The Untold Truth Of Rudy Mancuso

The name Rudy Mancuso might not mean much to you if you don't spend a lot time on social media. But you've probably seen this popular Internet personality before. Getting his start on the now sadly defunct Vine — the beloved six-second looping video app was shut down in early 2017 — the multi-talent amassed an impressive 10.54 million followers. Since then, he's become best known for his comedy sketches and musical output on YouTube. However, readers might also recognize Mancuso from his appearances on Comedy Central's Drunk History and HBO's docuseries OutPost.

Basically, this guy does it all. As an actor, writer, director, and musician, the ever-ambitious Mancuso has already established himself as a leading social media star, and he's now taking on Hollywood and the music biz. So, before he conquers yet another realm of the entertainment industry, what exactly do you need to know about the real life of Rudy Mancuso? These facts might just surprise you.

Music was his first love

Both a Vine star and popular YouTuber, Mancuso first became Internet famous for his unique style of comedy. The Brazilian-Italian American's well-written satire and musical comedy often pulls from his own ethnic background to mock societal stereotypes with characters like Hispanic Superman. However, his first love was actually music — not comedy.

"Music has always been my first and foremost passion," Mancuso told DA MAN Magazine in 2017. "My mother told me I walked over to a piano when I was five years old and just started playing. The idea of understanding and composing music was always very natural for me. I taught myself piano, then drums, then guitar." As is evident in his prolific output, the accomplished comedian, multi-instrumentalist, and singer-songwriter strives to find "unique ways to bridge the gap between music and comedy" as a means of storytelling.

These efforts came together in October 2017, when Mancuso teamed up with producer Poo Bear for his first single "Black & White." As he told Billboard, "Before I knew it, I was combining all those things. I started on my phone, then went to YouTube, then to TV and traditional media, and then to the stage."

He's got friends in high places

One of Mancuso's most famous friends is none other than pop star Justin Bieber — who, of course, also got his start on YouTube way back in 2008. The two quickly bonded after meeting through a mutual pal. "We just became good friends," Mancuso told People in 2017. "And kind of organically, our brains meshed because we're both creative, and I was fond of his skill and he of mine, and we just almost accidentally created this friendship and partnership."

This partnership has taken the form of multiple collaborations. While Mancuso opened for Bieber during the Brazilian leg of his Purpose World Tour, the Biebs has appeared in a number of Mancuso's YouTube videos, including their viral 2016 jam session and a sketch called "Racist Superman" in 2018.

"My friendship with Justin, I've treated it as any other close friendship I have," Mancuso told People, adding, "And it's only because pretty much after the first time we hung out ... he wasn't anything more than 'that cool kid Justin with a good heart.' ... He's just a good, talented friend."

Sorry, he's taken

Not unlike a number of other celebs, Rudy Mancuso tends to keep parts of his personal life out of the spotlight. He and Maia Mitchell, an Australian singer-songwriter and actress best known for her work on The Fosters, have been dating since 2015. While the cute pair are known for their musical and comedic collaborations on YouTube, you'd be hard-pressed to find them talking about one another with the press — unless it has to do with their work, that is.

"We talk about [collaborating again] a lot actually," Mancuso told J-14 in 2017 (via Just Jared, Jr.). "There's actually not a lot we've done together because we're really not comfortable releasing something unless it's really true [to us]."

That said, the longtime couple often share their love for one another on social media. Our fave romantic moments include their gorgeous cover of "If You Want Me" from Once, this sweet snapshot of Mancuso kissing his girlfriend on the cheek, and their video short "Love," which basically proves these two are meant to be. Can you even handle how cute they are together?

He was accused of plagiarism

Rudy Mancuso's transition into the music industry wasn't without its fair share of controversy. In December 2017, he and girlfriend Maia Mitchell faced serious allegations over their single "Sirens." As Mancuso told Billboard at the time, "We've had the concept for 'Sirens' in our heads for some time now, but wanted to make sure it was executed properly. Maia and I worked very hard on both the song and video, and it's our first time collaborating in this way." 

The publication itself referred to the tune as an "interpolation" of Eisley's 2011 song "Ambulance." However, the duo apparently failed to credit the Texan rock band for the original song and were immediately accused of plagiarism. According to Alt Press, Mancuso quickly added a disclaimer on YouTube to give Eisley credit, and the band's own Sherri DuPree chalked the whole thing up to a misunderstanding, saying that they'd actually given the couple permission to use their track. However, the damage was already done, and the music video was taken down from YouTube.

Thankfully, the mix-up did little to damage Mancuso's reputation. The following year, he released multiple successful singles, including "Mama," "Lento," and his second musical collaboration with Mitchell, "Magic."

He's pushing boundaries

One of Mancuso's main creative goals is to push boundaries, educate audiences, and address various social, racial, and political issues through his art.

"I'm covering racy topics and I'm playing with race and social stereotypes, and there are always sensibilities with those topics," he told Billboard, in reference to his "Crossing the Border" video, a thought-provoking satirical take on immigration along the United States-Mexico border. Noting that the United States' divisive sociopolitical climate had influenced this direction, Mancuso said, "When it comes to comedy, and music as well, if I'm not pushing some kind of limit, it's not a success." He added, "My responsibility as an educator is to create art out of everything, and some of those things are sad, some are true. ... I made sure to criticize everyone and satirize everything."

As Mancuso explained to DA MAN Magazine, "As someone with a very diverse background, I have a lot of inspiration when it comes to the subject of race and multi-ethnic characters. In my other works, though, I use music as a tool to tell stories."

His how-to YouTube guide

Calling all Internet star hopefuls! For any newbie YouTubers keeping their fingers crossed that their next vlog goes viral, Mancuso's got some great tips on how to get started. According to the social media mogul, finding a concept you love, feel confident about, and that's outside the box is key. "If you don't love it, there's absolutely no inspiration behind creating something," he told Billboard in 2018, adding, "If you believe in your idea, let everybody know that you believe in the idea."

However, the main thing is to simply just create. "Make something," the popular YouTuber told DA MAN Magazine. "Whether it be using the phone in your pocket, a musical instrument in your band class or your mother's antique film camera, make something without thought or premeditation. It's the only way you'll figure out what you're great at." In addition to making an idea your own and staying true to yourself, Mancuso said, "The nature of the internet changes daily. The wheel's constantly being reinvented. It's a blessing and a curse. Take advantage of it."

He unplugs from social media

Various Internet platforms have undeniably played a major role in Mancuso's rise to fame. As the improvisatory performance artist told People in 2017, "Social media has been more than instrumental for me and my career because it's really the only and best way for someone like me who is constantly creating and constantly has ideas to get those ideas out very quickly and to a large amount of people almost instantly."

However, one of the main ways Mancuso unwinds from his work is to unplug from social media. "When I'm not creating, I try to stay as far away from this stuff as possible," he told the magazine. "I love spending time with the people I love and unwind." He added, "I try my best to enjoy authentic moments." 

Putting his phone down helps Mancuso remain present while hanging out with family and friends during in his downtime, which, as he told DA MAN Magazine, is often spent pursuing his biggest passions — "traveling, drinking wine, running, and watching movies."

Is he channeling Charlie Chaplin?

As a jack of all trades, Rudy Mancuso's heaviest influences range from his mother to Hollywood icon Charlie Chaplin. "I can't think of a better example of a single person who is able to encompass so many different forms of art, from acting, writing, directing, composing the music," Mancuso said of the latter while speaking with Billboard for an article published in May 2017. "He's truly a one-man show." 

It's this idea that the Internet star has carried over into his own work. So, move over, Robert Downey Jr. Still, as Mancuso explained to DA MAN Magazine in August 2017, "I've always been obsessed with the idea of one person doing various things at once. I've applied this concept to making videos — by writing, directing, editing, and playing multiple characters myself." By "creating a one-man band act," Mancuso said he hopes to apply this idea "to music and live performances."

He's keeping his eyes on Hollywood

Rudy Mancuso has spent the mid-2010s establishing himself as a bona fide Internet star. However, at the time of this writing, he'll next be taking on other digital platforms in an effort to further branch out into Hollywood. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the multi-talent has an as-of-yet-untitled musical comedy series in the works for YouTube Red. As he told The Knockturnal in 2017, "It's going to be special. ... I'm attempting to make something that's never been done before." Meanwhile, in 2018, the actor was cast in Netflix's upcoming sci-fi adventure flick, Rim of the World.

While revealing to DA MAN Magazine that a full-length album is also "in the works," Mancuso said that he hopes to pursue television, film, theater, photography, and more. The multi-hyphenate added, "I have a solid understanding of what works on the internet, but I'd like to achieve that understanding in all fields. There are those who are good at one thing and those who are good at many. I want to be great at everything."

With Mancuso's undeniable talents, drive, and clear artistic vision, we can't wait to see what he does next.