What do they say about New York City: There are eight million stories, and sometimes it seems as though eight million of the people telling them think they’re comedians? No, that’s not it. It is a fact, though, that America’s biggest city is also its biggest comedy mecca. Hollywood may be Hollywood, but New York City is where comedians are born funny, become funny or arrive to thrust their funny upon us. I think we should meet some of these people. This is a recurring feature, a mini-profile of newcomers, up-and-comers and overcomers of New York’s vibrant comedy scene. It’s called Meet Me In New York.
Rachel Feinstein‘s expertise on vocal characterizations, particularly of her mother and grandmother, and character Ice Cold Rhoda, along with a strong point of view helped propel her to a seventh-place finish as a finalist on the seventh season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
With friend Amy Schumer (herself a former Last Comic finalist), Feinstein went on to co-headline a stand-up special last year, Women Who Kill. Feinstein also has appeared in multiple episodes of Inside Amy Schumer and just last week, filmed a scene with NBA star Amar’e Stoudemire in Schumer’s upcoming film directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck. Her past credits include Russell Simmons Presents Live at the El Rey, TruTV’s The Smoking Gun Presents: World’s Dumbest, and voice-over roles on shows such as Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. Her comedy has taken her around the world, from Montreal’s Just For Laughs, to the Glasgow Comedy Festival, and over to Korea to perform for the military. Her first CD, 2011’s “Thug Tears,” dropped shortly after her first half-hour Comedy Central Presents.
Feinstein’s second half-hour stand-up special for Comedy Central debuts tonight.
Let’s learn more!
When and where did you start performing comedy?
At a bar on the Upper East Side called “Prowl.” I think it closed immediately after I bombed there.
What was your best credit before moving here?
I had none. I played a cowboy in the school play, named Ike.
Why did you pick NYC over LA or anywhere else?
I moved here with a guy and his band when I was 17 called Dicksister.
Feinstein expands on that story, as well as her early gigs and day jobs, in this backstage clip previewing her edition of The Half Hour on Comedy Central:
How long did it take to get your first paid gig in NYC after moving here?
In comedy? At least 5 years. I got a job at a place called Phat Shoes and Clothes immediately and was fired in under 3 hours for my poor folding abilities and the fact that I couldn’t sell anything.
How is this scene better/same/worse than the scene you moved from?
It’s better. There are more clubs and the comics are really good here.
What tip would you give to any comedian who moves here?
Try not to waste too much money on cabs. It’s the best feeling to get whisked around in a cab like a chariot but you’ll have nothing left. Eat a lot of pizza. Show up even when you think it doesn’t matter and you won’t get on. Hurl your body to a comedy club and try, even if it’s awkward and you feel dumb and bother people. Wait and try.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Doing more of the same on a larger scale and hopefully with good health insurance that covers co-pays.
Here are two more clips of Rachel Feinstein’s from The Half Hour on Comedy Central:
Which NYC comedian would you like to see me style and profile next for Meet Me In New York? Send your nominations to: thecomicscomic AT gmail DOT com