If you haven’t already seen Josh Gad in The Book of Mormon, you’d better get your tickets fast, because he’s on his way out very soon. (Seriously: Expect an announcement any day now.) The reason is a happy one. His comedy 1600 PENN, in which he plays the nerdy son to a White House couple, made it onto NBC’s spring lineup. And while Gad is clearly super excited and super grateful, he’s also super exhausted — and possibly superhuman. Because despite his already hectic schedule, the guy agreed to keep an upfronts diary for Vulture. Herewith, his almost every move over the course of two insane days.
SUNDAY, MAY 13
I’m exhausted. My voice is so tired this week. I’m both excited and dreading the long day ahead. Two shows — five and a half hours combined of dancing, singing, and entertaining — followed by a long night of schmoozing. My body doesn’t feel up for the endless day ahead, but alas, the throngs of paying customers await.
I get to the theater. Do my ritual: lip trills, singing “Cupid” by Sam Cooke to warm up my voice, stretching, etc. I pop into my co-star Andrew Rannell’s dressing room to say hi. We both have shows picked up by the same network. His voice is also shot. Misery loves company as the two of us smile in anticipation of “getting through” the next two shows on what remains of our vocal range.
The curtain goes up. Two minutes in and I’m saying a line I’ve now said over 500 times: “Hello, would you like to change religions, I have a free book written by Jesus!” And so begins another performance of Book of Mormon. Thank God for the audiences. They always get me through these long days.
Show one ends. I get a visit from an awesome stylist named Jeremy Kirkland who has picked out my suit for tomorrow night. He shows me some ties, and Rory O’Malley, my BOM co-star and close friend of over a decade, comes in and offers advice. We pick one that is fun and patriotic, a good look to promote a show that takes place in the White House.
Another show. Another curtain. The applause and laughter help me ride the wave of adrenaline to the finish line.
Eight shows down. Time to change into my evening attire and head to the Fox party.
Andrew and I hop in a black SUV and head to the party.
I immediately have a scotch in my hands to temper the chaos of shaking a hundred hands. I spot the creative team, Jason Winer and Jon Lovett. I have not seen them since our show got picked up to series; we quickly embrace. The three of us make the rounds. Lea Michele grabs me from behind and warns me to not miss Tuesday night’s performance of the show, as she will be attending. I promise her that I will be there, and make my way over to the New Girl Zooey D. to say hi and congratulate her on the huge success of her show.
Zooey and I make our way over to Ryan Murphy and beg him to put us on Glee as mismatched middle schoolers who are dating each other out of a desperate need for attention. By the look on Ryan’s face, it seems like a nonstarter. I continue to make the rounds.
Jason, Jon, and I make our way to another party and quickly find ourselves engulfed in a sea of swarming bodies. Whereas the last party was small and intimate, this one is an explosion of flesh, everyone on top of everyone, with music that is way too loud to actually make for conversation. Nevertheless, I see some old friends and meet some new ones, including my new NBC co-habitant Justin Kirk, who is starring as a vet in Animal Practice.
I’m finally home. My wife, currently in L.A., calls me to say good night and makes fun of how delirious I sound. I try to go to bed, but I can’t handle how nauseous and sick I feel that I have to wake up in three hours.
MONDAY, MAY 14
I get out of bed. This is going to be a LONG day. I shower, walk the dog, put my suit on, and groggily hop into my car.
We arrive at the Ritz Carlton where I grab an OJ and some watermelon and contemplate introducing my fingers to my throat. My agent, Meredith, looks at me and laughs, and tells me to drink a coca cola. I take it this is not her first experience with a half-awake client on the day of upfronts. I grab a table next to Victor Garber and tell him about my hectic days, to which he responds with a story about how he landed in NYC from Chicago, after two layovers, at 3 a.m. Once again, you win, Garber; you win.
My new TV parents, Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman (who plays my stepmom), arrive. Then my TV sister Martha McIssac joins us. We discuss how excited we are to jump back into shooting.
We make our way over to Radio City where we do a line of press. My stomach is finally settling down! I smile for the cameras and start plugging our show, which by the way is called 1600 PENN and will premiere this SPRING ON NBC!!!!!!!!!!! Shameless? No.
Oh my God, I have a monkey on my shoulder. He’s here for the Justin Kirk show I mentioned. I can literally die and go to heaven!
Anne Heche takes a seat in front of me as the lights dim and the presentation begins.
We get our first look at the new fall shows, including Andrew’s show New Normal, which looks terrific, and Matthew Perry’s show featuring the always lovely Laura Benanti, a Broadway vet and peer. The drama Revolution looks insanely cool.
With the fall behind us, we finally get our first look at the midseason trailers, including one that looks pretty damn great called 1600 PENN. Jen Salke tells the audience that my character tested just behind the monkey from Animal Practice. I don’t know whether to take that as a compliment or not, but I steadily embrace my seat as the trailer plays. Thankfully, the showcase plays well and people seem to be excited. Jenna gives me a knuckle noogie and we all soak in the moment.
I hop into a car with the awesome Dax Shepard and he tells me a story about how Chevy Chase had one of the funnier lines for dealing with a waiting throng of fans. Chase apparently once got out of a car and waved at the fans and said, “I’m feeling much better, thank you,” as he flew by them. Lol! I head into the hotel and do some press with my publicist Melissa. Then I head home to take a long needed nap.
My agent meets me to head to a dinner hosted by ICM [his agency] at the Waverly Inn. The dinner is fabulous, as I get to celebrate with my amazing team and meet some awesome clients, including Zoe Saldana, who is even more gorgeous in person.
We arrive at the NBC ball, where I make my way around saying hello to all the official people who now pay my bills and the other cool people they employ, including Howie Mandel, Jimmy Fallon, and a slew of other incredibly talented people. Once again, Andrew and I pinch ourselves at the insanity of our lives.
As much as I would love to stay and make it a long night, I have a show tomorrow and I need to rest my body and my voice. It has been an amazing 48 hours and I am beyond grateful to be working on such an incredible project with such talented people. I say my good-byes. I get home, turn on Game of Thrones, brush my teeth, and read a few chapters of Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson, in anticipation of playing Steve Wozniack in the upcoming film about the Apple legend. Time for bed now. What a day. What a life!