Making a Whimsical Data Visualization

Kristin Henry
5 min readJul 17, 2018
Data Visualization of Randy Rainbow Videos

A few months ago, I saw Randy Rainbow’s live comedy show, in which he incorporates some of his song parody videos. It was wonderful to laugh so much, and with a whole theater full of people. I left feeling a little lighter, and curious about how such a great show came to be. I was curious about how Randy Rainbow developed his video style.

He couldn’t have just appeared out of the blue. How did his style and technique evolve over time? How many of his videos could I find?

A quick search brought up several of his most recent, and most popular. To find more, I explored the ‘up next’ list. But to find older videos, I had to dig a little to find around 100 videos by Randy Rainbow on YouTube. To keep track of all the videos, I created a simple spreadsheet, and when I found a video I’d add the video’s link to it.

Starting out, my data set was just a list of links. Once I had a list of videos and their links, I collected some additional information: video length, views, transcripts, publish date, and so on.

Simple spreadsheet, for recording and updating data on each video.

For my initial visualizations, I started out looking at how popular each video was, and I used the video ‘views’ as a metric for this. In 2016, the frequency of his video releases increased. I’m quite fond of bee-swarm plots, and it made sense to use one with such clumped data.

First iterations, showing how popularity of videos started to grow in late 2015 and 2016.

This was when I noticed that most of his recent and popular videos were song parodies, and that these really started to take off in late 2015 and early 2016. Maybe I could draw that out in the visualization.

Then I found his press-kit, with these fun images. The colors were perfect! It gave me the idea of color coding which videos were song parodies and which had different formats.

Kristin Henry

Generative and Data Artist. Creative Coder. Data Visualization Consultant. Founder of GalaxyGoo. Admin on