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Girl Walks into a Bar . . .: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle

3.55  ·  Rating Details  ·  15,254 Ratings  ·  1,073 Reviews
In this side-splitting memoir, the former Saturday Night Live star recounts the hilarious adventures and unexpected joy of dating and becoming a mother when she least expected it-at the age of forty-four. Anyone who saw an episode of Saturday Night Live between 1999 and 2006 knows Rachel Dratch. She was hilarious! So what happened to her? After a misbegotten part as Jenna ...more
Hardcover, 248 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Gotham (first published March 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Amelia Chameleon
Apr 12, 2012 Amelia Chameleon rated it really liked it
One of the better comedy memoirs that I've read in a while. I read it cover to cover on a flight today and had to suppress a few chuckles while me seat mates squirmed uncomfortably. Dratch is such a grounded person that it makes it all the more satisfying that she's found a comedy career. Her likable personality makes this whole book a ton of fun to read. I appreciate her humor and wit and her roll-with-the-punches spirit, not to mention her grasp on the reality of Hollywood. Instead of being bi ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Marnie rated it it was ok
I would probably give this book a 2.5 instead of a 2, if that were possible. I found the first half of this book more interesting than the latter half. Mostly, I think my problem is that I found Dratch less and less relatable as I moved further into the book. I can relate to struggling to do well in a career. I can relate to bad dating experiences and social awkwardness and I can relate to having strangers ask uncomfortable questions. Those aspects of the book were funny and wry and I looked for ...more
Darth J
This book was recommended to me by Amazon when I pre-ordered Amy Poehler's Yes Please. It was cheap for a new hardcover book plus it was authored by one of my favorite SNL ladies. I don't regret buying it.

You may remember Dratch from her various sketches on Saturday Night Live, such as:
Boston Teens

The Lovers

Or my personal favorite, Debbie Downer.

This book chronicles what happened to her pre- and post-SNL. Like did you know she went to Dartmouth and did improv with Tina Fey? Or that the roles she
Oct 23, 2015 Cathryn rated it liked it
Meh. It was OK. Not anything I would write home about. I've started Tina Fey's Bossypants and it's already better in just the first few chapters.

The sections about showbiz and SNL were kind of interesting. Her observations about dating were nothing new but were mildly amusing. The most compelling part in my opinion was the section about discovering she was pregnant at the age of 43 after she had been seeing the guy for 6 months in a long distance relationship. Once she got later in to the pregna
Dec 24, 2012 Jane rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People in the mood for a light, easy, humorous read
Shelves: memoir, humor
Sometimes it's hard to rate completely different types of books on the same rating scale. It's like comparing a fast food restaurant to an expensive restaurant. Of course the food is likely to be better in the expensive restaurant but you're paying more for it so your expectations are higher. Sometimes a book is trying to be literary, takes a lot of effort to read and ends up disappointing because it doesn't hit the mark. (That's how I end up with completely wide ranging books receiving the same ...more
Mar 16, 2016 Naksed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Gosh darn it, I really wanted to like Rachel Dratch's book. Hubby and I still quote from her SNL Debbie Downer character, including those trombone sounds heralding another one of her super negative, inappropriate pronouncements. Her scene with Lindsay Lohan and a number of cast members where they all lose it and start giggling on camera was epic, probably the biggest meltdown the show has ever experienced.

Unfortunately, the most interesting part of Girl walks into a bar , where Dratch recounts
Jason Roselander
Nov 29, 2012 Jason Roselander rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
Another in my line of bad books by people I like. (See also, 2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America)

Not that Girl... is terrible at all. Dratch is eminently likable and sympathetic. She's not a bad writer at all.

She just doesn't have a lot to say. One problem is that the book is made up of about 100 "chapters" which are each two pages long. But mostly it's just that Dratch leaves out the interesting details one typically gets in a showbiz memoir.

I could also be biased about the childbe
Rebecca Brock
Apr 09, 2012 Rebecca Brock rated it really liked it
I've always had a soft spot for Rachel Dratch because she's not the "traditional" actress-type. Plus, she's always funny as hell and willing to go the extra mile for a laugh. She's relatable, I always thought, because she seems real.

Turns out that I was right. Her memoirs have no tragic reveals about her life, no awful memories or life-changing tragedies, but Dratch comes across as a very nice person who happens to not have the beauty queen looks that Hollywood seems to demand. Seeing as how I'm
Jun 17, 2012 Kristin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Poor Rachel Dratch. Poor Rachel Dratch? I don't know what to think about her situation - no one will hire her except for fat lesbian roles (of which she is neither) and she can't find a good man. She's happy with her life, but still writing about the things that suck. I think I feel empathy for her, especially after she got knocked up and didn't know what the hell to do.

This was a really fast read. The middle kind of lags - men in New York are awful daters! What's with these guys? I'll be alone
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I have been working my way through the audiobook memoirs of former SNL women and Rachel Dratch's book was entertaining. I zoned out in the last hour or ninety minutes or so because it was pretty much blah blah blah motherhood, just not anything I cared much about honestly. I appreciated her perspective, her post-SNL experience, and her honesty. I laughed quite a bit while listening.
Andrew Hicks
Sep 07, 2015 Andrew Hicks rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for celebrity memoirs, but I'm practically guaranteed to read any book written by a former Saturday Night Live cast member. So Rachel Dratch's Girl Walks Into a Bar was a shoo-in.

And, yeah, there are a couple good early chapters about Dratch's SNL tenure*. Dratch joined the show in 1999 and hit her apex in 2004 with the legendary Debbie Downer sketch where every performer (except Fred Armisen) succumbs to repeated, uncontrollable laughter**. Dratch covers the incident in her me
Sep 02, 2012 Bandit rated it it was ok
Rachel Dratch spent 7 years on SNL during its golden years, at least in terms of female comics. Some of those comics (more "traditionally good looking") went on to have great success such as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and some dwindled into the obscurity of occasional tiny roles in indie films. Dratch took the second route and in this book I was sort of hoping she'd talk more about that and about her SNL years, but alas after bemoaning her looks and the sort of parts she seems to get now, it fairl ...more
May 25, 2012 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Taken from my blog at

After reading last year's Bossypants by Tina Fey, I was excited to see that her friend and colleague, Rachel Dratch, had also written a memoir. Though also humorous and enjoyable, her memoir does differ in many ways from Bossypants; but fans of hers and of Saturday Night Live will likely still enjoy this one as long as they are okay with some of the focus being on her "midlife miracle". This memoir is also told in two parts. The first part focuses o
Oct 06, 2015 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked up this book after another incredibly funny non-fiction comedy choice and maybe it was because of following the other I didn't find it any where near as good. The entire first part about show business I could have done without, there's a fine line between funny and sounding bitter in which this one seemed to come on the wrong side of. I also lost count of the times she kept going back to 30 Rock, was ready to pull my hair out and scream, OK I get it. I was probably at a 1, maybe 2 star ra ...more
Aug 29, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-memoir
Being essentially retired from show business in her early 40s (as the few roles offered to her were usually some combination of obese, secretary, or someone's elderly lesbian mom), Rachel Dratch decided to get serious about dating, which went not at all well, considering that after she was apparently rejected by a man who spoke very seriously about the merits of cannibalism, her next big date was with a gay man who had already introduced her to his life partner. Then one day she walked into a ba ...more
Michelle Despres
Aug 13, 2014 Michelle Despres rated it really liked it
Recommended to Michelle by: Kerry
Shelves: biography-memoir
I LOL'd 5 times. Not just chuckling but real laughing.

The first part of the book is about her career (and what it's like to be not gorgeous). I'm an SNL fan, but you don't have to be to enjoy reading the behind the scenes scoop of the show and the biz in general. How she got there was interesting. Dartmouth, really?

The second part of the book is about dating. I felt that her stories were different enough to be quite funny. Again, I liked the perspective of what it's like to be in the biz but n
i felt that this memoir was just a touch on the skimpy side--it only took me two or three hours to read it. but i enjoyed it. i was probably disappointed because i want more. rachel starts by writing about what she's been up to career-wise since leaving "saturday night live". answer: trying to maintain her self-esteem after being offered a long string of lesbian characters, secretary characters, morbidly obese characters, & some combination thereof. she has a lot of insightful, funny things ...more
Oct 03, 2012 Amy rated it it was amazing
*SPOILER ALERT* I really enjoyed Rachel's story. I've read Tina Fey & Mindy Kaling's memoirs. They were both funny...what you'd expect from comedians. I was surprised at the poignancy of Rachel Dratch's story. For me, I found a lot of her story relatable to my own life. I appreciated the raw, honesty of her life's ups and downs. I admire her ability to take a life that didn't turn out how she'd hoped but still able to find joy and appreciation for how her life is. It's a reminder that true h ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Jennie rated it really liked it
Let's just get this out of the way: Rachel Dratch is hilarious. She should be more famous. She should be known for more than Debbie Downer and "that 'SNL' lady who got kicked off of '30 Rock'." Remember when she played that baby with the arm on its head? COME ON.

Girl Walks into a Bar... is Rachel Dratch's memoir and, in it, she addresses the whole "30 Rock" kerfuffle, her career post-SNL (or lackthereof, as it mainly consists of her playing lesbian roommates and undesirable dates in terrible com
Vanessa Fox
May 07, 2012 Vanessa Fox rated it liked it
I lot of people liked this book, but it was really about 2.5 stars for me. I found it really boring. It just sort of went on and on with not much point. I felt like she had a chip on her shoulder about having such famous friends known for being funny and somehow that had past her by because of Hollywood beauty standards.

I came across a Slate article reviewing the book that pointed out that maybe her style of comedy just works better in short sketches vs. longer mediums (like TV shows or movies)
Jan 25, 2015 Robin rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
I feel like I need to open my review with a disclaimer. Rachel Dratch is really funny and seems like a genuinely down-to-earth person. Maybe since I read Tina Fey's book first I had high expectations for this one. Then again it's not really fair to compare Fey and Dratch as their common link lies only in Second City improv and SNL. Both are incredibly funny women but both lead different lives.

If you want to read about behind the scenes of SNL footage told by Rachel, you're not going to get a lo
Marie Michaels
Oct 12, 2012 Marie Michaels rated it really liked it
It's a lot more personal than Bossypants by Tina Fey, though the first while is her slow and steady rise through comedy to SNL. What strikes me is how archetypally New York-y she is even though she was raised in Boston and lived in LA and Chicago (but obvs now New York), not in the glamorous Sex and the City sense but being a cool, funny, smart person you'd love to hang out with. Not that they aren't those everywhere, but I dunno, something about having a ton of lady friends and a ton of gay fri ...more
Apr 25, 2013 Ashley rated it liked it
From my Cannonball Read V review:

I see two fellow Cannonballers have reviewed this book so far; their reviews actually reminded me that I wanted to pick up this book. Once again I chose the audio book route (at the end of the year I should put together a post comparing all the female-written and -read memoirs I've listened to this year) and am really happy I did.

As the other reviewers have pointed out, the focus of the book isn't so much a behind-the-scenes SNL expose; yes that gets coverage as
Apr 18, 2012 Jenny rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
This reminded me very much of Mindy Kaling's book in the sense that the first half of it seemed far more fleshed out - like just the years having gone by gave her a bit of distance and she was able to be a bit funnier and more thoughtful about an experience. However, the second half of recent years was still more fleshed out than the second half of Mindy's book. But there still felt like something was missing. The chapters were so short towards the end. I guess if I could sum it up I'd say the f ...more
Jul 30, 2016 Fabian rated it really liked it
She somehow out-Bridgets Bridget (Jones, that is), with the uncanny ability to outCarrie Carrie B. Dratch is a New Yorker--a woman who has done her share of looking for Mister Right, although in a less cutesy, more down to earth way. I love HER!!!!

The hierarchy goes something like this (with various omissions--sorry):

Joan: will berate you AND your mother
Sarah: will tell everyone something embarrassing about you
Mindi: kills you with NICE
Jenny McCarthy: cutest (plays gross no mo)

and then Dratch, s
Mar 03, 2016 Darcy rated it really liked it
What a lovely book. Rachel Dratch is delightfully candid and vulnerable about her life experience and I really enjoyed hearing her tell her story. And what a surprising turn of events that she springs on us... I won't tell you 'cause you should read it!
Oct 16, 2015 Katie rated it liked it
Really cute! I think the casual style it's written in started to irk me a bit halfway through, but otherwise this is a fun and quick read, if not a smidge unnecessary.
Paula Mccandlis
Apr 19, 2015 Paula Mccandlis rated it really liked it
This review will not make any sense unless you also read Tina Fey's book and Amy Poehler's book. Rachel Dratch's book triumphs where Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's books fail. Funny and honest Rachel chronicles her career and love life. When I think of Tina's book all I can recall is that she had a strong thing with her dad. When I think of Amy's book I felt like she phoned it in - especially when she kept commenting on how difficult it is to write a book. Please Amy, your getting paid, and I bought ...more
Apr 10, 2015 SeeAmandaRead rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015-read
4.5/5 Stars

I really enjoyed this book! I've read Bossypants (Tina Fey), Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (Mindy Kaling), and Yes Please (Amy Poehler), but Girl Walks into a Bar was by far my favourite. Who knew I was such a Rachel Dratch fan?

What I Liked

Rachel's self-deprecating humour - very amusing/humble.


Rachel's honesty. I felt she was very honest and open in this book (even when the stories were embarrassing or not so flattering for her). It really made me connect with her. I feel like I
Allie Larkin
Jun 04, 2013 Allie Larkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I listened to the audio version of GIRL WALKS INTO A BAR on a day spent almost entirely in the car and was actually sad to get home and save the rest for another day. Rachel Dratch is excellent company. The book is very well-written and completely delightful. I'll probably listen to it all over again at some point.
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“How did I think of that?" I wondered. I didn't feel like I had thought of it. It's a sort of flow that happens when you are completely in the moment and not getting in your own way. Not trying so hard, not planning ahead, just getting out of your own head and letting the magic happen. You could apply this to any activity, of course. You could apply it to life.” 8 likes
“When we were sprung fro the hos[ital, we waited at the elevator with two other couples, who seemed as dazed and clueless as we were. We were all being set free to care for the tiny creatures and just figure this out on our own. Looking at our faces, I wondered how the human race continues to survive.” 3 likes
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