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 on the pilot of 30 Rock, Dratch was only getting offered roles as "Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians."
Her career at a low point, Dratch suddenly had time for yoga, dog- sitting, learning Spanish-and dating. After all, what did a forty- something single woman living in New York have to lose? Resigned to childlessness but still hoping for romance, Dratch was out for drinks with a friend when she met John.
Handsome and funny, after only six months of dating long-distance, he became the inadvertent father of her wholly unplanned, undreamed-of child, and moved to New York to be a dad. With riotous humor, Dratch recounts breaking the news to her bewildered parents, the awe of her single friends, and the awkwardness of a baby-care class where the instructor kept tossing out the f-word.
Filled with great behind-the-scenes anecdotes from Dratch's time on SNL, Girl Walks into a Bar... is a refreshing version of the "happily ever after" story that proves female comics-like bestsellers Tina Fey and Chelsea Handler-are truly having their moment.
Rachel Susan Dratch is an American actress, comedian, producer, and writer. Born and raised in Lexington, Massachusetts, she graduated from Dartmouth College in 1988 and moved to Chicago, Illinois, to study improvisational theatre at The Second City and ImprovOlympic.
Her breakthrough came on the NBC television show Saturday Night Live (SNL), where she was a cast member from 1999 to 2006. In addition to her work on SNL, she has appeared as a guest star in television shows such as The King of Queens and 30 Rock, as well as films such as Click and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.
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 bitter and angry that she's not the "funny best friend" in every movie, she gracefully navigates the show business reality that she's going to be offered more narrow roles (lesbian old ladies) and I appreciate her acceptance of it rather than raging against it.
I sincerely hope to see more of Dratch in the future and I solemnly swear that if I ever meet her in person NOT to ask about "what happened with 30 Rock." ;)
I stopped watching SNL after the original cast trickled away, so this woman's years on that show meant nothing to me.
It was during one of the early episodes of 30 Rock that I first noticed her playing a cat wrangler.
It was a small part, played by a small actress, and yet . . . I noticed her.
So, why'd I buy this book? Well, it was $1.97 at BAM for starters. But, I've always had a fascination with ordinary-looking women who manage to make it in beauty-obsessed Hollywood. Women like Kathy Bates and Kristen Schaal who look like they'd be more at home working behind the counter at the bank than on the big (or little) screen. Women who are never the lead, but comfortable in the role of "funny best friend." Women who, well, as Rachel puts it:
I am offered solely the parts that I like to refer to as The Unfuckables.
In reality, if you saw me walking down the street, you wouldn't point at me and recoil and throw up and hide behind a shrub. But by Hollywood standards, I'm a troll, ogre, woodland creature . . .
Rachel tells her life's tale, or as far as it had progressed by 2012, from humble beginnings in a Massachusetts' suburb, to her humble appearances on stage and screen. (Get it? She's humble. I like that in an actress.) We learn of her nights on SNL and her days on 30 Rock, where she was originally cast as "Jenna," but ended up making what amounted to several guest appearances. A few chapters concern the horrors of dating; they were cringe-inducing enough to make me glad to have been married for the last 25 years. And then, at age 43, Rachel is stunned to learn she is pregnant. This was my favorite part of the book - oh, the memories! I had forgotten all about the allure of teeny-tiny baby pants!
There you have it - basically a piece of fluff, written by a pretty nice person.
I can understand why Rachel Dratch isn't beloved by the masses and getting lead roles in blockbuster rom-coms. I get that. But the woman tickles my funnybone and that's all that matters to me!
Perhaps it's partly that we're both from Massachusetts and I can't help but root for a hometown gal, but really what I really love is her off-beat humor and those out-of-left-field characters she's known for.
Qrplt*xk, the mutant offspring of Angelina Jolie and her brother
If you're not a Dratch fan why are you here? This is not the book for you. If you're hoping for some SNL insights, yeah, you'll get some in Girl Walks into a Bar, but they're limited to her experiences on the show and she doesn't do a lot of dirt-dishing. She is great at framing a story and she's got plenty of showbiz tales to tell. The first third of the book is about her journey up to SNL and the "What happened with 30 Rock?" aftermath. That is topnotch, fun stuff! Very well-written and performed on the audiobook.
The later two-thirds take on a much more personal tone and the subject matter veers off on another course. I'm being vague as not to spoil the content for potential readers. Suffice to say, if you're a Dratch fan, this second movement of the autobio should retain your interest. If you're not a fan, it'll probably be hit-or-miss whether or not you're interested in the specific topic(s) she dwells upon. I'll go so far as to say it's heavily relationship related.
The wife and I listened to this over the course of three long car rides and we enjoyed it so much we were actually looking forward to jumping back in the car asap!
I'm not a SNL or Rachel Dratch super-fan, but I love listening to autobiography-ish audiobooks and so I picked this one up.
This book is notable because it's so easy to listen to. It isn't groundbreaking, and I couldn't even tell you what it was really about, but it was like having a one-sided conversation with a good friend. I didn't want to stop listening!
*~~Check out all of my reviews & my bookstagram at the links below~~*
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 forward to reading more.
The latter half of the book starts getting more into her experiences with psychics and spirit guides and shared dreams with her boyfriend and chiropractic and spells to turn her breech baby around. It becomes a story of a women who doesn't appear to have to reconsider her career path when her old one is fizzling out, but who can live in NYC and possibly raise a child on her own. These are her experiences and that's fine, it just wasn't written in a way that I could relate to and by the end, I found myself almost skimming, to get to the end.
I've read a couple other books by smart and funny women. Both Tina Fey and Jenny Lawson discuss their work, love and parenting experiences and while they are different than my own life experiences, I connected with the authors. In this case, the further I got into the book, the less I related to the author. It ultimately seemed to be a book about getting to parenthood and while that's a wonderful and rewarding experience for Dratch, it's not a particularly interesting subject matter for me and it was a bit of a let down for someone whose life was so much more complex and interesting earlier in the book.
Perhaps it is all just written too soon after the life changing experience of motherhood, in the same way that her story would have been different if she were writing about SNL, right after starting there. It takes time to process such a fundamentally life changing event and she is funniest when she's had some time to reflect and find more of the humor of her life.
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
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 is offered now are usually in the vein of someone's mom, an obese secretary, or a stereotyped lesbian? And that she is annoyed by that kind of typecasting?
I'll be honest in saying that this book was a lot funnier and better written than I thought it would be. Her quirky sense of humor shines through with an oddball strength that her characters are known for. If you enjoyed her on SNL, then you'll probably like this book.
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 also not of the beauty queen variety, I could relate to her struggles to get out of the "wacky lesbian/secretary/best friend" roles. Dratch writes with an easy humor that feels like a friend telling you a story. I finished the book in one evening because the pages just rolled by...plus her story--including her unexpected pregnancy at the age of 44--was so interesting and well-told.
She somehow out-Bridgets Bridget (Jones that is), with the uncanny ability to also out-Carrie 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 of comediennes-gone-literary 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, somewhere near Mindi on the scale, she is, yes, Your Homegirl. Just totally egoless, but eager to accept that yes, she is an underdog. And like my boyfriend likes to say, "an underdog is never an underdog if they are FUNNY." I am a FAN !!!!
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 3 star rating.) In this case, I wasn't looking for a gourmet meal. I was in the mood for a guaranteed, easy breezy, light read and that is what I got. I wanted McDonalds and it hit the spot. I actually barely knew of Rachel Dratch before reading this book so I don't think that was a requirement for enjoying the book. I had a few laugh out loud moments, many smiles and found her to be honest and likeable the rest of the time. And that's all I hoped for.
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 pregnancy and motherhood sections it went back to being meh.
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.
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 her life during her Second City improv days and her stint at SNL is very short. The rest consists of very banal, boring, and sometimes cringe-inducing minutiae of her personal life.
It still could have been funny if her point of view on single life, baby showers, and feral dogs were infused with humor but the jokes fell flat, or worse, were downright embarrassing, like when she whines for the umpteenth time about her lack of love life and then pretends that her foster dog is her new lover, or when she tallies the number of times she burps and farts in front of her boyfriend. A painfully long bit about a red dildo in her dresser was terrible. No. Just no.
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.
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 forever! - but the last few chapters are laugh-out-loud funny and definitely worth 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 memoir, of course, but she spends more time explaining the origin of the Debbie character. And she spends almost the entire book talking about her life post-SNL.
Dratch left SNL in 2006 to take a co-starring role on fellow Second City and SNL alum Tina Fey's show 30 Rock. Dratch shot the pilot, then next thing she knew a story exploded in the press that Dratch's role had been recast with the more traditionally beautiful Jane Krakowski, and does this mean you and your friend Tina hate each other now? And how does it feel to be too ugly for Hollywood, Rachel?
According to Dratch, the 30 Rock debacle was all anyone wanted to know about for years, from the media to friends to strangers. And afterward, she couldn't get work -- the only parts she was offered were obese lesbian women in their fifties, universally, across the board.
Nailing the tone with this type of subject matter is tricky, but Dratch never comes off as self-pitying, indignant or bitter. The self-deprecation here is equal parts bewildered and ain't-it-silly? Dratch has none of the inflated ego that's usually inherent in celebrity memoirs, that "you'll only catch my good side, and isn't my good side great?" approach. She comes across as humble, intelligent and, most of all, endearing.
The downside is, for those of us who love reading celeb nonfiction, there's barely and glitz and glamour. The stories and experiences, a lot of them, seem awfully ordinary. More than half the book takes place in the world of dating, pregnancy and early parenthood. The upside is, Dratch has a refreshing candor, and her outlook is both optimistic and uniquely funny. GWIAB isn't great, but it is worth reading, and you'll spend it rooting for the talented everywoman who wrote it.
* = My favorite little nugget: She's sitting on a bench in the hallway with Lorne Michaels. Dratch has had two auditions and several meetings with Lorne and the other producers. She still doesn't know if she has the job. On the bench, Lorne mentions that, in the old days, maybe if Candice Bergan hosts, then Jane Curtin has less to do that week. Rachel's inner monologue is like, "And the way he said that made me think I was hired, but he wouldn't just come out and say so. And I couldn't just ask him. So I didn't know for sure, and it was driving me crazy!"
** = This particular SNL episode was on my TiVo for years, delete-proof. The Debbie Downer sketch never fails to make me laugh till I leak tears of joy, but there's also a great sketch in a car with Horatio Sanz as a sloppy-drunk Billy Joel chauffering a backseat full of rich girls around town as part of his court-ordered community service.
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 comedies), and her late-in-life pregnancy, all with candor, humility, and OBVIOUSLY a great sense of humor.
For those who are not familiar with "30 Rock," the facts are these: Rachel Dratch was cast as Jenna Maroney, she shot the pilot, and then they (they as in NBC suits, I guess?) decided to "go in a different direction," and so they recast her with Jane Krakowski. The decision was made, according to THE MAN, because the character didn't test well, and Rachel (I call her Rachel, because we're friends now) was out.
I very vaguely remember this being a thing, and people saying that it was because she's not as hot as Jane Krakowski or whatever, but Rachel says it's the kind of thing that happens all the time, and we shouldn't be bitter on her behalf. I think she's just being a good person. I mean, she doesn't sound bitter at all about this, whereas most people would have burned NBC to the ground (see also: Conan O'Brien), and, yeah, maybe she was pretty pissed when it happened, but now she sounds very well-adjusted about it.
Still. It seems unfair that Rachel Dratch isn't as famous as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. All three were on SNL together, the three are friends (as much as I can tell from the internet and this book), and yet it's Amy and Tina who are the power comedy couple. Rachel is the Cinderella to their wicked step-sisters, except not really because they don't seem wicked, they seem AWESOME, and really I just want to hang out with all three of them, is that too much to ask?
For those who might read Girl Walks Into a Bar hoping for a backstage tell-all of SNL, with tales of drugs and sex and backstabbing, this is not the book for you (for some of that, check out this article). Rachel talks about her time on SNL, of course, and how she ended up there and what happened to her afterward, but she has nothing but nice things to say about her fellow cast members and she doesn't spend any time dishing any dirt on anyone. If that's what you're looking for, I don't know, go become friends with Bill Murray or something. (But if you do that, please let me know how, because I would also like to be friends with Bill Murray.)
Anyway, things turned out OK for Rachel. Don't feel bad for her or anything. She has a lasting legend thanks to Debbie Downer and her time on SNL, her baby is adorable, she seems happy with where she is in life, plus she made some awesome appearances on "Billy On the Street". SHE DOESN'T NEED YOUR PITY, OK.
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 it is part of her life but it's only part of her story. It's interesting, it's well-told, and it provides some insight into that world, but it was only about seven years of her life, so it makes sense to not spend the entire book on that time period.
Ms. Dratch strikes me as pretty laid back, cool lady. She's funny, entertaining, and can write really well. She also strikes me as one of the most self-aware humans on the planet. Pretty close to the beginning of the book, she starts talking about the 30 rock 'incident.' I could hear the exhaustion in her voice, and I don't blame her. I cannot imagine how frustrating and annoying (not to mention hurtful at times) it must be to be responsible for some hilarious roles and yet have her still most talked about role be 'getting fired' from 30 rock.
And to be clear - she's really not hung up on it. She talks about it because we're interested in it. But because the implication, the suggestion in hushed (and not so hushed) tones in the celebrity media, is that she lost out because she is not as attractive as Jane Krakowski, it's repeatedly mentioned when Ms. Dratch's name comes up. Can you imagine that something that was a bummer for you (losing a job because of a decision to have a different type of character in that position) becomes some giant (celebrity) news story about how you aren't pretty enough? Ugh. She's gracious in telling the story, and while others might be skeptical, I believe that she's made her peace with it and really wishes the rest of us would just move on.
Some of the best parts of this memoir are her discussions about the types of work she is now offered and about her relationship with her son's father John. Seriously, the entire final third of the book, while not really talking much at all about SNL or 30 Rock, is some of the best writing and the most interesting. I had dinner plans Monday night and was pretty annoyed that my friend showed up just as Ms. Dratch narrated that she'd just checked the pregnancy test and there were two stripes. I knew what was going to happen next (I mean, I knew she had a kid so assumed this was the start of that story), but the writing and the delivery of the words was so compelling I really did not want to turn it off.
I'd definitely recommend this book to others. It's not particularly long (5 1/2 hours on audio; most of the books I've listened to have been between 6 and 8 hours) but it's interesting, clever and sweet.
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 on Dratch's career, starting at Second City (where Fey worked as well) and eventually joining SNL; the second part focuses on the surprising and miraculous thing that happens to her in her 40's.
I was a little vague there, but it's no surprise what happens -- Dratch appeared on talk shows discussing this, and it's on the book flap. Basically, after coming to grips with the fact that her childbearing years were long gone, Dratch, at the age of 43, became pregnant and had a child with a man that she randomly met in a bar. (I was led to believe it was literally a one night stand that produced her child, but there was a little more to it than that...). Her thoughts on having a child were fun to read about, and though mothers will relate and I'm not a mother, I still found it enjoyable because of her humor and because of the circumstances. Plus, there was also a lot of relating to her quips before getting pregnant, the frustrations with baby showers, etc.
Even though much of the first part of the book was a lead up to the focus of the story, I found it interesting as well. She gave a lot of background information about SNL such as what the comedians' jobs are from Sunday through Friday and the process of having their sketches chosen for the show. She answered the questions everyone has been asking her about what happened to her being on 30 Rock. I hadn't realized it until I read Bossypants, but Dratch was supposed to have played the role of Jenna (one of the main roles in the show!) She talked about her inability to find any good roles in Hollywood after leaving SNL and being typecast as a lesbian or one offer to play "the world's ugliest woman" or something along those lines. Dratch's humor is very self-deprecating which at times was funny but at other times made me sad. But Hollywood is a tough place for the most beautiful and confident of people, and Dratch's musings had unfortunate truth to them.
I'm glad I read this; Girl Walks Into a Bar was a fun quick read that fans of SNL and of Rachel Dratch are sure to enjoy.
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) and the author didn't find her very funny generally. I don't find her brand of comedy to be my thing either and it definitely is the case that sketch comedy typically doesn't translate well into longer formats. She doesn't even consider this possibility in the book and comes across as not being very self-aware.
I felt a similar lack of self-awareness in her relationships. For instance, she describes one encounter with a guy who she thought was asking her out on a date and when she finally meets up with him for a drink, she realizes that he's gay (and in fact, he had introduced her to his partner earlier). Her conclusion is that clearly he just wanted to spend time with a famous person and was using her to have a star moment or whatever. At no point in this story or other, similar stories, does she consider that perhaps this is how people's lives generally go and that sometimes, someone might want to hang out with you and be your friend just because they find you to be an interesting, likable person.
So anyway. Mostly I found this book irritating and tedious. The end.
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 childbearing stuff because we just had our first child a year ago so we read a ton on this topic before and after. Dratch's story, while nice, isn't particularly revealing or interesting by comparison.
If I had one word to describe this book it would be underwhelming. Rachel Dratch, known to many as Debbie Downer, is probably my favorite female cast member of SNL of all time. So I was expecting to enjoy reading her book and like it more than some of the other female comedians who have come out with memoirs. Unfortunately, while I wouldn't say it's a bad book, there's just nothing really interesting about it either.
I think part of the problem is the book mainly focused on her dating life and becoming a mother in her forties. There's certainly laughs sprinkled throughout the book but as a whole the stories are not that more interesting than the average joe or jane's dating life. I say this as a compliment, Rachel seems like a very normal and likable person who you would like to have as a friend, but in terms of reading about her life outside of show biz it just doesn't make for a good read. I would have loved to read more about her time on SNL and her career. One thing I did like about the book is she did address her firing from 30 Rock so it finally puts to rest some of the crazy rumors that were circulating at the time.
So if you really love books about dating and motherhood than give this book a try. If you are looking for a hilarious celebrity memoir with a ton of behind the scenes gossip, give this book a pass.
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 fairly quick autobiographical basic set up, the SNL years take up a relatively small portion of the book. Majority of it seems to be dedicated to her dating struggles and eventual pregnancy and a baby fairly late in life. So, really the book's title is very accurate, comedy portion takes up third or maybe even less. Somehow I expected more from a comedianne, it would certainly make a book more interesting to me. The woes of dating are just not that interesting or original. And oddly enough, not that funny. I definitely expected funnier writing from Dratch, subject matter aside. Reader beware, this first and foremost is a book about having an unexpected baby late in life. Laughs are a distant third.
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 not a starlet and to try to date.
The third part of the book is about her pregnancy and being a mom. In her case, it's new material and funny.
The pacing of the book is good, and it felt cohesive. It's not a bunch of random stories thrown together to make a book. Based on what I read, she and I are incredibly different from each other, which resulted in a wonderfully entertaining story. (Other readers may appreciate that they can relate.)
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 rating for the book at that point.
Thankfully though it did pick up for me after the show biz section. The little snippets of her life held some truly funny moments. A few times I was really laughing out loud, the male appendage dreams, the moments with the unexpected pregnancy... who knew the pull out method truly didn't work? Hilarious. Lots of other little bits here and there brought my rating up by the end.
This was my latest attempt at listening to a book. My past attempts have not been successful. No matter if I was in my car, my bed or living room, my mind would wander and I would find myself having to rewind or relisten so many times, it wasn't worth it. I am happy to say that I did fairly well and managed to listen to Rachel Dratch read her book without losing my focus. I am hopeful I can do it again although I will always prefer reading a book than listening to one. I like Rachel Dratch. I liked her on SNL and I liked her on 'The King of Queens.' She talks a bit about her SNL days and doesn't talk about her work on 'KoQ' at all (which is rather telling in itself.) But, imagine my surprise to find out that this book is mostly about her experience at having a baby at 44. Good for her, but I am not interested in stories about babies, having babies, etc. I knew by the time I was a teenager that I would not want or have children. I'm happy for her since she is extremely happy about this miracle (as she calls it) but it's a subject that doesn't interest me, so if I had known before hand, I probably wouldn't have read it. On the other hand, Rachel Dratch is a very likable every woman type and if you don't mind a lot of 'having a baby' talk, I think most would enjoy it. I will admit that my heartstrings were touched to hear how crazy, especially her father, are about their grandson. This baby is very blessed with a great family.
Right out of the gate, Dratch addresses her career, or lack there of, post-SNL. Consistently offered the roles of what she refers to as the “Unfuckables.” How horrible it must feel to be best known for not being beautiful (i.e. normal looking). Hollywood is so dumb and delusional. A natural storyteller, she takes us briefly through her career then shifts focus to her personal life and becoming a parent. A decent, quick listen.
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 to say about the perils of trying be a working actor when maybe you're not the most traditionally beautiful lady on the block. it's all very dry, almost self-deprecating, but somehow manages never to verge into self-pity. she walks a very fine line but stays on the right side of it.
& then she writes about how she wound up in a reasonably casual long-distance relationship & got pregnant on accident, even over the age of forty. she decided to take a chance & have the baby &...yeah. anyone who follows my reviews knows this is the real reason i read the boo. i'm totally in that stage of life where i wil will read ANYTHING that has anything to do with babies or pregnancy. if it manages to be amusing, so much the better! rachel is a professional funny person, which made her stories more engaging & memorable than a lot of so-so funny parenting memoirs out there. my favorite part was where she wrote about waking up in the middle of the night & stumbling into the living room clad in nothing but her nursing pillow, & having her still-new-relationship baby daddy see her like that. she described herself as having the posture of the famous bigfoot photograph, only slightly less hairy. i laughed really hard at that--especially being pregnant myself & knowing that at some point, you seriously do not give a shit about your dignity anymore. when you have to sit next to your partner in the obstetrician's waiting room holding a jar of pee on your lap in a paper bag like a baloney sandwich, there's just no sense pretending anymore. (the first time i gave a paper bag urine sample at my doctor's office, i actually told all the nurses, "that's my pee, not lunch, so look out." it got a surprisingly huge laugh.)
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 lot of that which is clearly stated in the beginning of her book. Her childhood I enjoyed reading about but the main premise of the book is having a child at 44 and meeting her baby's father in a bar one evening (hence the title of the book). It's a more personal account told through the comedienne's point of view.
Maybe I thought it was okay, giving it two stars because I'm not in that phase of my life. Maybe because I'm such a control freak I'd want marriage, being married for a year, and then a child when her life didn't turn out in those steps (and everyone's doesn't which is a-okay when things work out).
I think too much was revealed in this book (moments of TMI) where Tina's revealed so little giving it a bit of mystery. I don't know. Hopefully Amy Poehler comes out with a book next or Wiig, or Rudolph because I'd buy them all.
In the meantime hopefully Dratch can return to the stage or screen where she won't be type-casted as an obese person who has to put her spin on things (you'll get the reference if you read the book).
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 friends but baaaaad luck with boyfriends, being Jewish in more of a cultural than religious sense, being a liiiiiiittle New Age-y, being so entrenched in liberal NY that it's a genuine shock to find out that someone she likes is not, being pretty in normal-vision but an ogre in Hollywood-vision... all seems very New York-y. And what the title calls her "Mid-life miracle" definitely feels like something archetypally NY-y. It makes me want to see her in things and then have a drink with her. She comes across as intensely relatable because I empathize with a lot of her issues... but way funnier about it than I am.