Comedian Rachel Bloom talks Iowa, Seth Green and transcendental meditation

Rachel Bloom

The Englert Theatre — Saturday, Mar. 5 at 8:30 p.m.

Rachel Bloom Green Gravel
Rachel Bloom performs Saturday, Mar. 5 at the Englert. Photo courtesy of Green Gravel Comedy Festival

As part of the Green Gravel Comedy Festival, Rachel Bloom, Eric Dadourian and Megan Gogerty, with host Dan Gill, perform live at the Englert Theatre on Saturday, Mar. 5. Tickets are $12–17 for this event; festival passes and a full line-up listing are available on the Green Gravel website. Little Village is a festival sponsor.

Bloom, a Golden Globe and Critics Choice winning actor, writer and executive producer, took some time out with Little Village to discuss her upcoming performance, her TV career and how she just might spend her time here in Iowa City, Iowa. Below are some excerpts from that conversation.

Little Village: Many readers will know you primarily from your acting work — congratulations on your recent award from the Hollywood Foreign Press — but what can they expect from the live show you’ll be putting on here in Iowa City? Will it be geared as a stand-up set, or will it be more of “A Night with Rachel Bloom?”

Rachel Bloom: It’s going to be kind of stand-up sets leading into songs. The songs will be a mix of songs I do on my own and then songs from the show. And I’m going to try to work in stand-up bits and stories around the songs. But it’s going to be, I would say, 70% music.

Do you feel like giving an idea of the songs, or will it be a surprise? Is there a specific genre for the night? Will it be all original stuff?

Yeah so it’s my songs, so I did songs before I did the show. So it’s my originals, and you know my show is a musical television show, and I wrote a lot of those songs, so it’s going to be mostly that. It going to be a mix of old songs and stuff I’ve been working on for the last year and a half.

I recently heard you express a strong opinion about about Rick Moranis.


It was on the podcast How Did This Get Made.

Yeah, yeah, yeah!

Have there been any developments on getting him onto Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?

Well right now we are waiting to hear if we have a second season. There has been no casting yet, but he’s great! If there was a part? Our show takes place in Southern California, which is not automatically the demographic of Rick Moranis. But I’m a massive fan, and should there ever be a part on the show that comes up for Rick Moranis, we will try to Moranis the shit out of it!

Yeah, but you are going to “Streets of Fire” him and make him the toughest Moranis you can right?

Yeah, exactly! (laughter)

Thank you for that, I was not sure how you were going to respond to a Rick Moranis question, so now we know.

Oh yeah, no no no, if we were casting right now it would be on my mind. I’m waiting to hear if they are going to give us more episodes and then I’ll get on that Moranis idea.

Fantastic! And speaking of fantastic, have you ever been to Iowa before?

I have never been to Iowa, all I know about it is from The Music Man.

So then you aren’t aware of the transcendental-meditation center located in Fairfield, Iowa?

Oh I had forgotten about that!

I had heard you have actually done some TM and committed to meditation for a time.

I have! Which is something I never thought I’d say about myself; I had never thought I’d be one of those people. So that’s where the institute and the High School are right?

Yeah, you’re going to be just over an hour away from there when you are here in Iowa City. It might not be a bad idea to check it out. Either way you should really meditate while you are here, you’re going to love it.

Oh fascinating! You know I wouldn’t associate Iowa with meditation, but clearly I’m wrong.

Well that’s ’cause there’s nothing else to do. (laughter) No, I’m kidding — Iowa has a lot to offer. Aside from going to the Festival and being a part of it, have you given any thought to what else you might want to do when you are here?

God you know you’re bringing something up I, okay we just wrapped production two days ago and I have not had time to think about it. Well what do you recommend?

Personally I think you should just get outside when you are here. Sure there aren’t any mountains but it’s got rolling hills. Just enjoy being outside while you are here.

Oh that’s good to know, I enjoy going on a nice walk outside. Ok — that sounds great and it sounds like meditation and then — so I’m going to meditate in a field. (laughter)

You should totally meditate in a field.

Perfect, done!

So earlier you mentioned you write the songs, but also write dialogue, you produce the majority of the stuff you are known for and you are the actor. Which one do you like best? Which one can you see yourself doing 5 or 10 years from now? Do you want to keep doing them all, do want to keep spinning that many plates? Is that just kind of what you are doing? I’m genuinely curious.

Oh wow, yeah I think that this job is so my dream because the idea of performing my own work that I’ve written is what I love doing the most. That idea of seeing a vision through from complete beginning to complete end. Also being an actor you are working with something someone else has written, someone else’s words or vision. And there is something really cool about feeling completely comfortable on a set, because whatever I am saying, I have complete control of [it] — that I’m not just a vessel for someone’s words. So, I’ve been really spoiled by this show because performing my own writing is just so gratifying to me.

I was curious if that was the case, and that kind of brings me to my next question: For a good chunk of your career, like you were saying, you’ve been able to write for yourself, to deliver on your own vision, as the lead actor, or in the capacity of executive producer. But it wasn’t always like that — go back a few years, and you wrote for Robot Chicken, and voice over work. But specifically that writing for Robot Chicken — what was that process like? Was it interesting for you to write and let go of things?

Yeah — I wrote — when I was doing music videos, that was something I was kind of doing on the side. I was a working and auditioning actor and a working TV writer for a couple of years. And so most of my professional writing work was writing for other people. I love writing, it’s wonderful, especially when you are writing for a person as talented as Seth Green, who does most of the voice work on that show. I absolutely love writing, and creating. I’m coming up with TV shows and movie ideas that I wouldn’t necessarily even be in. The idea of writing for other people is really wonderful; on an acting side I’m just much more excited about interpreting my own work.

So I really only have one more round of questions — I’d like to do a rapid-fire thing; are you willing to do that?

Sure! Totally! But I want to apologize because I drank alcohol last night and my acid-reflux got the better of me, so I’m very hoarse right now. I’m not usually this hoarse.

Well to bad because now I have you permanently recorded so ha ha ha! (laughter) I’m not judging you; let’s blame it on my phone. (laughter) Ok — so this is rapid-fire, Sophie’s choice. There is no right or wrong answer, just go with your gut.

Okay, great, I’m excited!

Favorite Beatle?

Oh! Um, Paul!

Bradbury or Vonnegut?

Oh I have to say Bradbury don’t I?

Well, maybe. Both were affiliated with the writer’s workshop here at the University of Iowa.

No way really? Oh wow — I’m also a huge Vonnegut fan so that’s awesome.

Seth Green or Brecken Meyer?

(extended laughter) Well Seth was my boss, so I’m going to say Seth just in case I need to beg him for a job again. (laughter)

Android or iPhone?

Umm — iPhone–I guess? (laughs) No! No, you know what? Android even though I have an iPhone.

Heh — hey OK — you know there is no wrong answer. POTUS or SCOTUS?

Oh — umm — SCOTUS!

And the last question? Iowa, great state? Or Greatest state? There is only two options on that.

Ahhh — I’m going to say great state.

Well you have not been here yet.

Exactly! Maybe I’ll say greatest once I’m gone.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers about the show Mar. 5th?

So I do all kinds of genres so it’s going to be pop and rock — and it’ll be dirty! I won’t be censoring so be prepared for some bad words. But it’ll still be a night of music and love. And there are going to be local comics, which is really cool. I love doing comedy in place I haven’t been so I can see what the jokes are like and what people are talking about. It’s a really great way to get a crash-course in the culture of a state or city.

So if anyone wants to show me around Iowa, I’m here and I’m ready to be shown. So don’t be shy!

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