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Rachel Bloom on using comedy to bring people together, not as a weapon

She also talks 'Most Likely To Murder,' collaborating with her husband and the importance of Upright Citizens Brigade
Rachel Bloom and Adam Pally
[Image: Lionsgate]

Most Likely To Murder could easily be called Crazy Ex-Boyfriend.

Not only does it star the co-creator and star of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Rachel Bloom, but it was co-written and directed by her husband Dan Gregor, who also works on The CW show, and revolves around Adam Pally returning to his home town after a 15 year gap to discover that his old girlfriend (Bloom) is now dating a former outcast, who he then sets out to prove is actually a murderer.

I recently had the chance to talk to Rachel Bloom about the dark comedy, working with her husband, and the importance that the Upright Citizens Brigade had on her career.

Your husband Dan Gregor co-wrote and directed "Most Likely To Murder," when did you first get involved with it?
He co-wrote it with his writing partner Doug Mand, who is also in the movie. They’ve been coming up with this idea and breaking the story for 5 years. I read the first draft and I have always really loved it. It was funny and had a really compelling plot. We come from the sketch comedy world and being funny is obviously really hard, coming up with jokes is really hard, but folding it into a good, emotionally grounded narrative is hard and rare. That’s what I was really proud of.

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Was Kara written for you?
No. I actually grew into the role because it was written when I was in my mid 20s. It was always a part that was meant for someone in their early 30s. There are definitely elements of me, and Doug’s wife, in there. It wasn’t written specifically for me, but I was so glad I could play it.

Have you worked with Dan before?
We met each other doing sketch comedy. I did music videos before "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend," he directed most of them, he wrote on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." Everything he and I write we give each other notes. We are just very much on the same page. From where we come from to what we want to say as artists. So that makes collaboration with him very easy. We were friends before we dated, he is a really lovely person. You sometimes get people who use comedy as a sword to put people down, or as a weapon. That isn’t his thing. He uses it to bring people together. Which makes him so easy to work with.

There’s a lot of members of the Upright Citizens Brigade in the film, talk about how important being a part of that group was for you.
I met my husband there because he was one of the founding members of the sketch comedy group that I became director of in my final year. Separately he did a lot of stuff at UCB. I started UCB when I was a freshman. I went through the whole class system. I mean, that’s where I learnt comedy. Even when I moved out to Los Angeles I continued to do UCB and stayed in that community. You find like-minded people. You learn a technique for humor and for comedy. In every other art form there is a technique. So it was nice to learn that for sketch comedy. Sketch comedy is one of my first loves. Because you learn this idea of the game of the scene, which is the pattern of behavior, or the pattern of what is funny in a scene or in a sketch, which you then heighten. That really extends to dramatic narratives. In this movie you see a lot of elements of sketch comedy and running gags. And at the same time the challenge of comedy is, you really can only make somebody laugh if you are subverting an expectation. If you are doing something unexpected.

Talk about working with Adam Pally, it’s a hard leading role for him
He’s great. He really is quite a good actor. The role was written for him. So there is a confidence and authority that he has in playing the role that you just kind of go along with. He is driving most of the scenes. His character is mostly the one in power. But it doesn’t feel exclusionary, the way that he is interpreting these scenes. He is really confident and a brilliant improviser. And I really like that. His character is an a**hole, and they know he is an a**hole. He really is the villain of the movie. Because lesser films or lesser writers would just make him the hero. He is a piece of s***. It is kind of a nice take on male privilege. And privilege in general. Where it is, ‘No, you don’t get away with this. You’re an a**hole. F*** off.’

Whose idea was the music video?
That was all those guys. The ending song of the movie is a song from Dan and Doug, which is what the music video is based on, and it is based on a moment in the movie that is improvised. When they are plucking on this red string in the investigation like it is a guitar. They sing, ‘Whose those guys, whose those guys investigating.’ So after the movie was finished they decided to take that riff and turn it into a real song. Which is an amazing parody of 1980s detective songs. It is written by Dan and Doug and Jack Dolgen, who also works on "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend." So we had this amazing song and we wanted promotional material for the film. So we just made it.

"Most Likely To Murder" is available on Digital, on Demand, and on DVD May 1st.