To Post or Not To Post? (with Rachel Bloom)
When Rachel Bloom was making a name for herself in comedy, she shared her life openly online. Then she became a mom and realized she wanted her daughter to decide for herself how online she would be. Sam asks Rachel how she balances her instinct to overshare with her desire to keep her child’s life out of the public eye, how she came to combine her love for sketch comedy with her background in musical theater, and what she means when she tells Sam she fears creative atrophy.
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Samantha Bee, Rachel Bloom
Samantha Bee 00:00
Misinformation is so hugely dangerous, I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many agents of chaos who want to confuse us, deceive us and just wreak havoc for seemingly no purpose other than just to perpetuate a system of anarchy, where we become so unsure of what’s real. We don’t know if we can believe what we are seeing with our own eyes. Actually, I think that is the actual purpose. It is exhausting. It is again, it is so dangerous. And I have some serious choice words for the way that the internet aids the dissemination of disinformation, kids, students, adults, journalists, politicians, and yes, even podcast hosts, everyone now more than ever needs effective internet literacy. We got so used to relying on the internet as our main source of news that it has become so difficult. So so difficult to understand that not everything online is real. You would think that we would have understood that after the 100th pop up ad we got for a special t that somehow both cleans out your colon and also makes your toenails shiny. That cannot be real. Wait. Maybe I’m the only one getting that ad? I don’t know. Look, the internet is one of our most vital, very important tool but it is fair to say that we are we are losing the thread people. There is absolutely no shame in admitting that we need to get reacquainted with it. We need a refresher on how to use this powerful tool, this increasingly powerful tool at the very least journalists and everyday people need to know how to decipher what they see on it. journalists need to learn how to differentiate between real photos, fake photos, authentic videos, deep fakes and the news consumer needs to understand that just because a news organization puts something out, or they see it on whatever Twitter is called when this episode is released, it doesn’t mean it’s real. Always verify verification is critical. We need to be able to safely trust the internet. We can’t just Ask Jeeves every time we have a question, that guy doesn’t work here anymore.
Samantha Bee 02:41
This is Choice Words. I’m Samantha Bee. My guest today is as thoughtful as she is funny and talented. And that is a lot. I adore Rachel bloom, we talked about the need for better internet literacy and how to live our best lives online. You know, and love her musical comedy and she has a new live show death. Let me do my show that you can see in New York this winter. And you really should. And if you need to see something live before then you can find out if I’m coming to a city near you on SamanthaBee.com With my live show your favorite woman. In the meantime, take a listen and make good choices. Thank you for being on this podcast, I want to talk about the subject of choice because that is kind of like our that’s our gateway into this podcast. And so I want to know from you, I’m gonna talk about the big choices that you’ve made the little choices, things that have made a difference in your life. But what is your Are you good at making choices? Like are you good at big decisions? Are you Is that something you embrace? Or how what is your approach?
Rachel Bloom 04:00
I think some of the things that maybe other people might consider choices are more no brainers for me. And that’s more just kerreri stuff or even marrying my husband that wasn’t that was just such a no brainer, right? There was no, right. We’ve been together for so long and and I love him and he’s the guy and that was a no brainer. I agonize over. When I do have a choice. I agonize over them and some of them are so stupid that it doesn’t even bear repeating. You know, it’s like stuff with career that only makes sense. If you know, it’s just right showbusiness stuff no one cares about. I think big when I think about what are the big choices in this that I’ve made? I think it’s where it’s in my personal life. I think it’s maintaining or Relationships, maintaining friendships, which is hard and always been hard for me. Or like, just not hard for me as much as like a an insecurity I have. And then were to separate personal from public, which has really been apparent ever since I’ve had a kid.
Samantha Bee 05:19
Really? Can you talk about that? Because that is you do kind of have to decide, do you have to make decisions like micro decisions when you have kids about what to share? What not.
Rachel Bloom 05:33
It’s just a whole new. It’s a whole new a whole new world if you will. I didn’t grow up in this industry at all. And I remember as a kid, I would Google myself, we got a computer when I was in third grade. And we got the internet when I was in maybe fourth grade. And I would used to do all my homework assignments on an electric typewriter.
Samantha Bee 05:58
Oh, I know we had those. My grandmother was a secretary with the dough was mine.
Rachel Bloom 06:02
So my grandma was a stripper and she taught me to type she went to secretarial school. So she taught me how to type on an actual typewriter. She covered the keys, no, yes, with masking tape and had a diagram on the wall. And it’s how I’m still a really fast typer because that’s how I learned to type. I was one of the last people in my class to have a computer and to have internet, because we just I don’t know. So I would do a lot of homework on my electric typewriter. And then my mom would proofread it. My mom’s a really good speller. And then if I made a mistake, I would have to take the whole thing over. So with all that to say, I remember I would Google myself, just to see if I came up on the internet at all. And there were only things that came up it was there’s a woman named Rachel bloom Baglan, who was a rep for AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals. And then Gloria […], her actual name is Gloria Rachel Bloom.
Samantha Bee 07:00
Well, that’s an interesting Google Search isn’t for you to land on.
Rachel Bloom 07:05
So I was used to just not you know, not having a mark on the internet as as a kid. And I think that now that I have a kid and I’m somewhat in the public eye, I think it’s especially in the past couple years, the internet has gone because I, I started my comedy really on the internet. I mean, I was doing live comedy, but I broke through on the internet, right? And I, when my first video came out, I had to deal with, you know, don’t read the comments or whatever. But the internet definitely felt like a safer, kinder place. And now it does not feel that way. And I’ve my husband and I he’s he’s also he’s a writer and director. We’ve also had we’ve had we’ve had to make decisions of what do we want for her now? But also what do we once you let something out of the box, you can’t put it back in the box. So we’re erring on the side of being very, very conservative. I just read this New York Times article about AI with eyes. And how because we have a global entry and you know, Global Entry just scans your eyes. Yeah. Now if you put someone’s eyes into the internet, AI can search all over the internet for other images of those eyes. So I have taken down every picture that I can have my daughter’s eyes. It’s just I don’t know I in look, I’m not like super famous. It’s not like anyone’s like gunning for my kid. But I just I want internet presence to be her decision. Because it’s a huge decision. It’s not even like it was 10 years ago, it has become a a hostile, tricky, forever place. And what feels counterintuitive is I’m so used to being so explosive with my personal life and sharing everything. It’s kind of the way I am as an artist, it’s the way it helps me as a person to share to be an overshare it’s one of the instances where I’ve started to be like, No, I’m not going to share that for the sake of someone else.
Samantha Bee 09:16
Right? So you find yourself do you find yourself it’s like the little details that you’re having fun somewhere and your daughter’s in the photo and you’re like I just shut up and it’s just causing you to you’re just having those hesitations and interruptions.
Rachel Bloom 09:33
If I’m gonna post a picture, it’s of the back of her head. But I also think it speaks to what’s happened. Facebook when social media started it just used to be for our friends, right? And so like, you post Yeah, a lot of people would over post an overshare but like it was for your friends. Now. It’s almost like everyone has a brand. If that makes sense, even even if they’re not yet entertainment, it just, it’s gone. It’s gone from I’m posting this fun vacation picture with my family to, you know, show my friends from high school to, I’m going to make statements and be part of the discourse, and everyone is now part of the discourse. And I think that it’s also caused me to question where is the line drawn between the personal and the public? And right, what are boundaries and what is safety. And that’s been a general choice in my life, because I’m such a people pleaser. So I’m bad at setting my own boundaries with people. And it’s something that I’ve lately become, I’m working on getting better at that it because I so want to give, I don’t want anyone to dislike me.
Samantha Bee 10:56
Right? I don’t see how it’s possible for anyone to. But it’s always it’s always possible. Everything’s possible. No, my, I guess my, it is more. It is also complicated when you have when you’re in this business, because it’s not even that. In some ways, you don’t have a choice but to overshare. Now, like oversharing is expected of you as a performer. And when you don’t, it’s a kind of a hindrance to your work. That’s what I’m finding is that over shares are extremely rewarded. In this industry, and when you when you don’t want your children to be a feature player in your life, or in your in your work life, I understand exactly what you’re let me tell a little story from my Ali’s fleas that I, when I had my first child, burgeoning, burgeoning internet, she was born in 2006. What a beautiful time. It was a beautiful time, it was a beautiful time, there were fewer Nazis making themselves known on the internet and proudly stating their positions, I will say that they were hiding, they still felt that sense of shame, that protects us remember that and them. Remember that. And I put, I was on a had some Facebook account, and I put my daughter on. I didn’t have it wasn’t like a really public profile. But it was very small. Because it was like very, I was in a very niche level place. And someone on the internet, a bunch of people actually took her the image of her face and made her face their avatars, on message boards, my baby’s face. And I fucking flipped. I was like, I’m off Facebook forever. We’re done. We’re done here. I’m shutting it down. Because like yourself, I felt like this is a choice for her. This is a choice for them to make, later, when they can, when they’re able to make it. And it’s kind of complicated. It’s really.
Rachel Bloom 13:14
Yeah, and it’s I talked to, I don’t think you have to even be in the industry or whatever for this to be complicated, because now your bosses can Google you, they can look at your social media. Everything on the internet is basically forever. And there’s so little nuance when it’s written and it feels like stone on an Instagram post or a tweet or whatever. And I we just I feel like internet literacy should now be a mandatory course for everyone, myself included, I would take it I just feel and I’m very sensitive. So I, I have felt that shift in the past few years, where the internet was felt it was never totally safe. But there was, you know, it was a way for people to connect. And now is everything you say is forever. And I don’t know, there’s just a hostility that you you don’t get when you talk to people actually in person.
Samantha Bee 14:22
Right? Yes, yes. And there’s an ownership over you. That takes place. Now people feel like they own like a piece. They know, they know your story. They’re like, oh, i We’re friends. We’re basically friends. We know each other. And therefore I get to say, I’m gonna chime in on your choices.
Rachel Bloom 14:40
Yeah, it’s a parasocial relationship. Right? And I feel like I have that sometimes with I don’t know people I admire and then I’m like, I don’t know this person. They can be completely different and so I don’t know that that is becoming an ongoing series of choices for me of What to put out into the world and what to do if you are just a close friend of mine. And it’s it’s a really imperfect science.
Samantha Bee 15:12
Actually, I wanted to talk about because I feel like it was the video it was fucking me Ray Bradbury was that was the twist that was your like, breakout video, how did you know to put yourself on YouTube? Or like, what was the thought process going into that? Were you like, I’m performing comedy? I’m going to film because they’re filmed really well. Your videos are great.
Rachel Bloom 15:35
Thank you other people around me were doing it. It’s a very simple answer. I was doing comedy and I saw people around me filming what they wrote and putting it on the internet, my then boyfriend now husband included. And 2010 was this interesting? Transition 22 to 2010 2011 transition from the aesthetic of early Funny or Die, which was you know, started by I think the landlord and what? 2006. Right, which was very low phi. And so there was this like Lo Fi comedy to making it look better. And I think that’s because they released I don’t know, the Canon five d or Canon 70 or whatever, where you could, anyone could suddenly make something look cinematic. And so there were people around me who were doing this, and I thought, Oh, what a great way to make a kind of comedy Mark for yourself in conjunction with live material.
Samantha Bee 16:32
When you were doing live comedy where you’re always doing musical comedy, or were you doing, like sketch with some music like how did you What was your? Was your life performance? Like? Is it similar to what you’re doing in the live show now?
Rachel Bloom 16:45
No. So it evolved. I got to NYU I was a musical theater major. And I had been on an improv group in high school. And I right away kind of felt a little out of place in the musical theater program for many reasons. And I saw there were auditions for this sketch comedy group. So I auditioned and I got on and I instantly fell in love with sketch comedy. Partially because my whole life I’d put so much pressure on myself to be perfect when it came to musical theater, which sounds so dorky, but people in the musical theater world will know what I’m talking about that with musical theater, the culture of musical theater, your talent is very synonymous with your self worth, right. Right. sketch comedy, I’d never said to myself, I was going to be a sketch comedian. So for the first time in my life, in this was when the the writing aspect of things. I tried my hardest at something without a real fear of failure, because I didn’t have my self worth wrapped up in it. And I just fell in love with the order of writing sketch comedy. I learned a very kind of mathematical but there was a structure I learned that came from UCB that had been funneled down to my sketch group. And so I started to write sketches that were very cerebral, I would say my style of writing. And the thing that really affected me was, when I was a sophomore, I was set to become the director of my college sketch group, I got involved in a love triangle with older guys on the sketch group. It was really bad and they behaved really maturely. We all did, but they removed me as director from my college sketch group is like punishment. Up. So I kind of was like, oh, my mentors have basically turned against me. Right. But I still love sketch comedy, but I want to make it my own. There was a part of me before that, I think that was trying to write stuff that would impress them. And simultaneously, I took a musical theater writing class over the summer at NYU, my junior year. And I don’t know, I started to combine them. And what I’ll say about combining the two is because music and musical theater have always been part of my love and aesthetic is got me out of my head. In a way, it got me to write more intuitively. And, more surprisingly, than I had had with just plain sketch comedy. So early on, I started after I graduated, I started incorporating music also because no one around me was doing it. So it felt very, oh, this is a thing that I can you know, as an artist you’re always looking for what’s a thing that I can say about the world that no one else is saying, Man at the time. Very few people around me were doing the musical stuff.
Samantha Bee 19:38
We’ll be right back with Rachel bloom after this. Did you feel when you first started doing sketch comedy, like you just found. Like, was it a moment? I mean, for me, it was just like standing on a stage and going, oh, there’s no shame here. This is just throwing this is just feels right. I don’t know.
Rachel Bloom 20:19
Yeah, it felt, right, because I hadn’t put pressure on myself to be a sketch comedy person. It also felt I don’t know, there was a there was an emotional freedom in it. And this relates to so much mental health. I mean, stuff I was, I had so much left to figure out with my mental health. But yeah, there was a, there was a freedom to it. Also, like I found my people. Canadians are smart. And I’ve made it’s how I met my husband. There’s a there’s a community, and an intelligence and an energy and a joy with people who are in sketch comedy effect.
Samantha Bee 21:03
Right? When you were when you were on the track of musical theater, did you think you were what did you? What did you initially think you want to do? versus what you started do when you felt more free? When you came more into yourself? Yeah. Did you think what did you think it was gonna look like prior to that kind of like, opening?
Rachel Bloom 21:24
Yeah, so I thought my career would be waking up at 6am to audition for, you know, the non union calls of union shows. And I would be a touring musical theater actor, and eventually, Broadway musical theater actor. And early on in school, I realized that wouldn’t satisfy me, it just wouldn’t be enough.
Samantha Bee 21:49
Right? Right. It’s rare actually, to see someone wear as many hats as you were writing, singing, comedy writing, producing, like, it’s actually the package of your talent is humongous.
Rachel Bloom 22:13
It’s also a plus side of ADHD.
Samantha Bee 22:16
Sure. You know what, I’ll take the I’ll take the pluses take the pluses of ADHD. But how do you I guess? Do you always now that you have created now that you have been the ultimate like, the ultimate voice on something now that you have been the boss of large groups of people? Can you still take notes from people?
Rachel Bloom 22:39
Oh, definitely, definitely. No, I can. Definitely. I love taking notes from people. And in fact, I take notes from people because otherwise I would turn to places like the internet. comments sections and you know, clinging to the people. I fear atrophying? Hmm. i It’s a weird fear I’ve always had. And I think that it also relates to ADHD in that you have these moments of inspiration. And they almost feel not part of you. And if you don’t have a, a routine, a technique you’re like, I’ll never get that inspiration back. But anyway, I still have even though I’m, I have more, I know better now. i I still, like I don’t I don’t want to atrophy. I don’t want to price subpar. work. And so I love I love taking notes. And I’m far from an expert. In I mean, I don’t know anyone who considers themselves an expert expert in anything. Right? You can always take notes, you can always be better. And I don’t know, for me, it’s about the idea when it comes to doing all this. It’s like, what’s the idea? And then what can I bring to this idea?
Samantha Bee 24:05
Fright, the collaboration? The collaboration.
Rachel Bloom 24:08
I want to make the best thing possible. And that does fight with my ego. There’s 100% fighting with my ego and like I’m never I’m never the sole composer on something. I’m just not. I’ve been playing piano since I was five. But my piano skills are just not where they should be at. And I can compose, but I call myself a lyricist, with a capital L and a composer with a small c and I’m so hard on myself. I am insecure about that. Right, that I that I am not a better pianist that I should be a better composer that my brain doesn’t work that way or whatever. I’m not I’m not I can’t sit down at the piano and play everything instantly.
Samantha Bee 24:54
What does I guess what do you when you say atrophy? Do you mean like like if you don’t use these tools, like if you’re in Not always kind of pushing towards something you feel like creatively. It’ll be your last your last thing was your last thing?
Rachel Bloom 25:06
Yeah, that. And then do I have anything to say that’s new about the world who has anything to actually contribute? That doesn’t infringe upon my personal life. And I think that that’s where I had a show for four years that was based but I co created it with with alleen crazy ex girlfriend was based in some truths, but over the course of doing a show you it becomes its own thing. And so coming out of that there definitely was a thought of do I have other things I felt so almost satiated as an artist. And I didn’t want to be I don’t know, redundant. And I don’t think I am. But, but at a certain point, if you’re coming up with new ideas, you’re going to be vulnerable to your life. And especially since I’ve had a kid but but always with my family. There’s been I’ve worked out a little bit of a wall of what am I going to draw from and what am I what am I going to leave dormant?
Samantha Bee 26:21
Well, I would say like as an observer, who has just watched death, let me do my shall say you have exactly said something new.
Rachel Bloom 26:34
Oh, thank you. Yeah, I mean, look, that was and that was a reaction to it. Like, it’s weird, because I’m like, putting on a show up. But it’s about a very real thing that happened to me, and that I that I wish hadn’t happened. But there is still a show about it, which was an entirely new experience, which was great.
Samantha Bee 26:51
Right? It feels to me, like from Washington, and from just having talked to you for this little bit now. Like you very successfully built a show around something about the most personal about your most personal grief, and some of the both worst and best stuff that has ever happened to you. But that you have actually structured it in a way that it is possible to do. It is like possible for you to perform without wrecking yourself. Do I have that? Do you feel like you have accomplished that? If for context, you all of this stuff. All of these things happened to you. During the pandemic, you had a baby. Your baby was in the NICU, your deepest your close friend and key collaborator in your artistic life, died of COVID died. Your psychiatrist Stein, there was like you’ve just you faced so much during this period of time. Literally everything was thrown at you all at once.
Rachel Bloom 28:01
Yeah. So the premise of the show is I come out and I say, Hey, I’m going to do this comedy special that I wanted to do in 2020. But the world fell apart. But I’d written the show in 2019. So like tonight, we’re just gonna pretend 2019 Because that’s when my materials from and I start out with a very silly song about trees the smell like come and then there’s a there’s an interruption. And yeah, and, and the, the entire show is then rerouted to me instead talking about death.
Samantha Bee 28:33
Yes. And it’s hilarious. Thank you. I gotta have to say that. It’s hilarious, but it’s also moving.
Rachel Bloom 28:38
Well, that’s important to me, too, is to not be self indulgent, I guess, I guess. I guess for me, especially because my friend who died Adams wasn’t sure he was a very unsentimental person. And so I think for this show, specifically, I wanted to write a show that he would enjoy and right and I and I think that structure you don’t have to same you don’t have to say much and to I don’t know you don’t have to you don’t have to be overly sentimental or saccharin to get a to get across that you something is very bad. And that’s one of the main things my director Seth Barish, who works with Mike Birbiglia a lot Cessnock for me, as always, you can be you can have more pacing in this moment because we know what’s happening is bad. show don’t tell show don’t tell and so I’m always kind of kind of trying to trying to do that trying to not be redundant. with emotion and trying to at the end of the day, it’s still a performance and you still want your the audience is still coming with you on a journey and I’m also just like a hammer Like a structure John genre slot so it’s also that’s also the type of stuff I like to watch.
Samantha Bee 30:06
Hold that thought more with Rachel bloom after one more break. Well, there’s this great moment at the end of the show again, no spoilers where you go and see a psychic I guess that is a spoiler, but it’s not a good spoiler. It’s fine. And the psychic, you’re like, what should i What do I do? Obviously per lease, you’re like basically what do I do? What’s my next step? And the psychic is like well, you’re gonna write a show about what’s happening to you right now and whatever anyone who’s listening believes about psychics that sort and then you do.
Rachel Bloom 30:54
I mean, that’s what I realized actually midway during the show is the psychic said basically, I the psychic said Adam said I should write a TV show pitch about LockDown. And I’m like, That’s a stupid idea. I hate that idea. stuff about the pandemic in lockdown right now. It’s gonna be irrelevant in a week, because the pandemic is always changing. And I really I basically pass on my dead friends ideas what I say. But yeah, I mean, this show is is kind of that now, just to say if the psychic gets had said no, I’m sorry. It’s not a TV pitch. It’s a very specific stage show. They all do in New York City in 2020. You know, but it wasn’t that it was it was it was a lot vaguer but you’re right technically. Ghost Adam, if that was his idea was spot on.
Samantha Bee 31:46
It feels very, it’s very much. It’s like a It’s a real love letter. It’s just a love letter to the people in your life that you love and and I do think I really appreciated you talking about how I mean really having a child having your first having a child is the thing that brings you closer to thinking and worrying about death then and it just changes your whole just changes everything.
Rachel Bloom 32:12
I’m still grappling with, with what to say in the show about it because there’s so much there’s an hour of cut material the show used to be two and a half hours long when I was working it out and there’s so much material about basically how love makes you lame. That when you love something, and I talk about my dog in the show, obviously but also about my daughter. When you love you have something to lose. And suddenly I had a whole run that I couldn’t find a way to put in about how when I was a teenager, I love dead baby jokes. Because when you’re a teenager, you don’t have a baby and you don’t know you don’t. You don’t. There are real stakes in your life. And so you can joke about the most horrible things happening and it’s just funny because you’re also pushing the envelope and your brain isn’t developed yet now. I have stuff to lose. I have a family and that kind of saying dark shit just to be funny. isn’t as much. I mean, it still is like I’m dark, but I get it. I get why. I feel like there’s this stereotype of moms being like, humorless, like right. Don’t say that. That’s awful. Right? And I get it now.
Samantha Bee 33:26
Rachel Bloom 33:27
I don’t want to stigmatize based on gender. But there is something about when you have parents, there’s something about when you have emotional stakes in something. Suddenly, those callous jokes, they just start to get way more painful.
Samantha Bee 33:43
Way more painful, and, but it doesn’t make you lose your edge as a person. And I do think that that’s like, can be a fear going into it. Especially if you’re a comedy person. You’re like, listen, it’s gonna be am I just gonna love to dress up like dollies now? Like, what? Like, what do I? Who am I after? I’m like, I’m lonely. I’m my mom. And then you go, Oh, no, I have edges. And actually, in some ways, and I don’t know, if you feel this, you have harder edges. Because you give fewer fucks about people who don’t matter. You just don’t want to do dead baby jokes.
Rachel Bloom 34:18
Yeah, you’re too, no, you’re totally right. There is a prioritizing in a way and that’s actually helped me a lot with personal boundaries, not just talking about the internet, but just in my life of suddenly I have this this kid who has to be my first priority and so I don’t know my ego doesn’t this just extends to so many things in my life. It’s a long story, but it just it my ego and my fear of people being mad at me does matter. Less in a way that’s really in a way that’s really freeing and also, having a kid is such an to be navel gazing. It’s such an insight onto into your life, like having it’s the Every one who is alive had parents, right. And you’ve only until I had a kid, I only saw things from the point of view of the kid. And now I see things from both sides. And it’s the world makes a lot more sense to me now, because parenting is really hard. And we are not taught in this society how to do it. So expecting you to go from zero to 100. It’s a very imperfect system. And so the idea, you know, hurt people hurt people, right, that there are a lot of people out there who become criminals and serial killers. And a lot of it stems from child abuse. You get it a little bit, because you’re like, Well, yeah, you’re asking people to go to suddenly become an expert in the thing for which they didn’t have to become certified. They just did it. That’s insane. Yeah, no wonder a lot of people are going to be fucked up. And I don’t think any parent is perfect. And parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Samantha Bee 36:11
Right? I do think that people don’t also tell you, one, wild people don’t tell you anything. They don’t tell you. If I can think about your body, oh my god, they don’t tell you how to my god, your body. My God. They don’t tell you about how to parent because everybody believes they should do it totally differently. And, but they also don’t tell you that you are going to have a lot of fun. And your child is awesome. And really fun to be around.
Rachel Bloom 36:40
Yeah, it’s, it’s mind blowing. And I’m, I’m still my friend was like, You should do a thing about being a mother. And like, I’m still trying to figure out what my take is that other people haven’t so eloquently said, and also what’s my TAKE THAT 10 years from now my kid will be like, fuck you. Everyone’s making fun of me. For that story you told about me throwing my shit on the walls like a monkey. My child isn’t done that. But so that’s also part of the debate that like I’m fine when it’s when it’s stories just about myself. I’ll tell you anything you want. I’m not precious with myself. I’m precious. with other people and with maybe sharing things that aren’t sanctioned from other people.
Samantha Bee 37:27
Right? Yes, yes. You I do want to talk about your, your writing room. And your you’re producing at crazy ex girlfriend. I know you were so intentional about how you created conditions for people that were livable. And I can you speak a little bit to that, because I think it’s so important. And I feel like not enough attention is paid to making life livable for people and television.
Rachel Bloom 37:57
I mean, I have to credit a lien brush McKenna, who was the showrunner, who at the end of the day started as a screenwriter so so could really was used to making your own schedule. And it was also a mom of two kids. And I think there is not to generalize. But I do think there is something to writers rooms, places that are run by moms, because they want to get home and see their children. And they don’t want to putz around as much. And there’s a general caring for others well being again, a lot of women are assholes. But yeah, but I think that’s the general vibe of don’t wreck yourself.
Samantha Bee 38:45
Do you feel like you work with greater efficiency now? Has it made you more efficient or just made you never sleep?
Rachel Bloom 38:55
Yes, it has to make me efficient, because at first it was inefficient, because when I had the time to work, and she’s in school, or with the nanny, I would just relax and rest and be myself and not get work done. And then at a certain point, I realized, oh, I need to have a routine. And that that also coincided with me getting a new therapist who asked me Have you ever been tested for ADHD? And when we got into it, all of these other things about my mental health kind of started to crystallize. So that has that kind of happened simultaneously with having a little kid so it’s, it’s a little bit chicken or the egg. But yeah, I have to be efficient with my time.
Samantha Bee 39:44
At what point did you start working on your live show?
Rachel Bloom 39:49
So it was an idea I had in 2020 Because I really was writing a stand up music special in 2018-2019. And in my office, which then became my daughter’s playroom, I had a whiteboard of all of the bits listed out. I’m a very visual person I really like to have outlines ideas written, you can see there’s a board behind me where I can yeah, see them and kind of rearrange. It’s just how my brain works best. And I was playing with my daughter was 5am. One day, she was an infant, a newborn, and I was looking at that board and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, and Adam had died. And I’m looking at this board of you know, when you list out bullet points of comedy bits, it looks particularly stupid, where it’s like, so stupid. Cum, ovulation question mark. Pop stars should be old question mark. And it just looks so frivolous. And I thought this is so stupid. I can’t do this show anymore. This is a pre feels like you know, 911 right where it’s it’s this is a pre crisis. This is a person who is pre crisis, but at the same time, the thing that got me through all of those hard times I was laughing, I was listening to comedy podcasts. I was. Honestly, I was rereading the daily show America the book, I was rereading stuff that had made me laugh for years. And so that’s an I had that idea in 2020. I didn’t start working on it until 2020 21. But basically the tension of which is what the question is show is how do you acknowledge death but continue to live? How do you laugh? What is the role of being stupid and silly? When your life has been touched by the scary and the profound and that tension.
Samantha Bee 41:55
Right? What do you watch now?
Rachel Bloom 41:58
I just finished season two of this show called claim to fame, which is a reality show in which a bunch of people go to a house and they all are somehow related to a celebrity and they have to guess each other celebrities and it is so frivolous. It’s so good. It’s so funny. But that just watching dumb shit. I kind of need I need frivolity.
Samantha Bee 42:25
Yeah, last and escape hatch. Yeah, just a little just like even ever. So briefly, I feel like 20 minutes of entertainment now can feel like a Caribbean vacation.
Rachel Bloom 42:38
Samantha Bee 42:42
Like what happened? I unspooled. What in the world? I like to watch patisserie being made. That’s that’s like, Oh my God. It’s just like, all those little buttons. All those little boxes get checked. I’m like, What are they doing with the ganache? How do they make the miracle flavors is perf is perfection. I could see myself that I’m like, oh, was I gone for a while.
Rachel Bloom 43:10
There’s an order to I love watching cooking shows for that reason. Also, because I’m not a cook at all. So I don’t think about like when I’m watching TV comedy, there’s a part of me that’s a little bit at work. Yeah, a little just a little bit but with cooking shows. I’m like, great. Tell me about acid and Saul and my husband is the cook I’m I’m not. Although last night he really fucked up a chicken.
Samantha Bee 43:37
What did he do?
Rachel Bloom 43:38
It was a salt brine that you’re supposed to do for two hours, my husband makes his own pickles. So he now considers himself a pickling expert. So you’re supposed to brine a chicken in like a salt bath for an hour. And he did it for 24 hours. So we bit into at night and my daughter was like, Oh, just making my mouth. He’s making my mouth pucker.
Samantha Bee 44:08
It is lovely to talk to you. And I’m just, I’m just thrilled to get to like, because I’ve seen you places before, but like it’s really nice to just dig in. And I really just enjoy your work so deeply.
Rachel Bloom 44:31
Say obviously same. And on a personal note. I mean, you’re in a similar way. You’re married to someone that you often work with. And you have seemingly like a very functional family and you’re a very functional person and they’re so few. At some point, I want to text you when I’m in New York and let’s hang out. That sounds awesome.
Samantha Bee 44:53
Anyways, thank you so much.
Like, oh, what a joy And that was Rachel bloom and I had no choice but to look up one thing. She talked about googling herself when she got her first computer and seeing what other Rachel Bloom’s existed and that got me thinking, where are my other Samantha Bee’s at and it turns out there are like 11 other Samantha Bee’s that live in the US that I easily found online. So who other Samantha Bee’s if you’re listening? I don’t know man be cool. We have a name to uphold. Anyway, good news, there’s more Choice Words with Lemonada Premium. Subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content, like a rapid fire trivia based off my interview with Laura Dern and Diane Ladd subscribe now in Apple podcasts. Thank you for listening to Choice Words which was created by and is hosted by me. We’re a production of Lemonada Media, Kathyrn Barnes, […] and Kryssy Pease produce our show. Our mix is by James Barber. Steve Nelson is the vice president of weekly content. Jessica Cordova Kramer, Stephanie Wittles Wachs and I are executive producers. Our theme was composed by […] with help from Johnny Vince Evans . Special thanks to Kristen Everman, Claire Jones, Ivan Kuraev and Rachel Neil. You can find me at @Iamsambee on Twitter and at @realsambee on Instagram. Follow Choice Words wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.