‘SNL’ Alum Rachel Dratch Tells Us the Moment That Inspired Debbie Downer

Rachel Dratch Reveals the Origins of Her Iconic Debbie Downer Character
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Don’t be such a Debbie Downer!

Rachel Dratch’s iconic Saturday Night Live character Debbie Downer was such a hit when she first appeared on the sketch comedy show in 2004, that the phrase has taken on a life of its own, making its way into the modern vernacular.

Dratch, 58, says that Debbie — who undoubtedly brings down the vibe of any function with her preoccupation with feline AIDS, among many other negative topics — was actually inspired by real events in her life.

“I thought of Debbie Downer when I was on a vacation in Costa Rica and a person said a downer comment,” she reveals exclusively in the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now.

Rachel Dratch Reveals the Origins of Her Iconic Debbie Downer Character
Saturday Night Live/YouTube

Keep scrolling to learn more fun facts about Dratch, including her most starstruck moment on SNL:

The “Woo Woo With Rachel Dratch” podcast is available on Spotify.

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1. If I see a spider, I will try to carry it out of the house to set it free. However, if I see a water bug, my first thought is, “Well, now I have to move.”

2. I made my Broadway debut in POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass Are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive.

3. Being on Broadway was on my bucket list, [but] I hate the term “bucket list.”

4. A stranger once asked my son, “What’s it like to have a funny mom?” and he said, “I make her laugh more than she makes me laugh.” That is true.

5. I’m organizationally challenged and find the TikTok videos of people cleaning their messy rooms fast cathartic.

6. I was a Happy Days fan when I was young and had socks with The Fonz on them. I later met Henry Winkler and told him about my socks.

7. I want to go back on Celebrity Jeopardy!

8. I’ve seen a ghost or two.

9. When we were in high school, Amy Poehler and I worked at the same ice cream place. I’ve mentioned this fact thousands of times, so this may be something you do know about me.

Rachel Dratch Reveals the Origins of Her Iconic Debbie Downer Character

Amy Poehler
Manny Carabel/Getty Images

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10. I got my start at Second City Theater and was in a cast with Tina Fey. Another Second City pal, Martin Garcia, plays the yoga instructor in my American Home Shield commercial.

11. My son is into basketball, so I’ve learned a lot about the sport this year. I now know what “and one” and “hezzy” mean.

12. I’m not a crafty person at all, but I made my son a Fritos bag costume for Halloween one year. It was possibly my finest achievement.

13. I used to be in orchestra and a string quartet in high school.

14. I did a children’s theater tour in North Carolina.

15. I love everything about the beaches on Cape Cod.

16. I used to stay up late to watch the original cast of Saturday Night Live when I was a kid.

17. I thought of [SNL character] Debbie Downer when I was on a vacation in Costa Rica and a person said a downer comment.

18. My most starstruck moment was my first night at SNL, during the 25th anniversary show. Here I am freaking out behind Steve Martin.

Rachel Dratch Reveals the Origins of Her Iconic Debbie Downer Character
Courtesy of Rachel Dratch

19. I have a rescue dog named Ruffles. We got her as a puppy and she’s a doodle who looks like a designer dog.

20. Some of my favorite movies are from my younger days, and my classic favorites are This Is Spinal Tap and Breaking Away.

21. I could probably recite Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

22. During the pandemic, I got into Ancestry.com and connected with distant relatives. Apparently, I’m related to the Dunkin’ Donuts founder.

23. I’ve lives in cities for most of my life and in every apartment I’ve lived in, I try to have a view of a big tree out of the window.

24. My first produced play was The Autobiography of a Leaf. I was in fifth grade, and it was at my school.

25. My birthday is on National Margarita Day. My drink of choice is a real margarita made with lime juice.

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