[Sad Trombone]

Rachel Dratch has never gotten the same respect as her comedic peers. Everyone falls all over themselves to praise Tina Fey and Amy Poehler (with good reason!), but Dratch hasn't been able to establish the same kind of career. I always thought she was funny in the roles I've caught her in, so I was very interested to read her book, Girl Walks Into a Bar: Comedy Calamities, Dating Disasters, and a Midlife Miracle. I was hoping it would shed some light on her relationship with the cult of celebrity, and thought her perspective on the whole Being Famous beast would be noteworthy. Or barring that, I was at least hoping for some funny/gossipy bits about the celebrities she's interacted with.

Unfortunately, that's not what I got. Dratch seems reluctant to even discuss the trappings of her career at all, but realizes that she has to in order to attract any kind of readership, so she quickly works her way down the checklist of things she knows people want to hear about: Debbie Downer, being replaced on 30 Rock, and the generally sad situation of being shit on by Hollywood's obsession with image and fitting a certain "type". She dutifully hits on these points before she moves on to the bulk of the book, but only in a cursory way.

There are a few brief stories about dating losers before she gets into the chance meeting between her and the man who would become her more long-term partner. It's a meet-cute story that you'd be happy to hear at your cousin's wedding, but isn't particularly noteworthy. The book then transitions into her surprise pregnancy and the birth of her son, which was extremely welcome news. To her, that is. I mean, I'm very happy for her, and it's always nice to hear that it's never too late to achieve the things you've been hopeful for, but the stories regarding her baby are exactly as interesting as the baby stories you hear from your coworkers. That is to say, not at all.

I sometimes try and apply a single adjective to a pop-culture property, just to see if I can summarize my feelings about it. In this case, that adjective would be "Unnecessary". It wasn't a terrible book, but I didn't learn anything new or compelling. I still like Dratch's work in general, but if this is the amount of effort she puts into her creative output, I'm suddenly starting to understand why she isn't more well-known.

Girl Walks Into a Bar...: C


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