that could lunch on you. If anyone can make it just the most fabulous thing ever to be proudly, exaggeratedly gay, it's Randy Rainbow. (And yes, that is his real name, given at birth.) Mmmmwaah. 😘 Love you, Randy! And I'm so sorry about Mushi. He hung on for you as long as he could. Are you a Tippi Hedren fan? She likes cats too. The big scary kind that could lunch on you.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Just like Randy Rainbow, this was fun, funny, and put a smile on my face. Randy has a great way of bringing light to things and giving his audience a laugh. I liked seeing a different side of him in this, possibly the more serious aspects of his life, and would have even liked a little more of that. The section with his mother towards the end of the book was adorable and so much fun to read. You can feel the love there and how genuine their banter is. This is a great read for anyone who is a fan Just like Randy Rainbow, this was fun, funny, and put a smile on my face. Randy has a great way of bringing light to things and giving his audience a laugh. I liked seeing a different side of him in this, possibly the more serious aspects of his life, and would have even liked a little more of that. The section with his mother towards the end of the book was adorable and so much fun to read. You can feel the love there and how genuine their banter is. This is a great read for anyone who is a fan of Randy Rainbow and also just any theatre fans in general. The stories with Stephen Sondheim and Patti LuPone were so interesting and sweet. Many many thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Much appreciated!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Richard Propes

    The first thing that may surprise you about comedian, singer, and social media star Randy Rainbow is that Randy Rainbow is, in effect, his real name. Openly gay and even more openly fabulous, Rainbow manages to infuse an honest and heartfelt memoir with his stage persona that is most vividly known for spoof interviews that weave together a tapestry of social insight, political satire, and musical parodies. Born into a Jewish family in New York, Rainbow's family relocated to Florida but he would The first thing that may surprise you about comedian, singer, and social media star Randy Rainbow is that Randy Rainbow is, in effect, his real name. Openly gay and even more openly fabulous, Rainbow manages to infuse an honest and heartfelt memoir with his stage persona that is most vividly known for spoof interviews that weave together a tapestry of social insight, political satire, and musical parodies. Born into a Jewish family in New York, Rainbow's family relocated to Florida but he would eventually drop out of community college in favor of a move back to New York in his 20's where he would hold a variety of jobs in and around the world of Broadway until he began blogging and really began to grow in recognition around 2010. The 2016 national election made Randy Rainbow a household name. While "Playing with Myself" continues Rainbow's nearly constant irreverence, rest assured that the book itself is a serious, and seriously humorous, memoir in which Rainbow openly shares about his childhood, his struggles with anxiety and depression, his many friends who have supported him along the way and, yes, that not so long ago controversy over old social media posts that were dug up by decidedly non-fans and revealed concerns that Rainbow addressed openly via an interview with The Advocate. It's that openness, about his talent and his missteps along the way, that makes Rainbow a refreshing media presence and author. "Playing with Myself" deals with the full spectrum of Rainbow's life, an obviously tension-filled relationship with his father and the inspiration that he's long drawn from his mother. Rainbow practically fanboys over many of the celebs he can now call friends such as Carol Burnett, Patti Lupone, and Titus Burgess. "Playing with Myself" is most effective as a memoir with Rainbow's earlier years, the book's final 20-25% perhaps becoming a tad repetitive and the chapter in which Rainbow deals with those old social media tweets a bit awkward in construction and a tad late in the book due to how it interrupts what had, for the most part, been a vibrant, personality-driven reading experience. Because the social media chapter, in particular, happens late in the book on some level as the reading winds down you're a little more drawn to looking up those social media posts rather than wanting to head to Youtube and check out Rainbow's dozens of brilliant musical spoofs. That said, as someone who was aware of Rainbow but not necessarily familiar I actually did find myself heading over to check out his many musical spoors and was gleefully overwhelmed with his immense talent, musical gifts, semi-political insights, and ability to play into a character that is part character and part Rainbow himself. I mean, seriously. Randy's last name really is Rainbow. I think he should probably thank the universe that he's gay and that he has vibrant musical talent. It may very well be impossible to read "Playing with Myself" without falling completely in love with Randy Rainbow. Rainbow's spirit radiates throughout the book and while Rainbow serves up name-drops galore, it's in an almost bewildered kind of way where he seems genuinely awed by this life that he's created for himself supported by his thousands of fans. With his trademark pink sunglasses and a willingness to go there and then go there again, Randy Rainbow's "Playing with Myself" reads like he performs and that's an absolute delight from beginning to end.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I have been a huge fan of Randy Rainbow ever since he released his "Braggadocious" video in 2016. He is always on-point and hilarious about it. So when I saw he was publishing a book, I knew I had to read it. And what a delight it was from start to finish! Playing with Myself ranks up there with A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth and Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life by Sutton Foster, as one of my favorite celebrity memoirs. (Of course his book would fit i I have been a huge fan of Randy Rainbow ever since he released his "Braggadocious" video in 2016. He is always on-point and hilarious about it. So when I saw he was publishing a book, I knew I had to read it. And what a delight it was from start to finish! Playing with Myself ranks up there with A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth and Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life by Sutton Foster, as one of my favorite celebrity memoirs. (Of course his book would fit in perfectly amongst books by two fabulous Broadway divas.) Most of the time, Randy had me laughing out loud over one thing or another. His personality just shines off the pages. However, there are also some bittersweet, sad, harrowing, and emotional parts. He speaks of grief, sexual harassment, and Internet bullying, just to name a few things. He's had it rough at times and is not always the happy-go-lucky humorist we see on our screens all the time. That just makes him human and I love him even more for it. I didn't even know about the Internet bullying (I don't spend enough time on Twitter) and if I had at the time, I would have jumped in and supported him 100%. I have to applaud Randy for mentioning Faerie Tale Theatre a couple of times. I grew up on that show and loved it. No one ever appreciates it as much as Randy and I did though. I also appreciate how he detailed his rise to fame and showed how it wasn't always easy. There were a lot of bumps in the road and empty promises along the way. I was cheering him on when he talked about how he finally got his big break and I only wanted good things to happen for him. Just like Sutton Foster did in her book, Randy also makes a tribute to Patti LuPone. Randy, Sutton, and Patti need to do a musical together. He also mentions a lot of other celebrities without making it feel like he's name-dropping. The connections are all sweet and genuine. He knew Josh Gad when he was growing up. He got to hang out with Steve Martin and Martin Short after a performance. (They need to include him on Only Murders in the Building.) He even met Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack from Will and Grace. And this is just to name a few. Overall, I loved, loved, LOVED this book. It was so much fun to read and even though I don't do audiobooks anymore, I could totally hear Randy's voice in my head. I wouldn't mind trying out the audiobook of this one sometime, just to hear him read his own memoir. Here's another post I wrote about Randy at my blog (aside from the one linked at the top of this review).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Betts

    Gurrrrrl, what a shiny, glittering, sparkling, and fantastic book! When I spotted this book on the NetGalley ARC list, I could hardly believe it. My son introduced me to Rainbow’s videos during the Pandemic. Each time a new video dropped, he would immediately send me the link. Randy’s (yes, I want to be on a first name basis with him) creativity and humor provided smiles and laughter, which were greatly needed during the difficult times we were all experiencing. In PLAYING WITH MYSELF, Rainbow ope Gurrrrrl, what a shiny, glittering, sparkling, and fantastic book! When I spotted this book on the NetGalley ARC list, I could hardly believe it. My son introduced me to Rainbow’s videos during the Pandemic. Each time a new video dropped, he would immediately send me the link. Randy’s (yes, I want to be on a first name basis with him) creativity and humor provided smiles and laughter, which were greatly needed during the difficult times we were all experiencing. In PLAYING WITH MYSELF, Rainbow opens up about the struggles he overcame in order to fill the shoes of his name (which REALLY IS his legal name). His love of everything Broadway, not only in his videos, but also in the way he writes so fondly about the songs, shows, and albums. He does not like song parodies, even though he has gone viral with his expertise in this category. The outline he provides of his creative process is overwhelming. His ability to pull Broadway songs from his head to correspond to current events and the research he does in order to write the lyrics is incredible. His ability to bring all of the pieces together (information, music, lyrics, scripts and video) is masterful, especially since all of this work is completed in his apartment. Steven Sondheim was quoted by Lin-Manuel Miranda saying, “He’s good as anyone writing lyrics now, and what he’s doing is harder.” After watching his videos and listening to his songs, this is an obvious observation. Rainbow opens up about difficult times in his family life and struggles when returning to New York while also being able to add typical Rainbow remarks. His ability to expose himself (no pun intended) as a character and as a man is moving, and make me like him as a person even more (thus our first name status).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maine Colonial

    I received a free publisher's review copy, via Netgalley. I’m going to assume that nobody reading this review needs an explanation of who Randy Rainbow is. During the dark days of the last few years, he’s always cheered me up with his topical satirical videos. I’ve always been impressed by his video production values, his singing voice, and his clever lyrics. I wanted to know how the Randy Rainbow character came to be. The first surprise came right at the beginning. (view spoiler)[Who would ever h I received a free publisher's review copy, via Netgalley. I’m going to assume that nobody reading this review needs an explanation of who Randy Rainbow is. During the dark days of the last few years, he’s always cheered me up with his topical satirical videos. I’ve always been impressed by his video production values, his singing voice, and his clever lyrics. I wanted to know how the Randy Rainbow character came to be. The first surprise came right at the beginning. (view spoiler)[Who would ever have guessed that Randy Rainbow is the actual name on his birth certificate? (Well, actually, Randy Stewart Rainbow, but still.) And it’s not some hippie-parent thing, either. Turns out his German ancestors were named Regenbogen, which literally means rainbow in English, and they had it changed when they emigrated to England. (hide spoiler)] I’m old, so I really wasn’t aware of Randy Rainbow until 2016. Somehow I missed his early videos, especially his amazing idea to take those horrific audio recordings of Mel Gibson’s abusive rants back in the 2010s and turn them into one side of a phone conversation with Randy as his sweet, clueless, indulgent boyfriend. I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out Randy’s pre-2016 oeuvre, which is not just a lot of fun, but a great way to see the evolution of his style. I loved reading about Randy’s childhood as the boy prince son of Gwen, and his Nanny’s adored grandson. Unfortunately, his father was a narcissist who couldn’t deal with the idea of Randy growing up and becoming his own person. There are three key elements to this book: Randy’s love for his mother and grandmother, his lifelong love affair with musical theater, and his view of what he is trying to do with his social media persona. While the first two elements are the most fun—his mother and grandmother are a hilarious themselves, and he tells some great anecdotes about meeting and sometimes working with his theater idols—his views on social media are thoughtful and interesting. Generally, I think of social media as the scourge of our day, but obviously that’s not universally the case. Randy notes that he himself was never a big fan of musical parodies, but he realized that musical parody puts everybody who recognizes the music in the same starting place and can be unifying at a time when we are so divided. He says that many times he has been surprised to discover he has right-wing fans. Randy doesn’t shy away from talking about old tweets of his that have been used to accuse him of racism, sexism, homophobia and—seriously—anti-semitism. He has an interesting take on all that, which I’ll leave up to you to read for yourself. So who would enjoy this book? Obviously, fans of Randy Rainbow. Also, musical theater geeks, people who like memoirs of unusual personalities, and anyone who is interested in the role of social media in society.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    Throughout the book, Randy Rainbow is personable and walks the reader along his life and career. I frequently read memoirs of people I don't know, but this is one of the few that encouraged me to become a fan of the person. The audiobook was entertaining, but man does he constantly namedrop. Throughout the book, Randy Rainbow is personable and walks the reader along his life and career. I frequently read memoirs of people I don't know, but this is one of the few that encouraged me to become a fan of the person. The audiobook was entertaining, but man does he constantly namedrop.

  12. 4 out of 5

    AnnieM

    Randy Rainbow helped me get through the pandemic with his beautiful singing voice and humor -- so I was delighted to learn more about him in his memoir. Consistent with his humor, this book tells a sometimes painful childhood and launch into adulthood with funny asides to the reader that made me chuckle. I had no idea that this outgoing performer is actually introverted and sometimes lacks confidence. I loved learning about his mother and grandmother in particular who loved and supported him unc Randy Rainbow helped me get through the pandemic with his beautiful singing voice and humor -- so I was delighted to learn more about him in his memoir. Consistent with his humor, this book tells a sometimes painful childhood and launch into adulthood with funny asides to the reader that made me chuckle. I had no idea that this outgoing performer is actually introverted and sometimes lacks confidence. I loved learning about his mother and grandmother in particular who loved and supported him unconditionally and helped him nurture and find his true self. My only small critique is he keeps the light tone throughout even when faced with a producer predator or threat of cancel culture due to past tweets/videos reinterpreted through a current day lens. But this is just a small point, because overall I loved the book and am glad I got to know the person behind the wonderfiul videos! Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for providing me with a preview copy to review. My opinions are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Just finished reading this wonderful book. I didn't work, just read all day because I couldn't put it down. Literally laughed and cried. He is extraordinary, and so is this memoir. Wonderful writing, sounds just like him. Highly recommend! Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an advance e-galley in exchange for an honest review. Just finished reading this wonderful book. I didn't work, just read all day because I couldn't put it down. Literally laughed and cried. He is extraordinary, and so is this memoir. Wonderful writing, sounds just like him. Highly recommend! Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for providing me with an advance e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason Wrench

    I want to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Randy Rainbow's Playing with Myself before publication. Although I am grateful to the publisher, the following review is completely mine. If you're like me, Randy Rainbow helped you get through four years of the Trump Administration. I'm also really hesitant when I see someone like Mr. Rainbow writing a book because I'm afraid it's going to be self-aggrandizing. This book is not one of those tomes at all. I really enjoy I want to thank the publisher for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Randy Rainbow's Playing with Myself before publication. Although I am grateful to the publisher, the following review is completely mine. If you're like me, Randy Rainbow helped you get through four years of the Trump Administration. I'm also really hesitant when I see someone like Mr. Rainbow writing a book because I'm afraid it's going to be self-aggrandizing. This book is not one of those tomes at all. I really enjoyed learning about Randy from his upbringing to his stint on a cruise ship. From his musical theater background and friendship with Josh Gad to his stint as a Hooter's host. Randy Rainbow has lived a very interesting life, and he discusses it all in this heartwarming and hilarious autobiography. Of course, most of us are interested in how became the internet celebrity he has. And he discusses his earliest idea of being Mel Gibson's boyfriend to the process he uses to create his viral videos today. From an artistic perspective, you really get to see his process, which I think will be great for anyone interested in creating internet content. In the book Rainbow writes, "(Just as an aside . . . I hate to steal the crown and have armies of gay writers trolling me on Twitter, but could I—Randy Rainbow—be the gayest person in history ever to write a book? Discuss amongst yourselves.)" I would have to say the answer to this question is a resounding YES. And frankly, we wouldn't want to have him any other way. --- And if you're wondering, Randy Rainbow is his real name by birth. The Gay Gods have clearly spoken.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    My dear friend Gary presented me with this as a birthday gift. I practically inhaled it. Perhaps it would please Randy to be compared to a legal form of cocaine. At any rate, it was the perfect way to kick off Pride Month! The celebration of Pride is, in part, a recognition of triumph over adversity. If his festive YouTube vids are all you know about Randy, you won't know about the difficulties that he details in his (apparently) tell-almost-all memoir. In itself, it is not unusual to be reminde My dear friend Gary presented me with this as a birthday gift. I practically inhaled it. Perhaps it would please Randy to be compared to a legal form of cocaine. At any rate, it was the perfect way to kick off Pride Month! The celebration of Pride is, in part, a recognition of triumph over adversity. If his festive YouTube vids are all you know about Randy, you won't know about the difficulties that he details in his (apparently) tell-almost-all memoir. In itself, it is not unusual to be reminded that the road to fame is not easy. Those on that road will find themselves walking it in their own individual-hardship ways. Randy's way began as an overweight kid who also wasn't particularly concerned about ostentatious color coordination or a fey attitude. The result was a lot of bullying. The result was also a somewhat terrifying father who turned on RR once the latter started becoming his own person. But there was a bright side; two of them: mom and grandma - both unstintingly supportive (~ and both granted a lot of unconditional love-space in this book.) As well, Randy had the ultimate ace up his sleeve: he was genuinely - one might say naturally - talented. He had 'that certain something', even if it took him some time to both realize and then harness it. But harness he did! And now he has written all about how exactly he did it! This is one of the most engaging memoirs I've read (not that I've read that many; they're not usually to my taste). It also has the honest-within-reason feel of someone not holding back or suffering fools. If the approach isn't exactly 'take no prisoners', it's certainly 'take no shit' (~ which says a lot for believing in yourself, and it seems Randy always has). Bravo, Randy! You GO, gurl! btw: Top 3 fave RR vids: 1) 'Marjorie Taylor Greene' (to the tune of 'Evergreen'); 2) 'Alternative Facts' (to the tune of 'Jellicle Cats'); 3) methinks a tie between 'You Can't Stop His Tweets' and 'The Room Where It Happened'.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    This book is just as fast-paced, funny, and poignant as you might expect. Randy Rainbow pulls back the curtain and shows us his life as a shy, chubby kid with an abusive father -- of whom former president DJT put Rainbow very much in mind. His mother and grandmother encouraged Rainbow's interest in musical theatre, and soon he was performing himself. Rainbow's encyclopedic knowledge of musical theatre is, of course, what eventually led him to fame; I'm one of the millions who eagerly awaited each This book is just as fast-paced, funny, and poignant as you might expect. Randy Rainbow pulls back the curtain and shows us his life as a shy, chubby kid with an abusive father -- of whom former president DJT put Rainbow very much in mind. His mother and grandmother encouraged Rainbow's interest in musical theatre, and soon he was performing himself. Rainbow's encyclopedic knowledge of musical theatre is, of course, what eventually led him to fame; I'm one of the millions who eagerly awaited each new parody video (all of which, by the bye, are made in Rainbow's living room, where one wall is painted chromakey green). This book lets us see the man behind the pink glasses: fanboy, cat lover, and introvert. But it also shows us the clever LGBTQ+ icon at his best; you can literally hear his voice in the text. I loved every minute of it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Telford

    Normally, name dropping bugs me, but he does.it with such gratitude and humility.for the kindness people have shown him, it was very sweet. I STRONGLY suggest listening to the audiobook for this one.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Equestrian Mommy

    Finished this in one day! Absolutely hilarious and heartfelt. I was laughing out loud throughout the entire book. Love Randy Rainbow! Chapter 22 was my favorite…the one where he’s talking with his mom. What a fun read!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    YES! I'm sure the book is wonderful, but the audiobook (read by Randy himself; complete with a chapter where he interviews his mom) was perfection. Is Rainbow his real last name? How does he really feel about his old jokes on twitter? How does he create those hilarious videos? Is he REALLY friends with Carol Burnett and Patti LuPone? This was 7 hours that went by way too quickly. YES! I'm sure the book is wonderful, but the audiobook (read by Randy himself; complete with a chapter where he interviews his mom) was perfection. Is Rainbow his real last name? How does he really feel about his old jokes on twitter? How does he create those hilarious videos? Is he REALLY friends with Carol Burnett and Patti LuPone? This was 7 hours that went by way too quickly.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert Stevens

    If you are looking to get to know more about that man behind the pink (glasses) curtain (I had to make an Oz reference since he makes several) that many of us have grown to love, read this book. I elected for the audio version read by Randy Rainbow himself, which made for an excellent experience that I highly recommend. Name-dropping in books can be quite irritating, but I didn't feel that way at all because Randy has deserved all of the wonderful experiences he has had with the likes of Stephen If you are looking to get to know more about that man behind the pink (glasses) curtain (I had to make an Oz reference since he makes several) that many of us have grown to love, read this book. I elected for the audio version read by Randy Rainbow himself, which made for an excellent experience that I highly recommend. Name-dropping in books can be quite irritating, but I didn't feel that way at all because Randy has deserved all of the wonderful experiences he has had with the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Patti LuPone, and Carol Burnett amongst others. He has worked hard to get to where he is now and is deserving of Emerald City experiences. If you have ever done theatre, the following comment, an important point from the book for me, will make sense. In theatrical productions, people don't struggle with what they are going to say nor do they struggle to be seen. For some introverts (glad he made the shout-out to us introverts at the end), the stage is a place of rebirth and a place to be heard and seen. Other important lessons shared by Randy include the role of humor in heavier times, the importance of being the star of your own story, the value of helping people who are bullied and marginalized, and the need to be the light in someone else's dark world. Additionally, hearing about the relationship between Randy and his dad was heartbreaking and the relationship between him and his grandmother and mother had me feeling all the positive feelings. I also found myself on the verge of tears when Randy was telling the story of his cat Mushi and how it all ended. Great job, Randy. Looking forward to more from you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Donna Levin

    Do you grok Randy Rainbow? Gurl, where have you been? Open your laptop and go to YouTube – NOW! I am not a celebrity junkie. I don’t care who’s married, or divorced, or how many children they have. In fact, I stay away from such news, because if I admire an artist, I don’t want to find out that they’re jerks IRL. I am a fan of musical theater, though, and I love Randy Rainbow’s videos, in which he creates new lyrics for Broadway tunes, so I took a chance on *Playing,* even though I risked learnin Do you grok Randy Rainbow? Gurl, where have you been? Open your laptop and go to YouTube – NOW! I am not a celebrity junkie. I don’t care who’s married, or divorced, or how many children they have. In fact, I stay away from such news, because if I admire an artist, I don’t want to find out that they’re jerks IRL. I am a fan of musical theater, though, and I love Randy Rainbow’s videos, in which he creates new lyrics for Broadway tunes, so I took a chance on *Playing,* even though I risked learning that James Corden is a secret pickpocket. Come to find out that Mr. Rainbow only has praise for everyone. (A little suspiciously so, but maybe that’s me. I don’t like nearly as many people as Randy does.) He even became friends with Anthony Scaramucci. As Mr. Rainbow concludes from that episode, “Life is weird.” The book is, in part, a true memoir: Rainbow describes a problematic childhood (with the name “Randy Rainbow,” his parents might as well have written “please bully me” on his birth certificate), but never with self-pity or bitterness. I particularly appreciated his loving portrayals of the women in his life, beginning with his mother and grandmother. He also details the labor-intensive process of putting together his latter-day, highly polished videos. It’s even harder than it looks, and it looks hard. Extra points for his occasional use of Yiddish, including one word that most non-Jews will have to look up. Thank you to #NetGalley and #StMartinsPress for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. I was honestly thrilled with it.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    I have read a lot of celebrity autobiographies over the years and this may just be the best of the lot. Not that the writing is outstanding (for that go to Kate Mulgrew) but it's so typically him, complete with all the comments breaking the 4th wall and talking to the readers. He's become a big star with friends like Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett and Patti LuPone, yet with as much shyness about meeting celebrities as I would have. I love that he describes himself as a "hard core, out-and-proud I have read a lot of celebrity autobiographies over the years and this may just be the best of the lot. Not that the writing is outstanding (for that go to Kate Mulgrew) but it's so typically him, complete with all the comments breaking the 4th wall and talking to the readers. He's become a big star with friends like Stephen Sondheim, Carol Burnett and Patti LuPone, yet with as much shyness about meeting celebrities as I would have. I love that he describes himself as a "hard core, out-and-proud, full blown introvert.." I know exactly how he feels! Rainbow's (yes, that's his real name) childhood reads like the script of a bad sitcom that nobody would believe, but with a mother (whom he adores) who brought him up on musicals, which kept him sane despite bullies in school and a not very nice father. It's fascinating to see how he uses the newly formed social media to create the person he will ultimately become, and how his early videos became so popular that they would have thousands of viewers in the first day (compared with millions with his later videos). His chapter about his cat is worth at least two if not more tissues. And learning about how the far right decided to take this Jewish gay man on as a homophobic anti-Semitic because of jokes he told at the start of his career, and how he dealt with that, thanks to advice from Carol Burnett. This is just a delightful book from start to finish.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Smith

    I didn’t know who Randy Rainbow was until the former presidency was in effect. Within a few weeks of the election, I was in the hospital with such an awful panic attack that I thought I was having a cardiac issue. Thankfully, I wasn’t and a few days after that event my husband introduced me and our teens to Rainbow’s videos and they were so wonderfully funny and a guaranteed source of laughter (a limited and precious commodity at the time) during that shitshow of a presidency and the pandemic ea I didn’t know who Randy Rainbow was until the former presidency was in effect. Within a few weeks of the election, I was in the hospital with such an awful panic attack that I thought I was having a cardiac issue. Thankfully, I wasn’t and a few days after that event my husband introduced me and our teens to Rainbow’s videos and they were so wonderfully funny and a guaranteed source of laughter (a limited and precious commodity at the time) during that shitshow of a presidency and the pandemic early days. As a result, my entire family and I adore him. I truly do thank him for helping so many of us through the DJT years and the pandemic. Randy Rainbow is a treasure of a human. I really appreciated learning more about Randy’s early life, younger life, and present day. I loved reading his story and hope it becomes an audiobook, with Randy narrating (and it did!) eARC kindly provided by St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley. Opinions shared are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Howard Davis

    Randy Rainbow is certainly a very interesting individual and extremely talented. I enjoy watching his videos and parodies very much. I thought it might be fun to read his autobiography. Playing With Myself, published by St. Martin's Press. I discovered that you can get too much of a good thing. While his short vocals and parodies are fun and clever, the book is very repetitive and was tiresome for this reader. Randy Rainbow is certainly a very interesting individual and extremely talented. I enjoy watching his videos and parodies very much. I thought it might be fun to read his autobiography. Playing With Myself, published by St. Martin's Press. I discovered that you can get too much of a good thing. While his short vocals and parodies are fun and clever, the book is very repetitive and was tiresome for this reader.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Roger Hyttinen

    Memoirs are not my preferred genre, but when I heard that Randy Rainbow was releasing a no-holds-barred story of his life, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, given that I've been a fan of his musical political parodies from the beginning. Like the man himself, this book was so much fun! I enjoyed learning about his childhood, his family, his struggles with depression, his inspiration, his missteps, and his eventual rise to stardom. I was also surprised to learn that Randy Rainbow is his real Memoirs are not my preferred genre, but when I heard that Randy Rainbow was releasing a no-holds-barred story of his life, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, given that I've been a fan of his musical political parodies from the beginning. Like the man himself, this book was so much fun! I enjoyed learning about his childhood, his family, his struggles with depression, his inspiration, his missteps, and his eventual rise to stardom. I was also surprised to learn that Randy Rainbow is his real name - who could have guessed? I swear Randy Rainbow is the only person who can make the story of one's childhood enjoyable and enthralling. And if you're a fan of celebrities, Randy does plenty of name-dropping throughout the pages, and I enjoyed learning about his relationships with various actors, actresses, and musicians. I loved getting a behind-the-scenes look at his process — how he comes up with ideas for and makes his videos. It also becomes clear that his rise to fame was the result of a lifetime of hard work and preparation. Though there is a serious aspect to the book, especially regarding self-image issues and bullying, overall, it's humorous, light-hearted, and fun, peppered with witty asides, enjoyable banter, and jokes. I caught myself laughing out loud so many times as I read about his compelling life. Frequently, I find memoirs to drag in places where I need to slog through them painfully. Not this one. Playing with myself was a hoot from beginning to end! All in all, I found this book utterly delightful, and it gave me a new appreciation for Randy Rainbow. It was a blast getting to know the man behind the pink glasses. If you enjoy his creative video spoofs, you should enjoy this funny yet heartfelt book. It's a refreshing and entertaining read about one of my favorite people. A huge thank you to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing a review copy of this book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ary Chest

    A pleasant surprise. YouTuber books were a thing from 2014-2016. The problem was the ones getting the book deals weren't very good at writing, and none of the books proved to be a lasting brand expansion tool. Hopefully, this marks the return of books by intellectual YouTubers with smaller followings. His legal name is Randy Rainbow and he went through a lot. It hard to know about his father, a borderline conman who bankrupted his family and relied on his inlaws to save them. There's one thing I A pleasant surprise. YouTuber books were a thing from 2014-2016. The problem was the ones getting the book deals weren't very good at writing, and none of the books proved to be a lasting brand expansion tool. Hopefully, this marks the return of books by intellectual YouTubers with smaller followings. His legal name is Randy Rainbow and he went through a lot. It hard to know about his father, a borderline conman who bankrupted his family and relied on his inlaws to save them. There's one thing I found very interesting about Randy. He had been on YouTube for a very long time. Yet his success came a little later. That's an outlier, because early YouTube was DOMINATED by LGBTQ+ creators. Many of them were big enough to get support from YouTube corporate. Here are the ones I knew of. Matthew Lush William Sledd Davey Wavey Tyler Oakley Arielle Scarcella Troye Sivan Jeffree Star (Wasn't investing in the platform, but posted, from time to time.) Hannah Hart Gigi Gorgeous Michael Buckley  Adore Delano (Later a reality star.) Cazwell (Later rapper / nightlife personality.) Daniel Howell Roland West Miles Jai Laci Green (Wasn't exactly part of the LGBTQ+ YouTubers, but some overlap.) Carl Krebs (Never a full YouTuber, but often referenced.) Bria and Chrissy Todrick Hall Riyadh K Jonny McGovern (Pre-YouTube, but same kind of content.) And a bunch of sex workers posting to their channels, collab channels, and endless smaller creators. I wonder why Randy wasn't able to ride their success?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I can honestly say that I loved this book! I am not thinking all Randy fans will, as it isn't all laughs and fun times. This is a look at Randy through the years, so we have young Randy being himself bit being bullied, 20s Randy doing his thing and figuring his life out, Randy losing his beloved cat Mushie (oh yes I cried because I really missed my beloved cat Toey Paws at this point), and the Randy of today. You learn of Randy's love for his mom and grandmother and about a narcissistic father wh I can honestly say that I loved this book! I am not thinking all Randy fans will, as it isn't all laughs and fun times. This is a look at Randy through the years, so we have young Randy being himself bit being bullied, 20s Randy doing his thing and figuring his life out, Randy losing his beloved cat Mushie (oh yes I cried because I really missed my beloved cat Toey Paws at this point), and the Randy of today. You learn of Randy's love for his mom and grandmother and about a narcissistic father who couldn't necessarily love anyone but himself. Randy takes you through the hard times on his way to making it in the world. He explains how things said years ago can bite you in the ass later because they are suddenly inappropriate, even though at the time the words and phrases were acceptable and used by all, even those they referred to. I like how he handled the situation, but I will let everyone read the book to find out how that went. So the biggest surprise of all, Randy Rainbow is his real name. Actually it is Randy Stewart Rainbow. When his grandparents (if memory serves me - library book has been returned) their name was changed to Rainbow by those filling out the form. His story about his family's last name is interesting and hilarious. I do think listening to the Audiobook would have been a good time. I wonder if his mom made an appearance on the Audiobook for the chapter in the book that Randy talked to her and I have a feeling Randy's personality would have shined! I would watch a Randy Rainbow video prior to reading to have his voice fresh in my head for reading. Definitely recommend this to Randy fans, unless you expect a laugh every second. It is a very quick read!

  28. 4 out of 5

    meghann

    I fell in love with Randy Rainbow's YouTube videos a few years ago. They made me laugh in an increasingly stressful time, which I really appreciated. I enjoyed following him on social media, but I didn't really know that much about the man behind the pink glasses. So when I heard about this book, I knew I had to check it out. This was such a great read. I found his career journey to be really interesting, and I laughed so much. There were definitely some hard things he opened up about. Including I fell in love with Randy Rainbow's YouTube videos a few years ago. They made me laugh in an increasingly stressful time, which I really appreciated. I enjoyed following him on social media, but I didn't really know that much about the man behind the pink glasses. So when I heard about this book, I knew I had to check it out. This was such a great read. I found his career journey to be really interesting, and I laughed so much. There were definitely some hard things he opened up about. Including one part that had me sobbing moments before I had to go to an appointment. I found myself cheering for him as he met and befriended his heroes, and I appreciated his thoughts on jokes that don't hold up against the test of time. I'm so glad I read this, and I definitely want to go to one of his shows.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 3.5 stars - I got a big kick out of this memoir. I love Randy Rainbow and it was fun to learn his story. This was a quick, easy read. Lots of name dropping, a little about his process (I would have liked more on that!), and definitely some giggles along the way. I'm not sure if he reads the audible version, but if he does I'm sure that would be a hoot. Nothing too serious or depressing but he does touch on his twitter "scandal" and how that impacte Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC of this book. 3.5 stars - I got a big kick out of this memoir. I love Randy Rainbow and it was fun to learn his story. This was a quick, easy read. Lots of name dropping, a little about his process (I would have liked more on that!), and definitely some giggles along the way. I'm not sure if he reads the audible version, but if he does I'm sure that would be a hoot. Nothing too serious or depressing but he does touch on his twitter "scandal" and how that impacted him. I didn't give this more stars because sometimes the one liners got a little tiresome, and I'm not sure he is everyone's cup of tea. If you are a fan of his though I definitely recommend this.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy (amy_alwaysreading)

    (4.5⭐️) Playing With Myself is a wickedly funny memoir that will leave you inspired and hopeful. Laughter is the best medicine, and Randy Rainbow has been my (much needed) supplier since the early days of the 45 presidency. What’s not to love: Broadway tunes, eccentric costumes, and a proper roasting of the most outlandish things happening in the world? Count me in. Rainbow, yes that is his real name, is fairly new to the big time. But his talent was recognizable early on and nurtured heartily b (4.5⭐️) Playing With Myself is a wickedly funny memoir that will leave you inspired and hopeful. Laughter is the best medicine, and Randy Rainbow has been my (much needed) supplier since the early days of the 45 presidency. What’s not to love: Broadway tunes, eccentric costumes, and a proper roasting of the most outlandish things happening in the world? Count me in. Rainbow, yes that is his real name, is fairly new to the big time. But his talent was recognizable early on and nurtured heartily by both his mom and nanny (grandmother). From a chubby gay kid to a man with chiseled cheek bones with sellout crowds, Rainbow gives us an inside look that took me from verklempt to laugh out loud entertained. And OH the name dropping. Seriously. So many names. Carol Burnett, Stephen Sondheim, Patti Lupone, Bernedette Peters, Josh Gad… has he no shame?!!! Nope. And I’m glad he didn’t. It was totally appropriate and fully fun. (Also, if I was friends with all of those people, I would *totally* name drop too.) Be forewarned… this is a short, easy read. But you’ll absolutely get sucked down the Google/YouTube rabbit hole, rewatching old parodies and looking up all the “flying monkeys” he mentions. Plan to read this one when you have plenty of time and data. It’s a full experience. Go grab your copy. I read the physical book, but I love when the audiobook is narrated by the author. I can see that version being the total package. Many thanks to @randyrainbow and @stmartinspress for the #gifted book and glasses.

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