Photo-Illustration: Selman Hoşgör; Photo Courtesy of Subject
This week, we’re highlighting 22 talented writers and performers for Vulture’s annual list “Comedians You Should and Will Know.” Our goal is to introduce a wider audience to the talent that has the comedy community and industry buzzing. (You can read more about our methodology at the link above.) We asked the comedians on the list to answer a series of questions about their work, comedy during the pandemic, and more. Next up is Rachel Sennott.
When did you feel that you were funny enough to make a legitimate go at comedy?
I always wanted to be an actress as soon as I knew what an actress was. I started doing plays when I was in first grade, and I was always cast as “ugly witch” or “villain’s hag wife,” so comedy felt like the natural route. Then when I was a freshman in college I started doing stand-up and just took it from there. But I think the goal was always to perform as a career.
Describe your comedy in five words.
Hot slut in grocery store.
What of your work do you think you’re best known for, and what of your work are you most proud of?
Hmm, I feel like I’m probably most known for Shiva Baby or my “C’mon It’s L.A.” video. This year I got a lot of people tweeting at me “damn the shiva baby is also the LA bitch girl … crazy,” which was fun. The work I’m most proud of is a script that I wrote with my friend Emma Seligman that we are making next year.
If there were a ’90s-style sitcom built around you and your material, in which you had to have a different job than comedian, what would be the title and logline?
Mall Girl: “A girl hangs out in the mall every day of the week, sometimes shoplifting, sometimes just vibing. But no matter what there’s always an adventure at the mall.” And then the poster would be like me sitting in the center of the mall in front of the fountain sipping a big soda and being a bitch.
What have you done for comedy during COVID that you thought you would never do?
Asked my father to record a video of me washing dishes in a bikini.
Who are some of your favorite comedians right now? Who is putting out work that excites and inspires you?
My favorite comedy right now is niche TikToks. I cannot stop watching TikToks of people with very specific lives. One is this young mom who is a Mormon influencer. She’s friends with two other young Mormon moms (also influencers) and they’re all super pregnant and they do these dances together. Also this really rich Australian girl whose mom wakes her up every morning and calls her “pudding bear” and asks her to go to the country club. Writing this out makes me think my brain might be broken but this is what I’m loving right now lol.
What is the best comedy advice, and then the worst comedy advice, you’ve ever received, either when you were starting out or more recently?
The worst advice I’ve gotten I can’t even really remember because it was so vague. I felt like I asked a lot of questions early on and got answers like “Make a website” and “Keep trying,” which is helpful to no one. The best advice I got was from my dad, who is not a comedian, but it was to break down your goals into three-year, one-year, and monthly. Everything is achievable in tiny little chunks.
Tell us one story from your childhood that is a good representation of your life.
When I was in middle school I secretly signed up for an “Actors Access” type of website and sent in a self-tape for the Miley Cyrus movie LOL. It was the family computer, so obviously my parents found the clips of me being like “I heard you hooked up in the bathroom with Kyle” or whatever, and then I was grounded. I also got in trouble for cold emailing the casting directors of Twilight and sending a letter to Taylor Lautner asking to be in Breaking Dawn. I guess what this says about me is that I’m not afraid of cold emailing.
What’s an embarrassingly earnest goal you have?
My dream is to be in Playboy. I don’t think that’s embarrassing because Playboy is awesome and cool, but I want it so earnestly. My ideal photoshoot is like me, all greased up and naked in an old-school Italian restaurant, sitting on the table with the classic checker-table cloth, eating spaghetti.
If you had the power to remove anything from the comedy world right now, from trends with material to how the industry operates, what would it be?
I think instead of tweeting rude shit about you people should have to write you a letter.