On the heels of her successful theatrical turn in Minsky’s, gay-favorite funny lady Rachel Dratch spoke with The Advocate this month about her role in this summer’s My Life in Ruins, her made-for-gay film Spring Breakdown, and why she always seems to get cast as a lesbian.
Spring Breakdown, a film Dratch co-created with Amy Poehler, tells the story of three women (Dratch, Poehler and Parker Posey) who decide to leave their stale 30-year-old lives behind and live it up one good time on spring break. The project stalled out several times in the distribution phase, and after three years, finally made it to DVD.
The Advocate asked Dratch about Amy Poehler’s comment that Spring Breakdown was "made for gays." Dratch responded:
Well, [out director/screen-writer] Ryan [Shiraki] always has the gay audience in mind. We set out to make the kind of broad comedy you always see featuring guys, but with women in the leads. I guess it turned out a little campy, and gay men seem to dig it, which is good. It also stars Parker Posey and Jane Lynch, who have quite a following. Ryan does call the movie “a gay acid trip.”
Dratch had a lot more to offer in the way of lesbian insight.
In what substance would she prefer to wrestle girls?
Chocolate pudding. Or macaroni and cheese.
On being typecast:
It’s like a joke between my friends. Every time my agent calls with an audition, I get all excited. Then I open up the script, and it’s always like, “A 50-year-old lesbian walks in … ” [Laughs] I’m straight, so I don’t understand why I always get offered lesbian parts. If it’s funny, I’ll do it, but I’ve turned a bunch down. I have to sift through them so I don’t get too typecast.
On how to create a funny lesbian character:
For me it usually involves a mullet. That’s the problem: I think they’re all starting to run together. When you’re on SNL, you want to go big and broad, but one of my favorites &mdsah; this is like Rachel’s Hall of Lesbians — was the cat wrangler I got to play on 30 Rock. That woman had the longest mullet in history.
On lesbian hair:
No, but she does have a questionable bowl cut. Not to stereotype! It’s so funny because when you’re in comedy you’re sort of allowed to make fun of like that, but I can just imagine this in print on Advocate.com and having a lesbian mob angry at me for stereotyping lesbian hairstyles.
On how to make a "gay joke" without being offensive:
That’s a good question. Just like a joke based on race, it really depends on SNL that we were well aware of while I was on the show is that we often just went to a gay joke as a lazy, poorly crafted punch line. But a gay joke could be funny if it wasn’t lazy and it had some real wit to it.
Much has been made of the predatory gay scene in Dratch’s upcoming My Life in Ruins. It’s interesting to hear the actress, who obviously has quite a gay following, talk about toeing the line between good-natured gay humor and lazy queer-bashing. Honestly, I think it’s something Saturday Night Live is still trying to figure out (and failing at quite often), but something that former SNL superstar Tina Fey has nearly perfected on 30 Rock.
What do you think of Dratch’s take on gay humor? Are you interested in seeing Spring Breakdown or My Life in Ruins?