Unmasked: Rachel Dratch reflects on SNL, Debbie Downer, and motherhood

Rachel Dratch recalls watching the first season of Saturday Night Live as a nine-year-old growing up in Massachusetts.

“I was sleeping over at a friend’s house. She had an older brother who was watching it. I was immediately clicked into this, ‘What is this?!’ I was just fascinated by it. And then I would watch it every Saturday. I would have a friend sleep over and like fall asleep, and I’d go, ‘We have to watch Saturday Night Live!’ I never really thought, well, I’m going to do this. I sort of just did school plays, and I was the comedy side of things. But it wasn’t, ‘That’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to be an actor! Any means necessary.’ So, it was more of just an interest and a hobby that sort of stuck with me and kept going.”

Dratch told Ron Bennington for his SiriusXM interview program, “Unmasked,” that she first had to endure watching all of her Second City and improvOlympic colleagues audition for SNL without her one year, then audition but not make it the next year, before living out her own third time’s the charm. She was an SNL cast member from 1999 through 2006.

Dratch looked up to all of the original cast of SNL, as well as several other through the years. But she noted: “Probably the first person I think of is Gilda Radner, just because of all of her characters.”

As for Dratch, she was popular in a recurring sketch with Jimmy Fallon as two sloppy Bostonians; by herself, her biggest breakout SNL character was Debbie Downer. Here is that classic SNL sketch from May 2004 that you’ve maybe seen before, and not to be a “Debbie Downer” about it, but remember how you felt about Lindsay Lohan on May 1, 2004. May Day! May Day! Roll it.


And for you yahoos who cannot watch Hulu, here’s a clip from that clip.

Dratch said having the cast crack on live TV usually is a cheap laugh, but the genuineness of that 2004 moment struck a chord with audiences. Plus: “Still, A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘My mom is just like that.’ I think the crack up made it more like, ‘Did you see that scene on SNL?'”

She also talked about stumbling through past relationships with addicts, enjoying the fruits of improv comedy in Chicago with Second City, iO and then onto Saturday Night Live and the first season of 30 Rock, and becoming a mother for the first time at 44.

You can listen to Rachel Dratch on SiriusXM’s “Unmasked” today at 2 p.m. on the Opie & Anthony channel, then again at 8 p.m. Saturday on SiriusXM’s Raw Dog channel.

You can buy Dratch’s memoir, “Girl Walks Into A Bar,” now in paperback and Kindle:


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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