Julie Klausner chats with Rachel Dratch about Debbie Downer, kids, and warm tubs.
Julie Klausner: What is the emost Debbie Downer-ish thing about you?
Rachel Dratch: Though overall I think of myself as a pretty positive person, Debbie Downer does live within me, mainly because I read way too many news websites and fixate on these horrible stories, and then I’ll be out with people and the story will be running through my head, but unlike Debbie D, I censor myself from blurting out my depressing fact. When you are talking to me at a party, chances are I am thinking “Too bad that at this moment herds of elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory. “ WAAAH WAAAAH.
JK: What were you like as a little kid? Besides fucking adorable?
RD: I thank you for that. As a little kid I was very shy. I would hide behind my mother when a stranger said hI to me. But at the same time, I was drawn to movies and shows. I remember seeing things like Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music and thinking, “How do I get to do that? I wanna be one of those von Trapp kids!”
JK: Me, too. Please tell us your side of the story about when you and Amy Poehler went to see Inception while you were both extremely pregnant and you got up to pee and missed the ending.
RD: No, that’s not what happened! We went to see Inception, and as you said, were both quite pregnant. Right from the start I was like, “Oh no. WTF is up with that spinning top, and why do I get the sinking feeling we are never going to find out?” Anyway, I think we were both getting confused by the movie, and losing patience, but not sharing that fact with each other. During the movie Amy gets up to go to the bathroom and when she came back I whispered, “While you were gone they explained everything.”
JK: Amazing. How are you and your kid different?
RD: Hmm. He’s a pickier eater than I am. He’s a little iffy at counting once he gets to 15, while I can count all the way to 100. And he sometimes cries and puts up a fight when it’s time to put his pants on, which I usually don’t do.
JK: I’ve spoken to former SNL castmembers who say they still have bad dreams about sleeping through the show. Do you still have any SNL anxiety dreams?
RD: Wow. Good question! I think I used to have anxiety dreams, where I’m screwing up and in trouble on the show, but now I have these sort of wish-fulfillment dreams, where I’m back on the show and it’s really fun, and I wake up all nostalgic.
JK: When you and Will Ferrell did those “lovahs” sketches in that hot tub, was the water warm? Did anybody ever touch your wet leg underneath the water in an inappropriate way?
RD: The water was warm! And we were eating real roasted meats! No inappropriate touching, though Will used to make these quiet little groaning noises, “Euughhhhhh!! Uahahhhgghhghhgh!,” that only I could hear while others were doing their lines and that’s what set me off laughing in the hot TUB!
JK: Tell me what’s on your DVR right now.
RD: A bunch of Parks and Recs, some 30 Rocks, Watch What Happens Live, Mo Rocca’s show My Grandmother’s Ravioli, because I worked with him on something and I was hearing about these old ladies he was meeting while he was filming. But they may sit there awhile before I watch them. These days I’m always putting the tot to sleep during prime time so I don’t watch many of the “in” shows as they are happening. Then after he’s asleep I watch a LOT of Bravo: Real Housewives, Millionaire Matchmaker, etc. I just want something mindless at that point. No offense to Bravo.
JK: Are you ever upset that you left SNL before they gave you Real Housewives to impersonate?
RD: Well, of course! But I did get to participate in that women-of-SNL episode where we got to do the housewives.
JK: You and Caroline Manzo are each others’ spirit animals, clearly. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since the publication of your book?
RD: I sign all documents, “Rachel Dratch, Authoress.”
JK: How did you prepare for writing your book, besides hang out and be awesome and accumulate stories? Did you read a lot of other memoirs?
RD: I did read a bunch of memoirs. I read some comedy ladies’ books, like Sarah Silverman and Kathy Griffin, and your book! (Which I happened to read before I knew I’d be writing one. But loved your book and gotta say that.) I read others like Frank Bruni “Born Round” and “Dead End Gene Pool” by Wendy Burden, who is a descendant of the Vanderbilts. It was helpful to read them all because you realize all you can do is tell your story in your voice. That’s what all of these people did. So all I had to do was be honest and not worry that I didn’t write like Virginia Woolf. (Confession: I’ve never read any Virginia Woolf.)
JK: Me neither. If you and I went to lunch at a diner, what would you order?
RD: Probably soup and a grilled cheese. Order with the place.
JK: What is your son doing RIGHT NOW?
RD: He’s at preschool. He goes to this Jewish preschool. I’m Jewish and his dad is not. But we are kind of discovering this school is really Jewish. Like he’ll come home and bust out in the Hebrew alphabet and stuff. The other day, John, his dad, was singing Frosty the Snowman and Eli joined in but then somehow he morphed it into Draydel Draydel Draydel.
JK: Good for him! Are you better at taking compliments or criticism?
RD: Oh, compliments! Do people pick “criticism?” Are you telling me that “not being good at taking compliments” is still a thing? That’s bullshit!
JK: No, I agree. Do you miss Oprah? She’s not dead!
RD: OK, you are probably joking with this question, but just yesterday I thought, “I miss Oprah.”
JK: I really do.
RD: Me, too.
This article was originally published February 2013