Live From New York, It’s Rachel Dratch

Live From New York, It’s Rachel Dratch

Sean Dugan and Rachel Dratch in Tail! Spin! (©Carol Rosegg)

“I always have so much fun doing live theater,” says Rachel Dratch, who made her name on Saturday Night Live (1999-2006), on why she decided to do the new Off-Broadway comedy, Tail! Spin! “So, I just figured, what the heck. What attracted me to it was the live audience thing.”

Certainly, the show’s premise is right up Dratch’s alley. The script is drawn verbatim from the real-life emails, texts and tweets that brought down politicians Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, Anthony Weiner and Mark Foley. Politics is a dirty business, truth is stranger than fiction, and you can’t make this stuff up. Dratch plays the women in the fallen politicians’ lives: the wives, tails and beards. She even has a go at being Barbara Walters.

Francis Lewis: Do you identify with any of the women in the show?

Rachel Dratch: These women are all over the map. Some of them are standing by their man, some of them aren’t. After you hear all these women who are standing by their men, out comes Jenny Sanford, who doesn’t; and the audience kind of digs that. Finally, it’s screw this. I think the audience is waiting for someone to do that.

FL: Is Jenny Sanford your favorite?

RL: Barbara Walters is probably the most fun. I wasn’t like a big impressionist [on Saturday Night Live]. The impressions [of people] that work best are the ones that you’ve watched without trying to form an impression. They’re just somewhere in the back of your head a lot. Walters is the most fun, probably because it’s like an SNL thing.

FL: Is there a message in all this political madness?

RD: I don’t know that there’s a message beyond making you laugh. The whole political sex scandal [thing] is as old as politics. It’s always been there, and it always will be there. You take these four guys. It’s a timeless thing. I think the big question is: Are politicians more prone to sex scandals or do they seem more scandalous because politicians are held to a higher standard? I don’t have a viewpoint in mind.

FL: But you follow politics?

RD: I follow it. I know what’s happening, but I’m not like super lefty. [laugh] I’m not out on the streets or anything.

FL: What kind of political future do you wish for your son?

RD: Oh, my gosh. Well, right now it seems like everything’s up for grabs. The world is as crazy as it’s ever been. I just hope we get it together and peace out. Here I go: Debbie Downer.

FL: I was wondering when Debbie [Dratch’s most famous recurring SNL characterization] would make her entrance …

RD: She’d have a field day right now, between the climate and ISIS and Ferguson.

FL: Would you ever consider doing Debbie Downer as a full-scale show?

RD: After about five minutes, it kind of loses its … I don’t know how I could sustain it for a big chunk of time. In little doses it’s better. Every so often I’ll tweet something, or I’ll see a sign that seems very Debbie Downer. I think she’ll live on better in a random tweet here and there.

FL: Tail! Spin! certainly throws the spotlight on the inherent pitfalls in social media. Has the show made you more circumspect in your use of social media?

RD: I guess I would always like triple check, if I were saying anything secretive. The worst example in Tail! Spin! is Anthony Weiner. I don’t know what he thought, but he thought he was sending a personal photo and then he ended up tweeting it to everyone. A nightmare. I’m not as scandalous as these guys.

FL: So, no scandals in Rachel Dratch’s future?

RD: Oh, God, no. I hope to never be in one.

>> Tail! Spin!, Lynn Redgrave Theatter at Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St., at Lafayette St., 866.811.4111