Tough break, Debbie Downers: Saturday Night Live alum Rachel Dratch will only be spreading comfort and joy as the voice of Jenna Elfman’s hairy little hallucination in the ABC sitcom Imaginary Mary, premiering April 4.
That orange person in the Oval Office, on the other hand, is far too real for her to believe.
What exactly is Mary, your character on Imaginary Mary?
I just call her a creature—a cute, friendly creature from a kid’s imagination.
That reminds me of a quote from your 2012 memoir, Girl Walks Into a Bar. You wrote that Hollywood only sees you as “a troll, ogre, woodland creature, or manly lesbian.”
I know! See, sometimes it pays off. Creatures are definitely my specialty, so I’m glad I could oblige.
Is Mary also a manly lesbian?
[Laughs] I don’t think she is, no. It’s funny, but that strange phenomenon where I was only being offered lesbian roles died off after I wrote about it. I don’t know what happened, but now I get offered a more varied array of characters.
Out of all your many mullet-sporting lesbian parts, which one is your favorite?
I remember some fun ones on SNL. There was a sketch I did with Ana Gasteyer where these frat boys wished on a magic amulet that they could see some hot girl-on-girl action. But instead they got me and Ana as these Vermont goat-cheese farmers who also raised bees.
Speaking of Girl Walks into a Bar, when was the last time you walked into a gay bar?
It’s been a while. I did recently try to go to Marie’s Crisis in the West Village with my parents and my 6-year-old kid. I thought he would really enjoy it. We set foot inside and, because kids aren’t allowed, were immediately turned away. I had a feeling it wouldn’t fly, but I’m trying to turn my son on to gay piano bars early.
What was your introduction to the gay community?
When I went to theater camp in junior high and high school. All the girls had crushes on these hot guys there, but I didn’t know they were gay—although they did like to lip-sync to the Dreamgirls cast album, which should’ve been an indication. Then I went to college at Dartmouth, which was pretty conservative in the ’80s, and all my guy friends came out of the closet after graduation. So I had a gay posse for years and didn’t even know it.
Sounds like your recurring SNL sketch, “The Girl With No Gaydar.” Has your gaydar sharpened?
Well, I haven’t had much man-dar of any kind lately. That character actually came about after I went to a birthday party with about three straight women and 80 gay men. I joked around that I was going to get really lucky that night.
Last year you starred opposite Roy Haylock, a.k.a. Bianca Del Rio, in Hurricane Bianca. What’s your fondest memory from the set?
That was such a fun experience. I don’t get to play the villain very often. I just met Roy when I got down to Dallas to shoot, but we were cracking each other up right away. We got the giggles so much. It’s surprising when you meet someone and have that kind of rapport right away. Gay or straight, I only like to hang out with funny people.
Since the 2011 success of Bridesmaids, we’ve seen more female-driven blockbuster comedies like Bad Moms and the Ghostbusters remake. Your vacation comedy Spring Breakdown, which co-starred Amy Poehler and Parker Posey, went straight to DVD in 2009. Was it just ahead of its time?
We did think it was going to be that same kind of goofy, campy, lady-power thing. I don’t even remember why it didn’t get the release we wanted. But it was fun to make, so no regrets. I definitely had higher hopes for it, but I don’t want to sound like a Debbie Downer.
You’ve been very critical of the Trump administration on Twitter. Have you always been so political?
That really just happened when Trump took over our land. I used to write little observational quips. Now I’m like, “What the hell is happening?” Some comedians manage to be political and funny on Twitter, but I’m just apoplectic. I try to stay off Twitter when I’m too pissed off, but then I can’t help myself, because the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Do you feel a responsibility as a celebrity to speak out on social issues?
It has nothing to do with that. I’m just me, a citizen with a kid, and I’m really freakin’ angry.
Imaginary Mary premieres April 4 on ABC.