Friday, August 27, 2010

Interview: Rachel Bloom of "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury"

When a woman in her early twenties asks a ninety-year-old man to fuck her, there's usually an oil fortune involved -- unless, of course, the ninety-year-old man is author Ray Bradbury. Rachel Bloom's poppy ode to the sci-fi master, "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury," has garnered a million hits on the Internet in less than a week and has been Tweeted by writers like Neil Gaiman.

Rachel, who has her BFA in Drama from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, is a UCBNY student. She is a contributing writer for the Onion News Network and performs improv with her indie group, Mastodon Mattingly. She also hosts a monthly standup/music show called Annette Funicello's Beach Party.

"Fuck Me Bradbury" isn't Rachel's first attempt at song -- a children's musical Rachel co-wrote with writer/composer Michael Maricondi called When Push Comes to Shove is due to tour New England schools later this year. None of the songs in it are about fucking.

UCB Comedy talked to Rachel about putting together your own film shoot, who would be invited to her literary orgy, and dancing alone to Britney Spears in your room.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the process of making "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury."

RB: I was sitting at home about two years ago during the summer between my junior and senior years of college, and I was re-reading The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I was going through a weird sadness/lull on the boy front, and I kept thinking, "Man, Ray Bradbury is so smart...he'd be the ideal boyfriend." I thought it would be funny to do a passionate love song about Ray Bradbury. Then, I thought it would be even funnier to do like, a sexy pop song about Ray Bradbury. So, I sat down at my parents' piano and came up with the essential structure in about an hour. 2 years later, I revisited the song and refined it.

We shot the video at St. Cecilia's, an old Catholic school in Brooklyn. It seems to be the only school in New York City that will let you shoot, because I know of so many other film shoots that have taken place there. The song was recorded in a studio in LA. My friend Jack Dolgen (of the band "Maricopa") arranged the song and helped me record it, along with fellow musician/producer Jon Siebels.

I produced the video myself -- I did all the casting, found the crew, and asked my friends to direct/DP. It was a lot of work, a lot of e-mails going back and forth for a few weeks. I will say that you don't have to be a genius to put together a good film shoot- it's just a lot of work.

Q: What was your reaction when the picture of Ray Bradbury watching your video popped up on the Internet?

RB: It had occurred to me that Ray could find the video just by Googling himself. If I were a famous author, I'd Google myself a lot. Soon after the video came out, though, I started to get a ton of messages/e-mails from close friends of Ray Bradbury, all of whom were praising the video and promising that Ray would see it. So, before I saw the picture, I had some warning, although NOTHING could replace the joy I felt seeing Mr. Bradbury guffawing at my dirty little music video.

Q: The video was obviously influenced by one of the greatest TRL videos ever -- "Hit Me Baby, One More Time." When you were a kid, did you ever dream about being in one of those '90s pop videos?

RB: The weird thing about me as a kid is that I outwardly wanted to be against the establishment, but secretly wanted to be a part of it. I was made fun of a lot right around the time "Baby One More Time" came out, so although I publicly railed against these pretty popular people and their awesome clothes, I privately danced to the song like a fiend alone in my room. I resented the fact I wasn't cool or pretty enough to be a Britney Spears fan, but couldn't deny that I was a Britney Spears fan. I always openly loved 'N Sync, though. Ah, to be 12 and full of contradictions.

Q: If you were doing a whole literary fuckfest, what other authors would be on your list?

RB: I would fuck Kurt Vonnegut, Philip Roth and J.K. Rowling. Those are the top of my orgy list. My current favorite reads are comic books by Bryan K. Vaughan. Just finished "Y: The Last Man" and updated myself on "Ex Machina."

Q: Have you received any marriage proposals from other Ray Bradbury fans?

(Rachel laughs.)

Not marriage proposals, but there is this one dude on Facebook who has earnestly written "I love you. I think I am in love with you." I want to respond with my thoughts on how love is a very complicated concept, but I also think this guy can't speak English very well.

On September 2nd, Rachel has a SPANK at UCBNY titled "Sing Out, Louise!" -- a musical sketch comedy show.

Fuck Me, Ray
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