Comedy

Every Calamitous, Horny Thought I Had at Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical, in Chronological Order

Comedy Features Spongebob: The Musical
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Every Calamitous, Horny Thought I Had at <i>Spongebob Squarepants: The Musical</i>, in Chronological Order

The first thing you should know is that the Palace Theater, a Broadway institution that has hosted both a legendary Judy Garland concert and Spongebob Squarepants: The Broadway Musical, does not let people in late.

“But,” the box office manager tells me as my eyes start to well up, “you seem very distressed and the house is light tonight.”

I am not there to see Judy Garland, who is dead. I am there to see Spongebob, who is not real. And if you know me even a little, you can intuit that I am very late, carrying several tote bags and am completely alone.

So, by the grace of Bob, I am let in to a half-full balcony on a Tuesday night to see a big-budget commercial musical that I will flirt with hate-watching but end up openly crying through for what amounts to about thirty full minutes.

If you haven’t heard about Spongebob: The Musical, that’s fair—it’s only been on Broadway since December of last year. It’s gotten largely positive reviews and a consistent income, in spite of being overtaken by the expected standbys like Hamilton, Wicked and every theater Andrew Lloyd Webber has sneezed on, as well as the Disney adaptations like Lion King, Frozen and Aladdin, which always commanda lot of tourist family cash. Spongebob doesn’t go for the epic sweeping period piece, instead providing the audience with a really fucking good, two-hour long musical episode of Spongebob with people instead of sea urchins. Squidward, of course, is hot (but this comes as someone with a predisposition to want to raw-dog fish in the first place).

Through my sweaty, pigeon lady stupor, I managed to fish out my notepad and jot down some real-time thoughts about the musical while sweating through my clothes. Here they are, in chronological order:

7:14PM: I got here seven minutes late but it took me seven minutes to climb to my seat. There are maybe fifteen people total who are sitting further away from Spongebob: The Musical than me.

7:17PM: All of my feelings for the fish from The Shape of Water are INSTANTLY transferred to tap-dancing Squidward.

7:21PM: Squidward is hot.

7:24PM: Hahaha I am literally going to the lobby to Google if the actor who plays Squidward is married.

7:27PM: He is.

spongebob the musical squidward getty.jpg

7:28PM: Most of the fun of this musical is that every song is written by a different pop musician, and even with the list of contributors listed on the first page of the Playbill it’s nearly impossible to tell who wrote what. David Bowie and Brian Eno co-wrote the third number, “No Control,” and it’s very weird. Not in a good way.

7:30PM: Is it blasphemous to say it would be kind of funny if David Bowie died writing a song for Spongebob: The Musical? Like, literally that is what he was doing when he died?

7:32PM: Maybe that’s mean. But please think of a funnier way to die and get back to me.

7:33PM: “David Bowie, iconic musician and composer of Ziggy Stardust, died today writing a song about how the media is affecting the political climate in Bikini Bottom.”

7:34PM: It’s funny, I don’t care.

7:40PM: The white guy with a ponytail playing Plankton has begun rapping.

7:42PM: He’s not bad. He’s…good?

7:44PM: Oh my God this rap is written by T.I. I need a nap.

7:46PM: DID T.I. ATTEND REHEARSALS?????

7:50PM: I would be remiss not to bring up my other favorite musical cash cow that has long left Broadway and been relegated to the dregs of middle school theater: Shrek: The Musical. While Shrek did win Tonys (I swear), it makes every mistake that Spongebob doesn’t—hideous prosthetics, too-famous names, teeth-clenching sincerity. Spongebob manages to dodge all these, casting relative unknowns for those who aren’t deep into theater, with the exception of Squidward in Gavin Lee. He originated the role of Bert in the musical version of Mary Poppins, and did I mention is also hot? The characters don’t don any disfiguring prosthetics like poor sweaty Sutton Foster playing Princess Fiona, which is a boon for the creative vision but also means that I will probably not see it five times.

8:04PM: I can’t believe Squidward is married.

8:05PM: But he’s so handsome and talented and forty-six years old so it, like, makes sense that he would be.

8:07PM: Still.

8:17PM: The man who plays Spongebob is name Ethan Slater and he does one of the more physical performances I’ve ever seen in my fourteen years of life (I’m fourteen now). He flips. He slides. He cartwheels. He belts. Still, I am overcome with the need to beat him up and take his lunch money.

8:20PM: I have some good intel that Ethan Slater has been saying it was his dream to be Spongebob on Broadway for like years when he was still working at a coffee shop, and that is both inspiring and the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

8:21PM: Like, if he said that to me on a Tinder date I’d leave.

8:22PM: “My career aspirations? I want to play Spongebob on Broadway and that’s literally it.” You can’t hear that from a grown human man and be like, “You know what? Let’s hear more of what this person has to say.”

8:23PM: Still, good for him.

8:24PM: But if it hadn’t worked out he’d sound psychotic is what I’m saying.

spongebob the musical getty cast shot.jpg

8:25PM: Okay, we didn’t need the Flaming Lips to write a song for this show, honestly.

8:25PM: Intermission thought: It was an interesting choice to make Larry the Lobster a Republican in this production. I could have predicted the friendship rift narrative between Spongebob and Patrick, the immigration narrative of Sandy the “Land Mammal” squirrel, and the battle between money and family with Mr. Krabs and Pearl. But making Larry the Lobster a Republican? That is a fucking wild thing to do.

8:32PM: Okay, we’re back and Sara Bareilles wrote a song for Patchy the Pirate which is the right amount of extra for me. I hope she did something fun with her Patchy the Pirate money. I hope she got some bad plastic surgery with half of it, then used the other half to rectify her mistake.

8:45PM: Oh honey, there’s a skateboarding number! And it’s written by Aerosmith! Pearl belts! More than anything, this makes me want to go on the Aerosmith roller coaster at Disney World again, mostly because I love that someone, somewhere, at one point in time, thought that was a good use of money and would age very well.

They’re still skateboarding so I will keep writing about the Aerosmith roller coaster. It has one of the worst intro videos ever played in a waiting area of a roller coaster in which Steven Tyler circa 2000 screams AT the people waiting in line, fires his manager and asks us, the beleaguered audience, if we would like to be his driver. According to the video, WE DO!!!!

8:46PM: I would have been very horny for these skateboard men in my younger years but now I, a full-grown woman, have the wisdom and knowledge to know that the only one I’m hooking up with is Squidward.

8:52PM: Man, Lilli Cooper is so fun as Sandy but all her songs suck. The fact that they would give her the Lady Antebellum song as her showcase piece is violence toward women.

8:55PM: The second act of this show is insanely physical for Spongebob and Sandy! There is an entire song where they are scaling a mountain and belting! I am personally offended that we don’t get to see their abs!!!

8:59PM: Oh. Oh, okay, it’s Squidward’s number. I’ve seen pics. He taps. He wears a suit. Oh.

9:05PM: SQUIDWARD JUST GOT A TWO MINUTE STANDING OVATION FOR HIS TAP NUMBER AND IT WAS SO GOOD AND THERE ARE TEARS STREAMING DOWN MY STUPID FACE WHAT A TALENTED MAN!!!! HE TAPS WITH PROSTHETIC TENTACLES!!!!! I THOUGHT THAT FARQUAAD WAS PEAK BROADWAY PROSTHETIC LEGS BUT THIS NIGHT, I HAVE BEEN PROVEN WRONG!!!!!

9:06PM: Oh my God!!!!!!

9:08PM: I can’t pay attention anymore!!!!!!!!

9:10PM: Literally Squidward!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

9:11PM: By the way, They Might Be Giants wrote that song and it full-on stops the show. It’s so good.

9:12PM: I wish Squidward wasn’t married!!!!!!

9:16PM: Lots and lots of plot in the last fifteen minutes coming up and I’m still having palpitations from Squidward.

9:20PM: “Is mayonnaise an instrument?” got an applause break, which, like, sure.

9:21PM: Okay, another Shrek comparison—Spongebob only uses “Best Day Ever” from the original show as a closer, much like Shrek uses a cover of the Smash Mouth cover of The Animals song “I’m a Believer.” Spongebob does it more effectively, but damn, I need to find a middle school production of Shrek: The Musical to see. I’m having withdrawals.

9:28PM: And that’s a wrap—the plot, um, something something, everything is fine, the government is bad, Spongebob does a flip. It’s good!

9:31PM: SIGNIFICANT SQUIDWARD APPLAUSE BREAK.

And there you have it, folks—I just saved you two hundred dollars and now you can travel across the state to see a local production of Shrek: The Musical instead. You’re welcome!


Jamie Loftus is a comedian and writer. You can find her some of the time, most days at @hamburgerphone (assuming Twitter and the IOC unlock her account) or jamieloftusisinnocent.com.

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