This wacky musical was inspired by Mario Kart and Neil Diamond


One of this season’s funniest musicals got its start from … Mario Kart.

So say David Rossmer and Steve Rosen, the writers and stars of off-Broadway’s “The Other Josh Cohen.” In Los Angeles eight years ago, the night before pitching their TV pilot, they figured a little Mario action would calm their nerves.

Modal TriggerPlaywrights: David Rossmer, Steve Rosen authors of “The Other Josh Cohen”, outside Westside Theater. 407 W 43rd St,
Rosen and Rossmer outside the Westside Theater, 407 W. 43rd St., ManhattanStefano Giovannini
“But we never ended up playing it,” Rossmer says, “because the music sounded like a Neil Diamond song!” They pulled a guitar from the wall, and before dawn broke over the Hollywood sign, they had written seven Diamond-esque tunes.

Well, sort of: The lyrics came from takeout-food menus from places like Manna Korean BBQ. And while their TV pilot never took off (“The woman we met got fired four days later,” says Rosen), they’d started on a musical. With its quirky, New York-y plot set to music — a poor, lovelorn guy receives a mysterious check in the mail — it’s been described as “Seinfeld” meets Rodgers and Hart.

“We started writing it for nothing but our own joy,” Rossmer tells The Post. “We were both single and feeling unlucky in love, and needed to cheer ourselves up.”