Blogstalker Book Club: Girl Walks Into a Bar… By Rachel Dratch

January 11, 2013 Blogging, Book Club, Humor, Memoirs 33

Hello Blogstalking Bookworms!

This book club is the brain child of the beautiful and talented Lauren of Filing Jointly…Finally (who Justin Timberlake may or may not have slapped with a restraining order…) Did you read along with us this month? Our selection was Rachel Dratch’s memoir, Girl Walks Into A Bar… Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. I’ve pretty much decided that the world’s most amazing slumber party would include Rachel Dratch, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling. I want them to be my friends! (Lauren, you can totally come to our slumber party, JT won’t be there.)

Hi Rachel!

Hi Rachel! I can french braid!

So. Girl Walks into a Bar… starts out with Rachel’s post Saturday Night Live life. She was a cast member from 1999-2006. These were some of my prime SNL watching years. I really wanted to find a clip of this sketch, but I couldn’t, so I’m just going to describe it and do it no justice whatsoever. Okay? So. Rachel Dratch and Jimmy Fallon played these obnoxious Boston teenagers named Sully and Denise. They were always going to keggers, getting wasted, having loud fights, and making out in the middle of them. Good fun. The sketch that cracked me up was when Ben Affleck hosted. Affleck lost it in a big way and kept saying “Bro…. bro…Bro. Bro! Bro.” Everyone in the scene was cracking up, which somehow makes everything THAT MUCH FUNNIER when you’re watching SNL at home, alone, in your childhood bedroom. Anyway. It was hysterical. Do any of you have a favorite Rachel Dratch SNL story to share? Please tell me I’m not the only person who spent her formative Saturday nights at home alone watching television! 

I found this image at SNL Pictures

I found this image at SNL Pictures

Dratch was on poised for what should have been a brilliant post SNL career. She was even cast as Jenna in the pilot for 30 Rock (her good pal Tina Fey’s brain child.) Only. Well. As Dratch puts it, in real life she’s a decent looking lady. Unfortunately, by Hollywood’s impossible standards, she’s…not. When they tested the pilot for 30 Rock she was replaced with Jane Krakowski (let’s not take anything away from Jane’s work though- her Jenna is fantastically psychotic.) Dratch was all “well, that sucks, but TV is like that. We’re cool, Tina. We’re cool, Jane. I’ll do some weird characters from time to time.” Sadly, it would not go quietly into that good night! The media picked up on the story and it was all “Scandal! Homely Dratch replaced by Bombshell!” To add insult to embarrassment, the only roles Dratch was being offered were for lesbian secretaries. What the what? Reading this portion of Dratch’s memoir made me sad. Then, because I’m terribly self involved, I started to worry about how ugly Hollywood would think I am. Anybody else experience this neurosis? 

Dratch decides to tackle her life with sporadic work by meeting the NYC dating scene head-on. Before Dratch could date effectively, she had to break out of her comfort zone. She had TONS of social engagements… With her gal pals, comedy guys, and gay man friends. Oh Rachel Dratch! This is why I love you! I went to my junior prom with a gal pal (and we bought a couple’s ticket even though we got weird looks from the administration because DAMNIT, if we had to go to prom without dates, we were going to save $10.) I went to two homecoming dances and my senior prom with gay dudes (it wasn’t like a secret or anything, we all knew where we stood. We both got to dance and nobody got to make out with anybody.  The parentals were actually quite pleased with this arrangement.) Even though it’s kind of off-topic, I’d love to hear your weird high school dance stories!

Me and my Junior Prom Date.

Me and my Junior Prom Date.

Me and my Senior Prom date.

Me and my Senior Prom date.

Whenever I read dating horror stories, I’m always shocked that somewhere all these nightmare people likely eventually find someone to put up with their weird crap. How’s about the drunken horse meat guy? He’s everything on paper- good job, speaks foreign language, hungers for equine flesh… Riiight. Eventually she does meet a nice guy. They live on opposite coasts, but that’s not important. They hang out! They drink wine! They eat delicious foods! And then Rachel gets pregnant! By accident! At 43! Oops! This part kind of cracked me up, actually. It’s funny because everyone always thinks unexpected pregnancies happen to under informed teenagers, but some of my favorite people were late in reproductive life woopsies. After Rachel had come to terms with the idea that she’d never have kids BAM! Left hook from a pee stick.

I was more touched by this book that I expected to be. I mean, I expected to laugh, which I did, but I didn’t expect it to be so deeply personal. I love that this ends with Dratch getting a happy ending she never expected. Sure, she’s still only being offered roles for lesbian secretaries, but she found joy in a life she did NOT see coming. I love the message this gives about life’s unpredictability. Sure, things may not go according to plan, but if you find the humor in life and keep your head high, you might end up at a magical slumber party with Rachel Dratch! How did everyone else like the book? Tell me about it!

Next month’s book club selection will be Matched by Ally Condie. It’s YA literature, but everybody’s reading it, so we must too!  (Peer pressure. I’m susceptible.)

33 Responses to “Blogstalker Book Club: Girl Walks Into a Bar… By Rachel Dratch”

  1. A.M.B.

    I love Rachel Dratch! Hollywood can be so cruel, setting a standard for beauty that is so high that it damages the self-esteem of so many young women.

    • Words for Worms

      Seriously. Dratch even goes on to talk about it being unfair that she’s always cast as a lesbian, because real life lesbians come in all shapes and sizes, but Hollywood lesbians are either impossibly hot or impossibly not. I’d love to see Rachel Dratch in a quirky best friend role in a rom com. I’d love to see Judy Greer cast as something OTHER than the quirky best friend in a rom com. Hollywood never listens to me, though. Pfft. Hollywood.

  2. Sami

    I just bought Matched for my kindle… I imagine a dystopian society where Amazon rules the world. I might be rich right now if it weren’t for the diabolical “Buy Now with 1-Click” option.

    • Words for Worms

      Sweet! Yes… Buy Now with 1-Click… Delivered seamlessly via Amazon whispernet… I hate how much I love it. (PS did you enter my contest yet? You should!)

      • Sami

        Done…entered. “This one goes to Eleven”…can’t wait for my eleventy billion dollars. It’s gonna come in handy!

  3. June

    I have not read this book, but now I want to! I’ll add it to my never-ending “to read” list. My favorite Rachel Dratch SNL skit is when she is playing Debbie Downer at Disneyworld (I think Lindsay Lohan was hosting). Everyone can barely keep it together because they are laughing so much which, like you said, makes it even more funny for those watching at home!

  4. thewrredhead

    Oh man, Rachel Dratch…Boston teenagers definitely my fave, followed by her and Will Ferrel as “lovahs” (getting fat on goat meat). And ditto on Debbie Downer! I need to read this.

  5. Lyssapants

    Sounds like an awesome read. I want to go to that sleepover, btw.
    And I give you *major* props for your date choices for high school dances. I had no problem going stag, because I just wanted to get dressed up and DANCE, damnit! But I hated it when my female friends would not even go unless they had a date. Missing out, yo.

  6. Megan M.

    I love Rachel Dratch and that skit (“You’re re-tah-ded! No, you’re re-tah-ded!”) is one of my all-time faves. I didn’t read the book, but that makes me really sad that she can’t get good roles. I didn’t know she could’ve been Jane. Fascist Hollywood execs! (I don’t really know what fascist means but it sounds like an impressive insult, so there you go.)

    I went to prom with my best friend… AND a guy who we’re pretty sure is gay. And we ditched after we got our pictures taken to go to Atlanta and dance at a club! So fun!

    • Words for Worms

      Hahaha I’m not sure fascist is the right term, but if you say it festively enough, it doesn’t matter! Sounds like you had an awesome prom. Way to work it!

  7. Leah

    I haven’t read this, but it sounds really good! And your fantasy slumber party would be the best EVER.

    I also bought “couples” tickets to my prom with a gal pal. Who says we need men to get cheap tickets?! I went with a group of five or six girls and a gay boy, and a good time was had by all. F the system!

  8. Rhian

    Oh man, now I feel like Debbie Downer because I thought this book was … okay. I haven’t seen SNL so I’d not heard of Rachel Hatch before now, which meant I had no pre-connection with her story. I found the book amusing enough, but there were only a couple of times I actually laughed out loud. Without knowing who she was in advance, I didn’t find her life story especially interesting. I know her career hasn’t turned out the way she would have hoped, but she had her dream job for 7 years. Sex in the City already did looking for love in NY. And as someone who is around her age, when I read about her chosen method of birth control, I’m sure I muttered WTF disbelievingly out loud.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret reading this book. But I think it’s safe to say that this is probably one for fans.

    I am looking forward to reading Matched because I read a fair amount of YA. Despite my advanced age 😉

  9. Sarah Says Read

    Look at you all purty in your blue dress!

    I love how all these comedic ladies in Hollywood are coming out with funny/personal memoirs lately. Tina Fey kind of started it, and then everyone just kind of jumped on the bandwagon. (Mindy Kaling, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, Betty White, etc) It makes me feel like I need to pace myself in reading them or I’ll get them all mixed up.

    Rachel’s story does sound amusing, and it is sad that she keeps getting the “not-hot-girl” roles offered to her – but Jane really does do a great crazy-Jenna. She’s weird and creepy and ridiculous. I need to catch up on 30 Rock. I miss Liz Lemon. She’s my lady-crush.

  10. JoulesDellinger

    Oooh, now I want to read this too. As for high school dance stories — I ended up with TWO straight boy dates to my senior year homecoming dance. I had one boy as a date (and I like liked him) and then one of my guy friends got dumped, so I invited him to come along. I looked like a total pimp. But in reality I don’t think I even got a kiss on the cheek from either of them… Apparently my pimping skillz didn’t kick in until college. hehe

    • Words for Worms

      Okay. I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of your dating skills. I went to one dance with a straight boy. ONE. And I didn’t like-like him, but he like-liked me, which made it way awkward.

  11. quinndien

    Way late, but I’m reading your archives to figure out what to read next. Anyway, I read a trilogy of lady comedians: Fey, Kaling and then Dratch. I was expecting sort of a Bossypants, Volume 2, but it really stood on its own. It was so honest. Plus, she seems so scrappy — it’s inspiring to read about someone who pushes ahead despite numerous setbacks.

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