For Rachel Feinstein, performing standup comedy isn’t just a job — it’s therapeutic.
“It’s definitely saved me from everything,” said Feinstein, who performs Thursday through Sunday on Marco Island.
“The only thing that kind of kept me going was getting up and doing shows.
“I was with somebody. He took me to dinner and said, ‘So, you’re not going to do standup for the rest of your life, are you?’ And I thought, ‘Why wouldn’t I?’ I was like, no, I want that always happening. I couldn’t manage anything without it.”
Feinstein’s shows are at Capt. Brien’s Seafood and Raw Bar, home of the Off the Hook Comedy Club, 599 S. Collier Blvd., Marco Island.
A Brooklyn, N.Y., resident, Feinstein grew up in Bethesda, Md., where she said she began impersonating people at a young age.
“I love people’s voices so I like to imitate people in my family,” she said in a telephone interview this week.
“I had no other measurable skills. I was a terrible student and I didn’t go to college. I started standup when I was 21.”
Feinstein said she first tried theater in New York City and told people she was doing standup when she wasn’t at all.
“I was lying, so I had to try it,” she said.
One day, she said, she met some comedians at a bar and convinced them to let her perform standup.
“I bombed wildly, like a lot of comics do their first time,” Feinstein said.
“But I thought it went great. I was so excited I was up there. I definitely wanted to be on stage. It was the most satisfying feeling in the world. I can’t imagine life without that.”
Feinstein said she relates to her life through standup - the humiliation, breakups, letdowns and sadness.
Laughing, she said, is essential as eating and breathing every day.
“It’s a nonnegotiable thing, like, you have to do that,” she said.
Sometimes she’ll still “bomb” during a standup routine, but that’s part of the business, she said.
“When it goes terribly, you really want to go up there once again,” she said. “You want to rinse off that bad memory.”
Besides standup, Feinstein has written for “The Onion” and provides commentary on truTV’s “World’s Dumbest,” a show that offers a comedic look at 20 events caught on camera.
She was a finalist on season 7 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” a few years ago.
Feinstein counts fellow comedians Amy Schumer and John Heffron as good friends.
“I feel like no matter I’m doing with them, they’re always making me laugh,” she said.
“I feel like I’ve found my community, I’ve found my people. It feels like home, for sure.”