Dratch at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Teacher of the Year
|Born||Rachel Susan Dratch
February 22, 1966
Lexington, Massachusetts, U.S.
Rachel Susan Dratch (born February 22, 1966) 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 improv 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. Besides 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. In 2012, she published her autobiographical book Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters and a Midlife Miracle.
Her younger brother, Daniel, is a television producer and writer, most recently on Monk. Dratch grew up the "class clown type", attending William Diamond Middle School and Lexington High School in Massachusetts. During an appearance on Employee of the Month, Dratch said that even in her high school's plays she gravitated towards participating in comedies over dramas.
Dratch attended the National Theater Institute at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center in the fall of 1986, and graduated from Dartmouth College in 1988, where she majored in drama and psychology and was a member of the improvisational comedy group "Said and Done".
Dratch was a member of the mainstage cast of the Second City comedy troupe for four years. She received the Joseph Jefferson award for Best Actress in a Revue for the latter two revues in which she performed: Paradigm Lost and Promisekeepers, Losers Weepers. At Second City, she performed alongside future SNL head writers Adam McKay and Tina Fey, as well as future 30 Rock performer Scott Adsit. The first incarnation of her SNL "Wicked" sketch was performed in Second City's Paradigm Lost. In addition to acting, Dratch also played the cello onstage. The theater also hosted the first incarnation of Dratch & Fey (her critically praised two-woman show with Tina Fey), which was later performed at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York, where it was dubbed "the funniest thing to be found on any New York comedy stage" by Time Out New York.
Dratch has appeared in several movies, including Martin & Orloff, The Hebrew Hammer, Down with Love, Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star, Click, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Spring Breakdown, and My Life in Ruins. She also has joined fellow SNL cast members on A.S.S.S.S.C.A.T.: Improv, which aired September 7, 2005, on the Bravo channel. Dratch also made television appearances on NBC's Third Watch and in a recurring role on King of Queens (playing Denise, the on-off girlfriend of Spence, who worked in a bowling alley). Other television appearances include Monk, Frasier, Wizards of Waverly Place, 30 Rock, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Inside Amy Schumer, Ugly Betty, and, more recently, in season five of The Middle. She recently appeared online with comedian Billy Eichner in a spoof of Jay-Z's and Alicia Keys's "Empire State of Mind", titled "Forest Hills State of Mind."
Dratch was originally cast in the role of Jenna on 30 Rock, and the original pilot episode features her in the role. It did not test well, and the role was recast. She went on to play a variety of small guest roles in several episodes of the first season, including Barbara Walters, Elizabeth Taylor, a cat trainer, a custodian, a blue monster, and a doctor.
On March 19, 2012, Dratch's memoir, Girl Walks Into A Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle was published. In Girl Walks Into A Bar... Dratch recounts her experiences after being recast in the 30 Rock pilot, including the birth of her first child.
Saturday Night Live
Her tenure at SNL spanned 1999 to 2006. Dratch's recurring characters included Denise, a Boston teen; Sheldon, the junior-high-school boy from Wake up, Wakefield; one of the Luvahs (with Will Ferrell, as two pretentious professors); Abe Scheinwald, a Hollywood producer with a terrible acquisition record; and, perhaps most memorably, Debbie Downer, a depressed woman who creeped others out with disturbing non sequiturs. In December 2011, she made a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live's Christmas show, hosted by former cast member Jimmy Fallon.
Both of Dratch's parents were Reform Jews. Dratch attended Hebrew school and had a Bat Mitzvah. She is non-observant as an adult, and instead characterizes the faith she was born into as part of her cultural heritage.
As explained in her Girl Walks Into a Bar..., Dratch met John Wahl, a California-based consultant in the natural foods industry, in a bar in 2009. Six months later, she became pregnant, and gave birth to a boy, Eli Benjamin, on August 24, 2010. In an October 2010 interview, Dratch told People that her pregnancy at age 44 shocked her, because she "had bought into all this stuff about, 'Once you're over 40...'", and had "gone through the whole process of letting go of [the idea of having kids]". Wahl has since moved to New York City to be closer to Dratch and their son.
- Gerri Miller (October 18, 2005). "Rachel Dratch". Archived from the original on 2005-10-18. Retrieved 2010-10-28. "Raised in a Reform Jewish family, Dratch did have a Bat Mitzvah but doesn't consider herself to be observant. “It's more a heritage thing, I guess,” she says of her relationship to her roots."
- Aucoin, Don (February 18, 2000). "Live! From Lexington, It's Rachel Dratch". Boston Globe.
- "Marriage Announcement 1 -- No Title". Boston Globe. January 26, 1964.
- "RACHEL DRATCH on EMPLOYEE of the MONTH". SoundCloud.
- Kristina, Dorsey (December 2010). "Live! From New Haven! It's Rachel Dratch in "Celebrity Autobiography"!". The Day.
- Townsend, Tim (2000-07-07). "Comic Duo Splits Sides". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- Emmanuel, Greg (July 2000). "SNL's Tina Fey and Rachel Dratch have found a hilarious way to spend their summer vacations.". Time Out New York: 77.
- Forrest Hills State of Mind from YouTube
- Rosenblum, Emma (October 15, 2006). "Rachel Rolls With It". New York Mag.
- Gostin, Nicki (3 April 2012). "'Girl Walks Into A Bar': Rachel Dratch Talks Baby, Life After 'SNL'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 April 2012.
- SNL Archives | Cast. Retrieved July 12, 2010.
- Burstein, Nathan (2012-04-28). "From 'SNL' to performing for the 'Tribe'". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 2012-05-24.
- Former 'Saturday Night Live' star Rachel Dratch welcomes first son Eli Benjamin, a September 8, 2010 article from the New York Daily News
- "Rachel Dratch Reveals Her Son's Father". People.com. 2010-10-27. Retrieved 2010-10-27.