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Debbie Downer's Happy Ending

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The first half of Rachel Dratch's new memoir, Girl Walks into a Bar..., reads like a comedy-nerd's version of the Book of Job. After starring on SNL from 1999 to 2006, where she created memorable characters like Debbie Downer and Denise (of the brash Bostonian duo Sully and Denise), she was cast on 30 Rock as Jenna, but then dropped from the sitcom after the pilot tested poorly. After that set-back, she was typecast in a string of comedies that were beneath her acting abilities. "These are pretty much the only parts I'm offered since I've been off SNL. Lesbians. Secretaries. Sometimes secretaries who are lesbians," she writes in the opening chapter. She hilariously chronicles a succession of horrible dates (she has dinner with a guy who says he'd like to eat human flesh) and wince-inducing film experiences, but then on page 158 (spoiler alert!), at the age of 43, Dratch learns she's pregnant.

"I started writing before the whole pregnancy thing happened," she says. "I didn't see that plot twist coming." Dratch navigates the wild world of pregnancy, and tries to figure out how John, her child's father who she'd been dating for six months, would figure into her life. "Writing about what happened with me and John, and the whole child-bearing section, that was the most difficult part," she says. Dratch's honesty in her writing pays off; her book's second half reads like a cross between Bossypants and What to Expect When You're Expecting. As a postscript that didn't make it into the book, Dratch was recently cast in a pilot for NBC, shooting this spring. Now that her story has a happy ending, is Dratch concerned about her baby son Eli one day reading about her very strange trip to Burning Man or her brief stint dating a sex addict? "There's nothing really salacious in the book," she says. "I know that at some point Eli's going to read this, so I wanted to feel good about what's in there."

★ Girl Walks Into a Bar... is out March 29th via Gotham books.

Stylist: Luigi Tadini
Hair: Michael Anthony for Woon Salon woon.us
Makeup: Sarah Graalman for Diorshow
Rachel wears a dress by Screaming Mimi's.


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