In The Mix

Crazy Daze

Vincent Rodriguez III is putting together a career.

Liane Bonin Starr
  • Steve Schofield

Vincent Rodriguez III, who plays the affable love interest Josh Chan in the CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is waiting on a furniture delivery to his new apartment. "Spoiler alert," he says. "I'm going to put together a table and Instagram it."

Fans of the show will quickly get the reference — a recent episode in which Josh bought a table for his high-maintenance fiancee, Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz), only to be flummoxed by the tricky IKEA construction. Rodriguez, a first-generation Filipino-American, isn't so easily undone. "My Josh days are long ago," he says, laughing.

The actor and his character have a few things in common — Rodriguez says they're both nice, friendly and work out — but he's too driven to fully embody Chan's laid-back attitude.

Rodriguez grew up near San Francisco with New York dreams. "I wanted to be a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a Power Ranger, but I also wanted to sing in the rain and dance in the park." He spent more than a decade in the off-Broadway trenches. "I didn't want to do an Asian role in an Asian show for the first five years," he says. "I didn't want to be pigeonholed. I wanted people to see me as an actor."

Likewise, he was curious to know why his Girlfriend character was Asian — and learned that co-creator and star Rachel Bloom had once had "a huge crush" on an Asian "surfer dude" while growing up in southern California.

As Rodriguez awaited word about a potential second season for Girlfriend, he admitted to some chagrin. "I'm a little embarrassed to say my doors aren't being beaten down. But I think casting directors are more open to non-traditional choices, and that makes me feel pretty good. I think this is the time."

In March the CW announced a second season for his series. But until production begins, Rodriguez can stay busy: "I've got some furniture to put together."