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Indiana native to make TV debut as comedian

by on January 27, 2014 11:00 AM

In 2013, Rachel McDowell quit her job to become a full-time comedian.

That’s paying off for the Indiana native, who’s making her TV debut on a 10-part series, “Stand Up and Deliver: Cabo.” McDowell, who now lives in West Hollywood, took a roundabout way of deciding to become a comedian.

After graduating from Indiana Area Senior High School in 1996, McDowell went to Clarion University to earn her bachelor’s degree. Then, she moved to Pittsburgh.

“I worked for the Carnegie Museum of Art,” McDowell said. “One day I walked to an office at the institute and one of the girls there said to take a comedy class with her.”

The class cost $31, which McDowell didn’t have. Her brother ended up paying for it.

“I took the class and I just ended up enjoying it and sticking with it,” she said.

Now, “Rachel doesn’t fit into the mold of women that Barbie built, but her comedy will blow you away,” according to her website and blog, “Corporate to Comedy.” McDowell left her six-figure salary job as a software analyst to pursue her new goal, quitting her job at Ariba less than a year ago.

Her role on “Stand Up and Deliver: Cabo” began with a comedy festival in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in the beginning of October.

“That was magnificent,” she said. “They put you up for a week in Cabo … there are tons of comics.”

McDowell said some of the comedians she met included those from “Chelsea Lately,” hosted by comedian Chelsea Handler on E! While at the competition, she ended up in the finals.

“NUVO, owned by Jennifer Lopez, was at the Cabo Comedy Festival, so the executives invited some of the comics to film for their show.”

She’ll be on the show March 18 with headlining act Baron Vaughn, who recently played the role of Leo on “Fairly Legal” on the USA network.

This is a big step in McDowell’s comedy career — she said that in Los Angeles, comedians need TV credits before they can really make it as an act.

“I think it should be a solid credit,” she said. “I enjoy the show.”

Though she had never taped any acts before, she enjoyed the process.

“You get to do photographs, do quick little flush pieces … and to see how that works.”

She’s even become “good friends” with one of the hosts of the show, Jose Sarduy.

The taping of the show, she said, may have even been more exciting than the chance to see herself on TV a few weeks from now.

The taping was an all-day process, with the crowd sitting through the performances of all 16 comedians.

“They picked us all up at the same time and we just hung out until it was our turn to go on. ... The crowd was wonderful and had a really good time.”

The show was filmed at Cabo Wabo Cantina, owned by rock star Sammy Hagar.

Though McDowell won’t appear until the March 18 episode, “Stand Up and Deliver: Cabo” premieres at 10 p.m. on Tuesday. It will air every Tuesday through April 1.

“It’ll be really exciting to be sitting in a living room with friends watching myself on TV,” McDowell said. “I’m nervous a little bit about it, but I had a good set and I feel that I had a good show.”

McDowell’s father, Joe McDowell, and his family, reside in Indiana.



Ellen Matis is the digital media coordinator and a staff writer at The Indiana Gazette. She is the person behind the Gazette's social media. A 2012 graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Ellen has a degree in journalism and public relations. Follow her on Twitter, @EllenMatis, or email her at ematis@indianagazette.net.
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