For four years, Adam Schlesinger, a Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter and Fountains of Wayne frontman, served as executive music producer for the CW musical dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Collaborating with the series’ co-creator/executive producer Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen, the trio earned five Emmy nominations, winning in their last try last year. It was Schlesinger’s third Emmy overall; he had previously won for co-writing songs showcased at the Tony Awards.
In a touching remembrance — or “egobituary” — as she called it, using a favorite joke of Schlesinger’s, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator/showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna spoke of her good friend of 25 years and their work together on the CW series. She also shared audio of one of the “perfect” demos that Schlesinger, who died Wednesday of COVID-19, created for the show.
One day, when Adam, Rachel and Jack and I were working in the writers’ room, we talked about how someone famous had just died. Adam commented on how, when that happens, everyone immediately goes online and posts a personal story about some small interaction they’d had with the famous person. As a joke I referred to it as an “egobituary.” I truly think that was his favorite thing l ever said to him in the 25 years I knew him.
Adam was my husband Will’s roommate in the early 90’s. Over the years, we followed his career, unsurprised by his success. He was the most brilliant, the most funny, the most clever, the most musical. When I thought Crazy Ex-Girlfriend might get picked up, he was the first person I called. Rachel and Jack were going to need someone to write 2-3 songs an episode with. We all got together and they fell in love with him. Of course they did. What a team they made.
Adam wrote or co-wrote 157 songs with Rachel and Jack over 4 seasons. He worked with every single cast member. He also produced every single song we made, with his producing partner and dear friend Steven Gold.
Adam was so funny, so kind, so opinionated, so clever, so passionate. We worked together and agreed and disagreed and rejoiced and bemoaned and celebrated and it felt extra sweet for me because l’d known him so long.
I love that guy. I love all the memories. I’m making this too much about me, because that’s what an egobituary is. I’m devastated for his family, his kids, for Alexis, for Steven, for his CXG family, for the many, many who loved him.
Last night I stayed up listening to Adam’s demos. I have always loved his singing voice. “What’ll It Be?” was a song that was tough to crack. Suddenly, without much preamble, he sent in a demo. Rachel and I stood in her office and listened to it and looked at each other, astonished, because it was perfect. Here’s the email, here’s the demo. Miss you already, Adam.
McKenna also posted a photo tribute to Schlesinger, on Instagram.
Bloom, who earlier today shared on Instagram that she had brought home her newborn baby from the hospital, referenced Schlesinger in her note, which was posted before the news of his death. “Having a baby in the NICU during a pandemic while a dear friend was in the hospital 3,000 miles away made this by far the most emotionally intense week of mine and Gregor’s lives,” Bloom said.
She later mourned her collaborator and friend, calling him “irreplaceable.”
Yesterday, she asked her followers to keep Schlesinger, in their thoughts and prayers.