EDGE Interview: The 'Mean Gays' are the Hot Friends You'll Never Have

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 8 MIN.

@aarongoldyboy ✨psychological warfare✨
♬ original sound - Aaron Goldenberg

EDGE: Settle this for us once and for all: Is it okay to describe the physical attributes you're "just not into" on your Grindr profile?

Jake: I think that is an unneeded step. I think it's more than okay to address what it is you are looking for... but to go listing what you don't like just perpetuates the idea of those preferences not being lusted or sought after.

Aaron: I think we all have preferences, but to go out of your way to exclude people right off the jump is unnecessary. I usually don't engage with profiles that have stuff like "no fats/fems" etc, because those aren't the types of people I wanna spend my time with. People reject me all the time on the apps, usually in the form of silence, or getting blocked. I just try to move on and not take it personally.

EDGE: Acting and performing is known to be one of the meanest, most judgmental professions to work in. What attracted you two to performing?

Jake: I think I gravitate to the true escapism of performing. For me, it puts me back in touch with the young Jake Jonez who was free without any inhibitions.

Aaron: Thankfully, the majority of people I've worked with have been lovely, professional, and "happy to be there." I love working in a profession where I'm constantly inspired by my coworkers and their art; where I (occasionally) get to be a part of something really special; and where I feel there's always room for growth.

EDGE: And you had only just met each other a few months before the "Mean Gays" blew up, right?

Jake: I had been making content for around a year on Youtube/Instagram/TikTok and Aaron DM'd after seeing that we lived in the same city.

Aaron: I think people assume Jake and I have been friends for a while, and honestly it felt that way when we met back in July. People had sent me his stuff, just like, "this dude is funny!" Then during one video I saw that his shirt said "Atlanta," and I was thrilled to learn that we lived in the same city! I shot him a DM, and I think we met for dinner the next night, and filmed like 3 videos that evening! We clicked right away. The first Mean Gays video we released was maybe the 6th video we shot together. And neither of us expected it to be an ongoing or popular thing.

EDGE: What opportunities has your viral Mean Gays skits opened up for the both of you?

Jake: Very fortunate to say it's helped build my audience, that has led to more attention from many different avenues to hopefully open more doors as time goes on.

Aaron: It feels too early to get into any details, but several things are in the works that we're very excited about! Aside from that, it's been wonderful to connect with various actors and creators whose work I've followed and admired for years. Like "Oh, shit! You know who I am and wanna work together on something? YES!"

EDGE: As performers, how would you say social media has changed the game in terms of showcasing your talent and grabbing the public's attention? What are your ultimate goals for producing the skits? Your own show? A Mean Gays movie?

Jake: Social Media has allowed the stage for more people to be heard that may have never made it past the many levels of walls that it takes to enter the industry. For me, it's given a name and brand to Jake Jonez without being on any scripted or televised series or film. It's acted as a living portfolio of all my talents from writing, acting, directing, dancing, even to being an internet personality.

Aaron: I am truly so grateful that it's enabled me to share my content with millions of people and connect with them through humor. I think the short term goal is to continue having fun writing and telling stories. Although we're mostly known for the Mean Gays, I know we've individually put out some funny shit over the years.

During that first dinner date that Jake and I had, we expressed very similar goals of being able to write, produce, and star in our own show down the line. I would love to take these characters further, into some other medium of storytelling. A "Mean Gays" movie? TV series? Look, if someone's got the money and wants to produce, give them my email.

EDGE: Finally, in what ways do you think playing mean has helped you be more nice? How do you recommend others deal and respond to the mean gays and their lives?

Jake: I definitely think being a part of the writing process has allowed me to spot passive aggressive speech and how best to be direct and negate it from conversation. I think the pain of these comments hides in the implications... if you evolve it to direct speech and speak with more truth (it does not remove it being hurtful, it just allows it to be more truthful)... and from there you can address it more head on.

Aaron: Honestly, I would say to ignore those mean folks. Remove people from your life that don't build you up. They've clearly got their own insecurities and shit to deal with.

by Emell Adolphus

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