My Media Diet: Shiva Baby breakout Rachel Sennott

The actress slash comedian plays a sugar baby anxiety magnet in this claustrophobic Jewish comedy.

It’s at a shiva, a Jewish funeral, where Danielle is confronted with her secret sugar daddy. She’s there with her parents, but suddenly her client walks in with, oh God, is that his girl boss” wife? And look at their newborn baby… Also, did he once work for her dad?

This is the premise of coming-of-age comedy Shiva Baby, directed by Emma Seligman. What follows is NYU student Danielle, played by Rachel Sennott, unravelling slowly when her ex-girlfriend (Molly Gordon) shows up to the service and her failing academic career is brought into question by her despotic parents.

Filmed over two weeks in Brooklyn in 2019, it was originally a short film that debuted at South by Southwest and the Toronto Film Festival. Now a feature film – Sennott’s first – it’s a logorrheic anxiety comedy designed to make you either sweat or cry with laughter. Sennott is a comedian and actress, whom you might have seen in HBO’s High Maintenance, ABC’s Call Your Mother or on Twitter, meting out hilarious jibes. Here is what she’s been thinking about lately…

The last article I found myself thinking about was…

OK, I’m not sure if this counts as an article, but I check the website that updates the number of people in the U.S. who are vaxxed everyday. The more people vaxxed, the quicker I can host a giant birthday party for everyone who didn’t get to celebrate their birthday this past year, which is actually everyone.

The last new artist I discovered on Spotify was…

Maybe not the last one, but my friends recently told me about Ashnikko. She is so cool and makes super sick music videos, where she’s like a hot empowered baby screaming at a guy and I love it. It’s hard to pick, but my favourite song of hers is probably Working Bitch, which I relate to because I’m a Virgo, obviously. I got to talk to her on Zoom this year and she is cool on Zoom too.

The last picture I liked on Instagram was…

A pic of FKA twigs drinking out of a mug that says Children are maggots.” I’ve never had kids, so I cannot confirm or deny, but I’ve had a lot of babysitting jobs I hated so… maybe.

The last TikTok I sent to a friend was…

A TikTok my sister made where she’s wearing my dress. Most of my clothes are at home in my parent’s basement, because I don’t have a permanent home right now. And yes, I sent it to my sister to say, That’s my dress.”

The last series I binged (or watched a lot of) was…

The Queen’s Gambit. She wears chic outfits the whole time and slowly moves around little chess pieces while war music plays. I love how it ends with every guy she’s ever hooked up with sitting in a room together helping her accomplish her dreams. Goals!

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The last book I stayed awake reading was…

OK, awkward, because I don’t know how to read. Just kidding, it was my friend Cat Cohen’s book of poems. It’s called God I Feel Modern Tonight and it made me cry, because it reminded me of when we went to a Duane Reade [drugstore] a couple nights before the pandemic hit. We bought seltzer and dark chocolate, and were like, Do you think something bad is going to happen?”

The last new word I learned was…

Supercilious. I was looking up synonyms for the word arrogant for a script” I am writing”. Writing is all about looking up synonyms.

The last meme that made me laugh aloud was…

The Oprah memes from the Harry and Megan interview. I had to call three people to figure out how to use my TV to watch it – my Airbnb host, her son, and my boyfriend – but it was worth it.

Shiva Baby is out 2nd April in the US on VOD and coming soon to the UK via Mubi


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