David Rakoff


David Rakoff : biography

November 27, 1964 – August 9, 2012

Rakoff appeared as himself in the documentary Florent: Queen of the Meat Market (2009) about a local restaurantAmateau, Albert. , The Villager, July 29 – August 4, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2010. and in a film about the book State by State (2008), in which one of his essays is published.


Rakoff appeared as a modelling agent Rich Tuchman in As The World Turns, a television soap opera. He wrote about that experience in the essay "Lather, Rinse, Repeat", published in the collection Fraud., April 11, 2003. See also Rakoff, David, . He also appeared as Todd in Cosby (1996–2000). and as Frank in the TV show Snake ‘n’ Bacon (2009).

Rakoff was memorialized during the "Moment of Zen" of the August 13, 2012, episode of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. A clip from his 2010 appearance on the show, followed by a black title card showing the years of his birth and death, ended the program.


Rakoff acted in the theater, including off-Broadway, notably in plays written by The Talent Family (David and Amy Sedaris). Those plays included the Obie award-winning One Woman Shoe 1995), in relation to which a critic writing in Newsday said that Rakoff "exuded quirky appeal",Stuart, Jan, , Newsday January 24, 1995. Retrieved March 10, 2010. The New York Times said both that Rakoff was "hilarious"Jefferson, Margo, , The New York Times, June 25, 1995. Retrieved March 10, 2010. and that he delivered "a droll, impeccably sustained performance providing the necessary anchor".Brantley, Ben, , The New York Times, January 26, 1995. Retrieved January 20, 2010. Rakoff also appeared in the Sedaris’s The Little Freida Mysteries at La Mama (1997), of which The New York Times said Rakoff was part of a "deft ensemble",Brantley, Ben, , The New York Times, February 19, 1997. Retrieved January 20, 2010. and which received a good review in Newsday.Jacobsen, Aileen, , Newsday February 13, 1997. Retrieved March 10, 2010. and in The Book of Liz (2001), in which he played various characters, including Nathaniel Brightbee, a member of a crypto-Amish order called "The Squeamish", who takes over Amy Sedaris’s cheese ball operation. His performances were highly regarded by some critics.Smith, Ethan, , The Village Voice, March 27, 2001. Retrieved January 20, 2010. See also , The New York Times, April 6, 2001, and , The New York Times, March 28, 2001. (January 20, 2010). Rakoff portrayed Lance Loud on stage and appeared in other plays including "David & Jodi & David and Jackie", inspired by the 1960s classic "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice", alongside Jackie Hoffman, David Ilku and Jodi LennonVan Gelder, Lawrence, , The New York Times, June 14, 2005. Retrieved January 20, 2010. and "The Cartells".Genzingler, Neil, , The New York Times, October 19, 2006. Retrieved January 20, 2010. He also delivered a monologue about being fired in the stage show "Fired!".Zinoman, Jason, , The New York Times, January 30, 2004. Retrieved January 20, 2010.

Voice work

The Canadian-born Rakoff voiced the part of the US President Thomas Jefferson for the audio book of Jon Stewart’s America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction and provided the voice of Polish-American Leon Czolgosz (the assassin of US President William McKinley) in the audio book version of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation.

Rakoff was in the voice cast of the 2009 Williams Street animated pilot Snake ‘n’ Bacon. Based on the creations of American cartoonist and illustrator Michael Kupperman, it aired on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim channel.


In 1994, Rakoff directed Stitches, by David and Amy Sedaris. His direction was described as "clearly focused" by The New York TimesBrantley, Ben, , The New York Times, January 11, 1994. Retrieved January 20, 2010. and "brisk" by Newsday.Jacobsen, Aileen, , Newsday May/June 2008. Retrieved March 10, 2010. He also directed Jail Babes starring The Duelling Bankheads (David Ilku and Clark Render) at La Mama, E.T.C. in 1996, and Mike Albo’s one-man show, Spray, at P.S. 122 in New York City.