Rachel Dratch: Life after SNL

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April 9, 2012

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Rachel Dracht and Callie Crossley (Abbie Ruzicka/WGBH)

BOSTON — Lexington, Mass. native Rachel Dratch began her career in comedic acting on the mainstage at famed improv house Second City in Chicago. From there, she earned a coveted spot among comic actors: a 7-year run as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. Dratch came to WGBH to talk about her new book, a midlife memoir that chronicles what happens to a comedian when the roles and gigs go away, Girl Walks into a Bar... Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle.

Although Dratch says she still has those "pinch me moments" from her time at SNL, it wasn't the ticket to endless success she might have wished for. Instead, she started to get calls to play the tough, unattractive female characters. "I wasn't getting called in to play the lipstick lesbians," Dratch says of the gnarly parts she received from the casting offices. As she tries to avoid getting typecast, however, she says she is happy about a recent pilot she acted in, where she plays "the odd friend."

What's really impacted Dratch's life in such a way that she felt it deserved its own memoir is her imminent entry into motherhood. Dratch shares many a hilarious moment about her dating life, and agrees with Callie in the end that good things show up when you're not looking for them — like a great guy who can change your life. But she hasn't lost her sympathy for women out there still wondering if they'll start a family. In fact, she kinda rushed through opening her baby shower gifts for just that reason.
There are people who like baby showers: women in their 20s, grandmas to be, people who already have babies and people who love to look at stuff. These are 'the Shower People.' There are people who hate baby showers: women in their late 30s to early 40s who think they might want kids but haven't met the right guy yet (a.k.a., me!); also, people who don't like looking at stuff and have to pass it around and say, 'Oh, it's a shirt, only it's a tiny shirt!' or 'It's pants, only they're tiny!' (a.k.a., me!). This deadly combo made me really have to steel myself to go to a baby shower.

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