The Mean Gays, Aaron Goldenberg, left, and Jake Jonez, right. Source: Screenshot via TikTok/@aarongoldyboy

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

Emell Adolphus READ TIME: 8 MIN.

Everyone has a story about a group of "mean gays" in their town - which is why everyone loves (and loves to hate) Aaron Goldenberg and Jake Jonez as the "Mean Gays" in their on-the-nose social media skits. After only a couple of months creating content together, the duo blew up on social media when a video titled "Mean Gays Invite You Over For Some Fun" went viral.

In the skit, Aaron and Jake, as the "Mean Gays," invite a third over for a late-night hang, but they are less than impressed by the person's appearance. Backhanded bitchy-ness ensues as the Mean Gays proceed to make their guest super uncomfortable before finally hustling them out the door.

"You captured this scenario perfectly. 😂 The eye roll at the door would have even enough for me. 😂," wrote one of many social media commentators who agreed that the scenario is funny but also all-too common in the gay community.

"I think it's got something like 35M views across platforms?" Aaron told EDGE. "One of my favorite things is when a total stranger will just come up to me and say, 'You look dehydrated,'" which is the same line he uses in the skit.

(Follow Aaron on TikTok here and Jake here.)

Jake added, "But the (skit) I hear comments on the most is actually the 'Mean Gays Go to Your Funeral.'"

The point being, Aaron and Jake are onto something with the Mean Gays, and their social media skits have been helping many gay men laugh, cry and healthily process the trauma of being rejected by unattainable beauty standards and unapproachable gays. Whether they are showing up to your funeral, sarcastically cheering you on at the gym or just being mean, Aaron and Jake have found a sweet spot in gay culture that calls out toxicity. And now that they have everyone's attention, we talked to them about fame, being mean, and where the Mean Gays will take them next.

EDGE: No matter the country or state, everyone seems to know some "Mean Gays." Who are your Mean Gays and how did they make you feel horrible about yourself?

Aaron: First of all, I love that we're starting off with "what's your trauma?" My kind of first date.

I think deep down we all want to be accepted. So when there are people who seem to go out of their way to let you know you're not "in" with the group, it hurts a bit more. Whether it's an in-person rejection, or just seeing on IG that a group of friends had fun without you – that blows.

I guess I've blocked out the most "horrible" experiences. But... during Covid, I had gained a bit of weight, but I was still working out and feeling good about myself. One day, this GORGEOUS buff gay tells me, "I love how confident you are... usually guys that look like you are really insecure." I honestly think in his adorable dumb jock brain, he meant it as a compliment? But it stuck with me for a while.

Jake: I think a great part of this series is that Aaron and I draw so much inspiration from real life loaded passive aggressive speech. As a sober dude, I have definitely felt the harsh speech about not including myself in drug/alcohol use. I also think I hear tons of loaded speech around sexual positioning, sexual experience, and preferences.

EDGE: Why does it seem like when gay men are mean, they are often mean in the same way? What is it about gay culture that produces the same type of assholes?

Jake: What a good question. I think passive aggression can look so similar all throughout. Part of me thinks gays take influence from a lot of the same media that has the "mean people"... whether that's "Real House Wives," "Mean Girls"... I think many gays adore similar media that dispells similar mean speech.

Aaron: Growing up a (shockingly) flamboyant kid, I know that I was the target of a lot of teasing, and people would laugh at my expense. Once I learned how to craft an insult with a punchline in my teens, I unfortunately took that out on several people who didn't deserve it. Thankfully, I had empathy and hated how it made them/myself feel. I guess some people never grow out of that phase; but I know it comes from a very insecure and hurt place.

by Emell Adolphus

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