.Rachel Feinstein hits Aptos

Netflix comedian coming in hot

Comedian Rachel Feinstein just released Big Guy, her new comedy special on Netflix, which focuses on her experiences being married to a Fire Department New York City lieutenant. Think King of Queens meets Rescue Me and you get an idea of the depth, hilarity and poignancy of Feinstein’s hour-long special.

While touring Big Guy and working out onstage the material about being married to a firefighter, Feinstein was floored by the outpouring of support from firemen and their wives and families. “I recently performed at the Punchline in San Francisco, and a bunch of firefighter families came out to support. They’re great laughers. They can laugh at anything. You know, they can take a joke,” Feinstein says.

“Basically, technically, I’m married to a hero,” Feinstein says. “And with that comes a lot of challenges. Besides what they’re going through on the job, sometimes the whole family goes through it, because of what they see. These are brave people that are hurling their bodies inside some of the most dangerous situations. And that can be a little isolating.

“And sometimes my husband is unavailable emotionally, and it seems like he is not being respectful or whatever,” she continues. “I hope that maybe by talking about these extremely specific issues onstage, responder families, who go through all of this privately, might not feel so alone.”

This attitude of giving back was fostered in Feinstein by being supported by other comedians while developing her chops. “There have been so many different comedians that have helped me with everything. I’ve done a lot of projects with a big circle of very close comedians, and that’s how I get everything. I’m terrible at auditions, so everything has been through my friends or collaborations with my friends, and I’m grateful for that,” Feinstein says.

Even creating a Netflix special takes a community. “My special was directed by Gillian Laub, who’s an incredible photographer and director. Amy Schumer is also one of the executive producers, and you know, she’s obviously given me an incredible amount of work and has just been a wonderful collaborator. I’m grateful for that. I’m an EP too. It’s good to be an executive producer on your own projects. I like helping make creative decisions and collaborate with the people that I respect and admire. I hope that this brings me more work. I’ve been doing stand-up for forever, and to be on the road for these many years and to finally feel like, OK, people are really starting to see what I’m doing, is satisfying,” Feinstein says.

No matter what the future holds, Feinstein believes in working as much as possible doing stand-up. “I try to focus on what I can control,” she says. “Kathy Griffin once told me, ‘Go where you’re wanted.’ I always think about that. Just go where people support you. Don’t focus on the people that don’t. Don’t underline those negative thoughts in your head. I’m not always able to take that advice but I’m trying to, more and more.”

Feinstein is aware of her luck in choosing a mate. “You know, I didn’t realize at the time that he would give me such an enormous amount of material. And it keeps on coming,” Feinstein laughs.

Can audience members expect to see Big Guy performed live? “Santa Cruz is going to be mostly all new material. I might do like one or two jokes from the special. But for the most part, I’m starting from scratch,” she says. “So it’s going to be a lot of brand-new stuff, and probably, I’ll talk to the crowd some, because when I’m doing new stuff, I like to kind of do a little bit of crowd work. It helps me stay on my toes.”

Rachel Feinstein will perform at Temple Beth El, 3055 Porter Gulch Road, Aptos, on Sunday, June 16 at 7:30pm. Tickets are $30; tbeaptos.org. For more tour dates, go to Rachel-Feinstein.com.


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