Rachael O’Brien is a stand up comedienne/actress on the rise. Her beauty, humor, and passion for comedy has taken her around the world. This past October, she embarked on a 3-week European tour through Germany, The Netherlands, and Belgium doing stand up for the troops. She recently shared the stage with some of comedy’s household names including Jeff Ross, Ron White, and Nick Kroll.
Rachael can be seen on Bravo’s hit TV show Vanderpump Rules, which recently aired its new season this past summer, along with gracing the stages of some of LA’s most prominent comedy houses including The Hollywood Improv, The Ice House, and The Comedy Store.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Driven, Resourceful, Caring
When and how did you started in this business?
I’ve been a performing since I was a little kid and was part of a touring dance company and theater group. When I moved to LA to pursue acting I also began a grad program at UCLA for screenwriting. I soon learned that I loved to write comedies and write jokes. This prompted me to start standup. The first time I went on stage it got under my skin and became a part of me and I knew that stand up would be something I would do for the rest of my life. It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever done.
What was it about comedy that made you think, this is where I belong?
I think the high you get from doing stand-up and also the feeling that the future is a little more in your hands than just with acting. With acting I have to wait to book something or get an audition. With standup I can get on stage every night and work on my craft. Plus I’ve always loved hanging with misfits and funny people and there’s no better hang than with a comedian. The ultimate group of misfits and I love them.
Do you get nervous on stage?
I get more nervous to perform in from of people I know than in front of strangers. So if I have a lot of friends in the audience or if there’s bigger comics on the show I want to impress I get nervous.
Do you practice your acts or always improv?
Oh I definitely practice. I’m such a perfectionist I rehearse all the time. I also do sketch comedy at Second City and that gives me the Improv outlet.
And now about your comeback in Bravo’s hit TV show “Vanderpump Rules”?
I’ve always gone back and forth on if I wanted to be on the show and if I thought it was the right thing for me but at the end of the day, those people are my close friends and I’d be hanging with them anyways so I might as well pop in the show here and there.
What we can see about you this season?
Episode 17 aired last night which was an interesting one for me. One of the main cast members who I hardly know or have ever really spoken to tears me and my comedy down. It was really shocking to have someone that I don’t know be that mean to me and considering comedy is my life I was pretty hurt by it. I don’t film about my relationships or my fights with people really, my main storyline is comedy because that is the biggest focus in my life so to have a non-comedian tear me apart for no reason was shocking and I reacted like a total wuss haha. Kristen is an amazing friend and defended me though!
Are you working on any other acting projects now?
I’m constantly auditioning and creating opportunities for myself. I absolutely love acting and know that the right project for me is on the horizon. The entertainment industry really takes perseverance and the ability to hear the word no and not waver from your focus. I actually did this crazy run/hike to the top of Vail Mountain last week and it really gave me clarity. I haver zero experience being in the snow or high altitude and for whatever crazy reason I decided to sign up for this race when I was in town visiting Vail. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I wanted to quit so many times, especially when I would look up and see the tall mountain ahead of me. The only way I got through it was keeping my head down and just looking a few feet in front of me at a time and just keep moving. I kept telling myself “keep moving” and you will reach the top. And I realized that’s how the entertainment industry is. You have to keep your head down, stay in your lane and keep moving and focusing on incremental wins and eventually before you know it you’ll reach the top.
What do you like to watch on tv?
I love watching comedy specials and anything about food! I love anything Anthony Bourdain does.
Do you support any charities?
Yes, anything cancer related. My dad has had cancer for the last 17 years. He’s a super rare case where he just always has cancer and gets chemotherapy regularly but for the most part is fine. I feel so lucky that despite the fact that he’s sick, the right medicine has kept him alive for so many years. And I can’t wait for the day when cancer is completely curable.
Additionally I just returned from a month long tour entertaining our troops over seas. I heard so many heartbreaking and touching stories from our soldiers that I will do anything to support them. They are heroes and deserve the best of everything.
3 things you can’t leave your house without?
My phone is the main thing I can think of!
What’s a normal day in your life?
I get up pretty early and check emails and usually listen to a podcast while I do that. I’m a huge fan of Barry Katz’s Industry Standard podcast because I love hearing stories of how people made it. Then I workout a couple days a week. Then its usually off to auditions or I work on some writing before I head out to comedy clubs at night. I also hang out with my friends a lot! I mean who doesn’t love happy hour!
Best advice ever given?
“Expect to hear the word NO 100x before you hear the word yes. That way every NO you know you are closer to that yes”
This is one of my favorites that I heard Larry Miller say on Barry Katz’s podcast, it wasn’t advice given to me specifically but it really resonated with me. It was, “Keep swinging with both hands. And keep smiling. And keep saying, “How do ya like that. I’m in show business and I’m never leaving.” -Larry Miller”
What’s next for Rachael O’Brien?
More standup, more tours, a sitcom that I can write, produce and be in, and helping others make it because when you see someone else win too that means that there’s lots of work out there!
What do you think of Social Media?
It’s great but there’s so much of it! So much pressure to snap, tweet, insta…whatever. Look I like to take a selfie as much as the next person but constantly updating social media can be exhausting. I have a hard enough time enjoying a moment and not thinking about my career or ways to be better, I don’t need social media pulling away even more! But obviously it inevitably does
Where we can follow you?
Quote: “Comedy is the closest thing to justice. If you’re funny, you survive. If you’re not, you don’t.”-Jerry Seinfeld
Drink: Vodka Soda two limes
Movie: Almost Famous
Travel Destination: Rome
Sports Team: Oregon Ducks