‘Rachel Feinstein: Big Guy’ Review: A Netflix Comedy Special, Is Mainly A Hit And Less Of A Mix

Rachel Feinstein is the “big guy” in her new Netflix comedy special. It is also titled Rachel Feinstein: Big Guy, and the comedian doesn’t waste a moment before explaining why she’s the big guy. And it’s quite hilarious—it’s what her husband calls her. That’s obviously not something you hear every day; in fact, this is the first time I’m ever heard about a woman having a nickname like that, but this is just how things are for her. Why is that? Because her husband is no good at giving compliments. That’s, obviously, a typical man thing and definitely not a positive one. But Feinstein makes the guy funny, and that too, not forcefully. It’s also her opener, and the joke pretty much sets the tone for the hour. You realize it’s going to be mostly about her personal life and the culture that she has grown up with. And that’s exactly how it goes. Her mother Karen and her husband Peter (I thought we would never get to know the name until she slipped it out once)—inarguably the two most important people in her life—are the ones who make the crux of the set. Some of the jokes land, and some fall quite flat. 


The husband, Peter, is a firefighter, by the way. This obviously provides Rachel with ample opportunity to make fun of the guy and his profession. If you are a firefighter and not a fan of being roasted—quite understandably (sorry for doing that, but I couldn’t help it), then you’re not going to find any of the jokes funny. But I’m sure Peter doesn’t mind, and nor should he. While Rachel keeps highlighting Peter’s profession, she also talks about what he’s like outside the fire fighting thing. And from what she describes, the man appears to be something of a dude-bro. He is the kind who doesn’t have any emotion (at least that’s what they believe) and also deals in Bitcoins with his friends, who are mostly like him. Getting through to Peter is obviously hard, especially when it comes to having a proper conversation regarding feelings. But Rachel does have her way – she starts narrating her life like a British classic novel. Not only does it always work, but it also makes for a great joke as well.

There’s a lot about firefighting in Big Guy, but Rachel is smart enough to give you breathers. For example, the entire bit with her going to the park with Peter and him exercising near the kids, like a maniac (read pedophile here; that’s what she said). Speaking of the park, Rachel confesses that she absolutely hates going there. Every time she tries to be friends with a parent, her tendency to overshare ruins it. This is something to which most of us can relate, for sure; it doesn’t matter whether we hate parks or not. Rachel also comments about parents boasting about their kids’ weird food habits, where the little ones are usually free of something like gluten or grain and it’s supposed to make them superheroes. 


Let us get back to the firefighting husband again, because that’s what Rachel keeps doing throughout the set. It’s hard to point out which joke is the funniest on the subject. Is it the one where she mentions how Peter literally gets excited about fires every time he hears about one? Or the one where the families of the firefighters are having a get-together and the atmosphere is unbelievably tense? 

While Rachel pretty much aces with her jokes on the firefighting husband, the ones she churns out on marriage are not quite there. I mean, they’re not exactly unfunny; just something you’ve either heard before or that’s not making you laugh. I did like the one with Instagram monologues, though—yes, the ones so many women post about their seemingly perfect heavenly marriage, you know what I’m talking about. And Rachel doesn’t forget to talk about the absolutely clueless husbands of the said women.


Rachel’s mother is called Karen. That’s quite unfortunate because she’s quite the opposite of that: liberal, free-thinking, and unintentionally funny. Karen is a boomer, and so is her husband, but they are still quite adorable, and Rachel’s jokes about them are actually funny. Especially the Netflix bit, where Karen apparently sends an email to Netflix, to watch her daughter’s program, is quite hilarious. Going out of her way to stand with marginalized people is also something Karen does, which obviously makes way for more jokes—all in good spirits, though. Rachel doesn’t spare Peter’s parents either. They’re quite different from her own parents, but they do give her the opportunity to come up with a lot of jokes. Like the one where Rachel’s mother-in-law compliments and also insults her, it’s quite something. Not to mention, Peter’s father having “private” conversations with Rachel about having kids takes the cake in the old-people in Rachel’s life joke segment.

Rachel Feinstein: Big Guy certainly fulfills the criteria of a good stand-up set—being funny and also being relevant. Rachel does it quite easily, thanks to her ability to get the jokes out of her own life. She doesn’t particularly hold on to anything, and her act doesn’t have any constructive begging or an explosive ending. The final joke where she talks about performing the jokes at the Hebrew Home for Ageing (Feinstein is a Jewish, and there are quite a few Jewish jokes as well) only to have the audience react in a different way is not the kind of content you usually conclude your thing with. But it goes very well with the overall laid-back style of this comedy special, which I quite enjoyed. 


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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