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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Gets a Visit From “Weird Al” Yankovic, Patron Saint of Niche Musical Comedy

“Weird Al” Yankovic in "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
Weird Al Yankovic in this screenshot from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Screenshot of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend/The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has snagged some high-profile stars over its four seasons, from Patton Oswalt to Patti LuPone to the late Nipsey Hussle. But perhaps none has been as perfect a fit as the celebrity who cameoed on “I Have a Date Tonight” Friday, the O.G. himself, “Weird Al” Yankovic. The pop parodist has made a habit over the years of popping into high-concept, low-rated comedies, performing a song or two, then popping back out. He added lyrics to the 30 Rock theme that poked fun at its relatively small audience, and he led an a cappella order of monks on Galavant, later reappearing to sing what would become its final song: “There’s not much left to tell/ And hey, that’s just as well/ Unless we get one more surprise renewal.” (They did not.)

Despite being considerably less sophisticated than Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Galavant is still probably its closest predecessor on television—an unlikely musical comedy with catchy, non-diegetic tunes and winking self-aware humor.
Yankovic may have swapped out his robe for a bowtie and a tonsure for a top hat, but his Crazy Ex-Girlfriend visit is still ceremonial, a parting blessing from the master of the form. Rachel Bloom has said that the first song that made her laugh was one of Yankovic’s, either “Fat” or “Eat It,” and the two collaborated on an episode of Drunk History together. Now, Yankovic is here to send the show on its way.

The writers only toy with the idea of not having Yankovic appear but not sing for a few seconds, because honestly, did anyone really think they were going to let that happen? Yankovic has the distinct honor of reprising Tovah Feldshuh’s “Where’s the Bathroom,” breaking out his accordion to put a polka spin on the bathroom jokes. As cameos go, it’s potty-humor perfection.

Unlike Yankovic, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has used direct parodies of songs sparingly, usually aping an artist’s broader musical style or an entire genre. But when the occasion calls for it, the show will get specific, giving us a vibrator-centric “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” or “Another Day of Sun” but about anti-depressants. That’s true of the big group number in “I Have a Date Tonight,” which riffs on “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls.

David Hull as White Josh has long been Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s judgmental voice of reason, the only one who seems genuinely baffled why all of these men are obsessed with Rebecca despite the tumult of their relationships. Deep down, though, he’s just as invested as anyone, especially as the show takes a turn for The Bachelor, sending Rebecca on dates with all three of her love interests. Hull was one of the fit hot guys in “Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too” but this is his first big solo, and he nails it. As Allison Shoemaker points out over at the A.V. Club, there’s a Guys and Dolls remake in the works at TriStar, and this is basically an audition tape for the role of Sky Masterson.

The song—which, according to Bloom, is the show’s final ensemble number—finds room for even comparatively minor supporting characters as they finally try to turn a profit from their ongoing investment in Rebecca’s love life. Sunil pawns his Playbills, Father Brah gives his blessing, and George, ever the loyal sidekick, bets everything on Nathaniel. Guys and Dolls feeds Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s musical theater obsession, but it’s also a romantic comedy, and it just so happens to be the first major musical Bloom ever saw, another personal touch for the show’s penultimate episode.

Of course, unlike Sky Masterson singing “Luck Be a Lady,” none of the people singing “Love’s a Game” have anything at stake besides money. The stripped-down reprise by Rebecca is much more somber:

If I were a fedora-wearing gambler, I’d bet on Greg, or else Rebecca ending up with none of the current guys. Despite their grand romantic gestures—or maybe because of them—Josh and Nathaniel seem to be out of the running. Did everyone catch the strain of “Settle for Me” as they drink together at the bar?

Best song of the week: “Love’s Not a Game,” but only because “There’s No Bathroom” is so short. For another bonus song, check out the CW’s streamable documentary about the making of the series finale, which includes the cast serenading Rachel Bloom with “You Gave Us Everything (You Stupid Bitch).” Watch out for spoilers, though.