Rachel Rolls With It

A fter seven years at Saturday Night Live, Rachel Dratch is, er, was, starring in Tina Fey’s NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which debuted last week. She spoke to Emma Rosenblum about her downsized role and why she’s not a Debbie Downer about it. (Wah-wah!)

Is it strange to watch SNL now?
Yeah, I went out with Chris Parnell and some friends when it’s been on—I have to make sure I have something really fun to do.

Yikes, didn’t Parnell just get fired?
I know! He’s handling it well.

How did you get involved in 30 Rock?
Tina told me there was a part for me in it, and I didn’t ask much since we’ve worked together for so long. I just sort of rode the wave—until they told me to get off the wave.

You mean how, after the pilot was made, they switched you from a lead role to playing a bunch of different characters?
Yeah, exactly.

What happened there?
I think the big thing was—at least what they told me—that at first they wanted to have more comedy sketches in the show. Then they decided they weren’t going to focus on the sketches, so they needed more of a sitcom actress, as opposed to a character actress.

That’s very diplomatic. Ha! Yes, I’m phrasing this all very nicely. That’s the party line, at least—it’s what I can tell my parents!

Were you pissed?
Well, when Tina told me I was going to play different characters each show, I was actually psyched about it, because it sounded really unique. But then the media kind of ran with this “demotion” thing, so that was kind of a bummer. But whatever, I’m over it.

How many episodes will you be in?
Six, but that’s a whole other thing. I was kind of like, Why do I only have six? But then I decided I shouldn’t open my trap too much, so I just left it at that.

What do you think of Studio 60?
What’s weird to me about it is that they’re so serious about comedy. In the real comedy world, no one’s like, “We’ve got to change people!”

What’s it like working with Alec Baldwin?
I haven’t really worked with him that much, except for when I was starring in that first pilot. Cough, cough.

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Rachel Rolls With It