“How many Jews are in the audience tonight?” Rachel Bloom asked Radio City Music Hall at the start of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Live show on May 14 in New York City. The audience — myself included, obviously — responded with loud cheers. She then joked about how we would form a “nosh pit” instead of a “mosh pit.”
So began a night that was everything a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fan could hope for: Jewish, unabashedly enthusiastic, and confirming Rachel Bloom as a bonafide star. When the series ended last month, I wrote about how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gave us the nuanced Jewish heroine we needed. And now, the live show gives us real-life Jewish heroine Rachel Bloom in all her glory.
Of course, it wasn’t a one-woman show. The CXG cast — Donna Lynne Champlin, Vincent Rodriguez III, Pete Gardner, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Ruiz, Scott Michael Foster, David Hull, Skylar Astin, and more — were there to celebrate the magic of the show, alongside Bloom’s songwriting partners, Adam Schlesinger and Jack Dolgen. (Schlesinger and Dolgen performed “The Miracle of Birth,” which is clearly not meant to be performed by men, making it all the more hilarious.)
They performed a wide range of the show’s 157 songs, including favorites such as “You Stupid Bitch,” which Rachel said was meant to be performed at Radio City, “Let’s Generalize About Men,” “Face Your Fears,” “I Go to the Zoo,” “The Math of Love Triangles,” and “Gettin’ Bi” (the bisexual anthem with bisexual lighting, natch). Each actor got their moment — even the ones with smaller roles, like Burl Moseley’s jam “Don’t Be a Lawyer” (featuring the pitch perfect line, “There are so many other professions that don’t turn you into Jeff Sessions!”) or Danny Jolles’ song “George’s Turn” (re-done as “Danny’s Turn”).
There was also an amazing mash-up of all the show’s sexy songs (“Sexy Getting Ready Song,” “Period Sex,” “Let’s Have Intercourse,” “Strip Away My Conscience,” “We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now,” and more), replete with ample humping on stage, which was a version of this medley in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend concert that aired after the finale:
And, of course, there was a JAP Battle. Even though it’s a “goyische cast,” Rachel Bloom told Radio City, there are “a lot of Jews on the writing and creative side.” She then brought out co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna, who performed Audra Levine’s role in the rap. It was magnificent. In an interview, Aline explained, “Rachel has trained me to do ‘JAP’ Battle. She is my stage mother. It’s just so fun and so silly and so great.”
It’s worth noting that during the show, there were not one, but two proposals on stage by fans. (FWIW, public proposals are my worst nightmare.) Rachel obviously wished both couples “mazel!” and gave them hugs. (Remember when two Nice Jewish Boys got engaged at Radio City at a Troye Sivan concert?)
Thank you, New York. As always, the #CrazyExGirlfriend fans are the sweetest people on the planet. And congratulations to the TWO couples who got engaged onstage tonight!
— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) May 15, 2019
Indeed, love was in the air. At one point, Rachel encouraged all the single people in the audience to stand up and look around — later, she promised if anyone meets somebody at the show and winds up getting married, she would officiate the wedding (“Just show me the ticket stubs!”).
But the best part of the night, truly, was the banter between songs, watching the cast have the time of their lives performing on the freakin’ Radio City Music Hall Stage, and, well, Rachel Bloom just being the best.
“We were the lowest-rated show that’s ever been on network television,” Bloom said toward the beginning, thanking CW President Mark Pedowitz, who was in the audience, for keeping it on the air anyway. “You let us tell our story.” She also thanked her fan base for being so vulnerable, and letting the show be vulnerable, too. Three cheers for mutual vulnerability.
The show ended with Rachel performing “Heavy Boobs” — the catchiest song you will ever hear about gigantic boobs — at first wearing only her bra, and then going actually topless. (Her in-laws were in the audience; she had an assistant bring out blindfolds for them before the act.) To prove the point that heavy boobs can carry a number of household goods (“a stapler, 10 pencils, paperback copy of Arabian Nights, dog bowl, remote control, hardback copy of Wuthering Heights“) she actually brought out all those items on stage and shoved them under her boobs successfully. What can this woman not do?!
As writer Julia Reinstein tweeted, “I’m gonna miss [Crazy Ex-Girlfriend] so much, the greatest media representation neurotic Jewish girls with big boobs and too many crushes have ever had.” Amen.
In a pre-show interview with Theatermania, Rachel said, “I’ve been so focused on planning the show and deciding on the set list and writing new stand-up bits that I didn’t have time to bask in the coolness. The work takes most of my mental energy. But the other day, we went to Radio City and I saw in person Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and then my name on the marquee, and that… I took five minutes to appreciate it. It’s amazing. I just feel really fortunate.”
And we are so fortunate for Rachel Bloom.
Header image of Rachel via Radio City Music Hall on Instagram.