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NUNN ON ONE COMEDY Rachel Dratch talks Biance del Rio, gay friends
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2019-09-03

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Rachel Dratch is originally from Massachusetts; she moved to Chicago to further her comedy career by working with The Second City and ImprovOlympic. When asked what one thing she learned from her days in the Windy City she said, "Working with an ensemble was important and building up those friendships carried over onstage. I have never done stand-up, but that's why I like improv, if you are not having a stellar night, there are five other people that will always have your back."

Was she nervous at this event performing improv here in the open stage at Navy Pier? She laughs, "I always get a little nervous, even for this. I know these performers very well, so I gathered them together."

Saturday Night Live made her a household name when she performed as a cast member from 1999 to 2006. The female friends in the cast she has remained close with such as Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer and Maya Rudolph. They have a movie project together called Wine Country on Netflix currently running. It's the story of a friends coming together for a 50th birthday celebration in Napa. She stated in the past she was a red wine fan, but now prefers margaritas ( "Freshly made—not the mix!" ). Dratch said her favorite character to play on Saturday Night Live was Debbie Downer, and the second one would be in the hot tub with Will Ferrell as lovers. Her other numerous television appearances include Broad City, The Simpsons, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Portlandia.

Previously, Dratch has starred in the films Click and I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. She was also in the 2016 indie movie Hurricane Bianca, starring RuPaul Drag Race winner Bianca Del Rio as a teacher moving to a small town after living in New York. Dratch played Deborah Ward, the vice principal at the school in the film. "It was super-fun working with Bianca—well, Roy Haylock—and we had good camaraderie. It was such a broad, bizarre comedy and we got to do such big characters together."

She described Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson as one of her gay besties, but mentioned having a whole posse of gay friends in New York, including people from her college days. She recently did a short film called Island Queen together with Ferguson. They also appeared together in a documentary called One Night Stand about creating musicals within 24 hours. Although she hadn't seen the recent musical The Cher Show in New York, she did have tickets. She related, "When my gay friend couldn't go because of an audition for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, I went down my phone list to see if any other friend could go. I will go to a show my myself, but not Cher. He got the part, but then it was cut from the show. It was a real ride!"

By the way, Dratch was in town for an appearance Aug. 25 to celebrate National Toilet Paper Day a day early. Cottonelle had teamed with Amazon's Treasure Truck to create the Cottonelle Superior Clean County Fair. This included more than 7,000 samples handed out to people who passed by that day, who were also asked to participate in games such as life-sized checkers and Jenga to earn prizes.

Eye-catching toilet bowls were designed by local artists Nate Baranowski and Ava Grey Studios. A poll at the site revealed that more than 80 percent of people, including Dratch, preferred their toilet paper to placed over the roll, not under.

The actress heard about the pop-up when her agent called and asked if she would like to return to her comedy roots in Chicago to perform some improv for attendees at Navy Pier. She jumped at the chance to see friends from the past and considers Chicago home. Her brief show that involved people from the audience, had her performing spontaneous scenes with Second City friends Sue Gillan, Kevin Dorff, Mike Brunlieb and Kimberly Michelle Vaughn.


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