Any true Amy Schumer fan knows who Rachel Feinstein is. Though she regularly contributes to Inside Amy Schumer and had a cameo in TrainWreck, Feinstein’s best work lies in what she has accomplished on her own – being a finalist on NBC’s Last Comic Standing, her solo comedy album Thug Tears, co-headlining Showtime’s Women Who Kill and potentially her own Comedy Central Series in the near future.
We spoke with Feinstein who was most recently in town for her four solo shows at the Just For Laughs festival, and will be back to headline at The Comedy Nest here in Montreal on Thursday, October 1st.
Q: When did you know that you wanted to be a comedian?
I had no other skills.
Q: How did you get from your home town of Washington DC to NYC?
On a greyhound bus. I moved with a guy and his band called Dicksister and then found ways to stay after that fell apart. I lived with a Bengali family in Queens that I met on one of my greyhound trips back and forth.
Q: Articles always say that you and Amy Schumer are longtime friends. How did you two meet? Do you have matching friendship bracelets?
We met at Hebrew school and that’s where they gave us matching woven Yiddish bracelets. We met through stand up in New York.
Q: You work a lot with your friends (Nikki Glaser, Amy, Bridget Everett) and you revealed on The View that your boyfriend also works in the industry. Do you find it difficult to relate to others not in the comedy world?
I am still really close with my high school girlfriends. It makes your life easier to date someone in some aspect of the business because then they don’t resent you and your schedule all the time. But he’s the first person that I dated that didn’t have a normal job. I like that he’s not a performer though. It would be gross to see a pile of his head shots lying around. Being so close with this group of comics is helpful for me because they just understand everything. And I think we help eachother navigate through this weird, hard life we’ve chosen and vent.
Q: In the same breath, you all cater to a very similar demographic. Do you find it awkward or difficult at times to “compete” against your friends?
It’s easier to just help each other and create an environment where it’s not one woman at a time. And if we work with eachother, we get to hang out and it’s less lonely! I admire them and they make me feel like I’m not crazy.
Q: If you could speak to yourself in the early days of your career, what advice would you give younger Rach?
I’d say Rach, try not to be such a quaking mess. You’re gonna bomb really bad on your birthday in Toledo and you’ll feel so lonely that you’ll think your life is over. Don’t quit. They will find your luggage, but you’re going to have to wear a hooded sweatshirt that says “wildcats” on it that belongs to the owner on New Year’s Eve. That’s gonna suck, but some better shit happens after that. Don’t marry some boring insurance person and live a gelatinous existence.
Critics most often praise Feinstein for her character driven jokes.
Q: What’s your daily routine like?
I eat so much garbage that I’ve been trying to write down what I eat in this notebook, but it says “Believe you can” on the front which is really embarrassing so I just found this skateboard sticker to cover the believe you can thing. I lose things every day and I feel like a fraud and an animal, but then I play that Too Short song Blow the Whistle to cheer me up.
Q: What can we find you doing in the last few minutes before getting on stage?
Playing hip hop.
Q: The “see, women actually are funny” thing has been a theme for a while with shows like Broad City gaining mainstream popularity and Amy ruling the world. Do you think it’s important to highlight the obvious gender disparity in comedy or does doing so emphasize gender over talent?
I guess it depends on the mood I’m in. I’d rather not be brought on stage saying “we have a young lady comin up” and treated like some wacky experiment. But I don’t think we need to hide that we’re women or that we’re judged in different ways. Maybe by talking about how dumb that is, it changes.
Favorite TV Show?
Greg Giraldo, Kathy Griffin, Norm Macdonald, Dave Attell, Amy Schumer, Chappelle, Marina Franklin, Nikki Glaser, Bridgette Everett, Bill Burr.
How do you take your coffee?
A little milk, who could possibly care?
Favorite city in the world?
Favorite greasy fast food?
Wings at the cellar in NY.
Your go to alcoholic drink?
I drink douche drinks/vodka red bull.
A book that changed your life?
In Cold Blood, Random Family, Anna Karenina.
Like Rachel Feinstein’s Facebook page, follow her on Twitter or Instagram, or buy your tickets to see her live in Montreal.