Debbie Downer, Indeed! A quick review of Girl Walks Into a Bar

Rachel Dratch, funny gal of SNL fame, has not had the same career arc as her colleagues Tina Fey or Amy Poehler.   No sit com for her, no rom-com movies.  Worse, she was the original Jenna on 30 Rock… until she was replaced by Jane Krakowski.  What do these women have that Rachel doesn’t?  Good looks.  A recent Slate.com article is even titled “Is Rachel Dratch too ugly for Hollywood?”  Ooh.  Harsh.

Her book, Girl Walks Into the Bar, makes it clear that she’s a little bitter about it.  The theme – whatever happened to you? – runs throughout the book, opening with the typical call from her agent offering her the opportunity to read for a small movie part – a 300 lb.  lesbian.  Unattractive, old, overweight, and lesbian – these are the offers she is getting.  I guess I’d be bitter, too.

The book is not substantial enough to be an autobiography, not even expansive enough for me to think of it as a memoir.  It’s more like “musings on my life, so far.”  Rachel comes off as a little whiny and maybe not even that much fun to be around, and if you’re looking for dirt to be dished, you’ll come up empty.  On the other hand, she’s a pretty good story teller and life is looking up:  the last few years have included a new relationship with an okay guy, a surprise pregnancy, the birth of her son Eli, and a focus on her family.  The section about her father’s  tendency to “hog” the baby was touching.

Comparison to other funny memoir-y types: I’d have to say that almost everybody pales in comparison to David Sedaris, that Tina Fey’s book was pretty solid, and that I laughed my head off reading Mindy Kaling’s book.  Still, Girl Walks into a Bar  is a quick read, there are some laughs, and if you’re one of those who wondered what Rachel Dratch has been up to lately, it’s worth the time.

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