Rachel Bloom leads tributes to 'irreplaceable' Adam Schlesinger, her 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' songwriting partner

Suzy Byrne
·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·8 min read

Rachel Bloom is remembering Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder of the band Fountains of Wayne and accomplished songwriter who was her songwriting partner for the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

On Wednesday, the comedic actress revealed that she had the hardest week of her life, giving birth to a NICU baby during the coronavirus pandemic while her dear friend Schlesinger was hospitalized across the country with COVID-19. While it was thought he had turned a corner, shortly after her post came news that Schlesinger had died at age 52 and Bloom shared a tribute to her friend and collaborator.

Bloom wrote that while she has so much to say about Schlesinger, “I am at a complete loss for words. He is irreplaceable.”

Another post followed saying that “one example of how Adam might have affected your life” was that he was the one who wrote the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song “Gettin’ Bi,” which many people have since used to come out.

“That song was all Adam,” she wrote.

The song was performed on the show, during Season 1, by actor Pete Gardner when his character came out to colleagues on the show. Gardner performed the song at L.A. Pride in 2016 — with Bloom and other members from the cast by his side.

Bloom shared photos with Schlesinger as well. The first was a series of pictures of them being silly at a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend live event in 2016.

The other showed them with musical composer Jack Dolgen. The three were awarded an Emmy in September for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics for the song "Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal."

Dolgen also posted a tribute. He said while the world already knows about Schlesinger’s “unparalleled talent,” he was sharing that his late friend treated himself to a mini 3 Musketeers bar during the taping of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend concert special, showing the photo of the candy atop a keyboard.

Aline Brosh McKenna, who was co-creator and writer for the show, also shared a tribute. She said she first met Schlesinger in the early ‘90s — when he was roommates with her now-husband, Will McKenna. She said when the show got picked up, Schlesinger was the first person she called to do the music. Schlesinger wrote or co-wrote 157 songs with Bloom and Dolgen over the four seasons.

“I love that guy,” she wrote, “I love all the memories.”

Gardner also remembered his Crazy Ex-Girlfriend colleague.

There have been tons of other tributes as Schlesinger was in multiple bands, also including Ivy, and had a whole career writing music for film and TV. Tom Hanks, who hired Schlesinger to write the theme song for his directorial debut That Thing You Do!, paid tribute. That song led to Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Schlesinger.

Actors from the film also paid tribute, including Johnathon Schaech and Ethan Embry.

Schlesinger had been working with Fran Drescher on turning The Nanny into a Broadway musical. He served as the show’s executive music producer — again collaborating with Bloom on the show’s score.

He had also been collaborating with Sarah Silverman on a stage adaptation of her memoir, The Bedwetter, which was scheduled to begin performances Off-Broadway but was postponed because of the pandemic.

Schlesinger won a Grammy working on Stephen Colbert’s A Colbert Christmas Special. The Late Show host called him “a great (and patient) and talented artist with whom it was my luck to work.” (Schlesinger was also nominated for Grammys alongside his Fountains of Wayne co-founder Chris Collingwood for their hit “Stacy’s Mom” as well as Best New Artist.)

Jimmy Kimmel talked about working with “kind and super-talented” Schlesinger on Crank Yankers.

Kathy Griffin remembered him writing the theme to Kathy — “as a favor.”

Other remembrances came from Neil Patrick Harris, who worked with him at the Tony Awards. (Schlesinger won two other Emmy Awards for songs he wrote for the Tony Awards.)

And even the governor of New Jersey, where Fountains of Wayne got its start, honored the late star.

On Tuesday, it was reported that Schlesinger was in a “medically-induced coma” at an upstate New York hospital amid a battle with COVID-19. However, his attorney Jaime Herman told Yahoo that the reports were “inaccurate” and “his doctors have not used that terminology.”

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: (L-R) Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen pose for photos in the press room for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 14: (L-R) Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen pose for photos in the press room for the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on September 14, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Herman shared a statement from Schlesinger’s family at the time, which said, “Thank you for the outpouring of love for Adam and his family. Adam has been hospitalized with COVID-19. He’s on a ventilator and has been sedated to facilitate his recovery. He is receiving excellent care, his condition is improving and we are cautiously optimistic. His family appreciates all of the love and support.”

Schlesinger is survived by his parents, Bobbi and Stephen Schlesinger; a sister, Laurie Rose; two daughters, Sadie and Claire Schlesinger; and his partner, Alexis Morley.

For the latest coronavirus news and updates, follow along at https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides.

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