Meet Rachel Davies
Rachel Davies is a freelance entertainment writer and stand-up comedian. We interviewed them about their workspace where they showed us how they do what they do.
Tell us a little bit about what you do and how you came into it.
I write about pop culture, mostly online, and do stand up as often as I get the chance to. The ‘zine I ran in high school, Pop Culture Puke, gets full credit for how I came to it. I started interviewing artists, writers, and musicians at a relatively young age and realized how much I enjoyed meeting new people and badgering them with questions about themselves.
I always thought of being a writer as a pipe dream and felt like doing the ‘zine was a way of getting it out of my system before I was met with the full force of adult responsibilities. I feel really lucky to pay my bills through writing alone now, without having to make hundreds of lifestyle sacrifices. Stand up is something I’ve really wanted to do since I was a tween, but that never felt possible.
You’ve been writing for Rookie since 2016, what was it like in those early years to be a part of an up and coming generation of young writers?
I’m really grateful for all the friends I made through Rookie and the other indie sites and zines I made stuff for as a teen. 95% of my friends to this day can be traced back to some type of online project I contributed to.
What has your experience been like going from writing to performing stand-up comedy?
I’ve been writing for years now so I feel pretty comfortable with how to approach pitching and the types of stories that I usually write, so it’s pretty nerve wracking to be doing something I don’t entirely understand. That’s the downside, but the upside is that I really enjoy learning and it’s been really exciting to gain more of an understanding of what it’s like to perform and how to improve at it.
You’ve written deeply moving Riverdale recaps on Instagram stories. What are some predictions you have for the good folks of Riverdale?
Oh boy! First off, yes, thank you. Secondly, I think we have a better chance at predicting the specific date and time that the world is going to blow up than we do at predicting what’s going to happen in even the next scene of any given Riverdale episode. To move more into fan fiction territory, I’d love to see Archie and Jughead give romance a go and I think it would be exhilarating to see some more love triangles. I also would love a spin off where we’re exclusively focused on Madchen Amick’s character, Alice Cooper.
You mostly write about comedy and culture, what was the pop-culture moment that started it all- the one you'd write an I Think About This A Lot piece about?
Hmmmm… This is likely a very boring and earnest answer, but NBC’s Thursday comedy nights were always the highlight of my weeks growing up. My older sister, my mother, and I spent a lot of time watching TV together growing up—it is from the two of them that I get my maniacal desire to know every detail about a given TV show’s cast and crew, whether or not I watch the show. I remember them absolutely loving The Office and 30 Rock, so I of course loved them both, despite not getting half of the jokes because this was before I even hit middle school.
From Aidy Bryant to Mitski to Leanne Shapton, you’ve interviewed some pretty notable stars. Who were you most excited to interview?
Leanne Shapton was a really exciting one for me because she’s also Canadian and dropped out of school. At the time two things in common with a person was enough to convince me we were long lost soulmates. Other than that, I was really jazzed to talk to Sharon Horgan who co-created/stars/writes Catastrophe and also created Divorce and Pulling. I think she’s insanely funny and Catastrophe is one of the best comedies ever, in my opinion.
What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?
Hmph. I’m currently reading a lot of boring how-to books and self help books (lol)—nothing overly interesting, unfortunately. I’m just finished Crazy Ex Girlfriend which makes me terribly sad because I think that show is absolutely brilliant. It ends up being a totally original and affecting exploration of the importance of working on one’s mental health, while still using a lot of rom com tropes and musical numbers that make it extremely fun to watch. Everyone should and must watch that show! Weyes Blood’s new album Titanic Rising is one of my constant soundtracks right now—I could sit and listen to that album while playing Sims all day.
Tell us about your work rituals, how do you get down to it?
I’m very attached to setting specific goals and deadlines for myself. Even if it’s for nothing that anyone else will ever see, I really require those in order to feel stable and like I’m not wasting all of my time on this planet. If I’m working on a piece that’s not a super tight deadline, I need to break it down in specific tasks (writing down first thoughts, making an outline, writing a first draft, etc) or else I find it hard to start motoring.
What are three items that you absolutely need in your workspace?
I need a huge cup of water and headphones for sure. I’m always either listening to music I’m hoping to cover, the Social Network soundtrack, or some type of instrumental music. I’ve also recently gotten into keeping a crossword book on my desk as a way of taking a break from the screen but still keeping my mind active.
Whose desk (dead or alive) would you love to snoop through and why?
Ahhhhh, going back to my Crazy Ex Girlfriend kick, I’d love to see how Aline Brosh McKenna works. She wrote 27 Dresses and The Devil Wears Prada, along with co-creating the show.
What’s on your current to-do list?
What ISN’T on my to-do list right now! I’m at work on a few different pieces right now so I have a lot of miscellaneous tasks associated with those to complete, and I’m about to move twice within the span of a few months, so I reaaally need to pare down my belongings. I perennially have “send three pitches” on my to-do list.