The Fortunate One: Fortune Feimster Plays Beantown
With her bushy orange hair and Southern drawl, lesbian comedian Fortune Feimster is not the first woman who springs to mind when one bats around the phrase "late-night talk show phenom." But this funny girl parlayed her success as a semi-finalist on "Last Comic Standing" to become a writer and regular performer on the hit E! Network program, "Chelsea Lately." Feimster, who is an alumna of the prestigious Groundlings Sunday Company, took time from her busy joke-writing schedule to share her success story with EDGE.
Feimster, who is set to appear in an upcoming Fox series starring Tina Fey and Matt Hubbard, will perform at Laugh Boston on March 28-30. For more information, visit www.laughboston.com.
EDGE: How did you land the gig on "Chelsea Lately?"
The "Last Comic Standing" was the first time I was on TV, and it's what really got my name out there. Eight months later, my manager told me that the show was looking for new writers, so I applied like everybody else. They came to see me perform with the Groundlings, and I got the job.
EDGE: Walk us through a regular working day for you.
FEIMSTER: Most days consist of looking for topics and trying to find clips that will be good on the show, and writing jokes. Every day we have a morning meeting to over what we're going to talk about on the show that day, but everything is done very last minute. You have to be able to think on your feet and come up with jokes good enough to make it onto the show.
EDGE: You do a lot of dancing on "Chelsea Lately" Was that part of your original job description before you joined the show?
FEIMSTER: I didn't know I would be dancing as much as I am, but I don't mind. I feel like I've got some moves; I've got a little robot action going on. And I like the dance squad and cheerleader group a lot. I was never a cheerleader, so this is a way I can play that role of a very feminine lady.
EDGE: How dramatically has your Spandex wardrobe increased as a result?
FEIMSTER: I have noticed that every week, I find myself in tinier and tinier outfits. I'm not complaining because my figure helped me land the job, but I admit that my Spandex collection is a lot bigger than someone my size should have.
EDGE: You often dress up as Honey Boo Boo and other characters. Do you have a favorite?
FEIMSTER: It's nice to step outside of myself and get to be different people. My favorite was when I dressed up as Khloe Kardashian. I did a total caricature; it was not even like her. I just yelled the whole time, and that really made me laugh. I hope she didn't think I was trying to impersonate her.
EDGE: You also do stand-up at the Hollywood Improv and World Famous Comedy Store, as well as venues across the nation. What's one of your best jokes on your stand-up act?
FEIMSTER: There's a story about my mom I really enjoy. You really have to see it in person, but basically it's that if she has one drink, she's automatically drunk. And as soon as she starts drinking, she starts dancing, without fail to some dirty hip-hop song that she has no idea of the lyrics. She'll just be shaking her finger and dancing, off in her own world.
EDGE: There was some talk about you writing an ABC sitcom "Discounted." How is that going?
FEIMSTER: I had written a sitcom, which I sold to ABC but didn't end up getting picked up. We are going to try to resell it to cable, but right now it's still up in the air. Still, it was very cool that my first time out, I sold something to a network.
EDGE: Chelsea Handler has said, "get a couple of drinks in Sarah Colonna, and she'll go down on me in two seconds." Is Colonna really a "three-martini lesbian"?
FEIMSTER: I don't know personally, because I didn't realize it took three martinis. I always left after two, but now I'm kicking myself for not having waited around.
EDGE: What type of ladies do you like?
FEIMSTER: Ones that like me; those are my favorite. I tend to date feminine women, but in general I like nice people who enjoy life, because I find myself to be very optimistic, and generally nice to others.
EDGE: Does being on "CL" help you pull tail?
FEIMSTER: It definitely has been better since I started the show, although I don't know if that's because I'm on TV, or because I now have a job and can pay for the date. I think it's a combination of the two. But I'm also in a better place in my own life, and when your confidence grows, people are attracted to that. Also, I'm no longer taking girls to Denny's for dates -- although Denny's is delicious.
EDGE: What's your best pickup line?
FEIMSTER: "Hey woman, you wanna see me do the robot?" The "hey woman" part always gets them. By the time I get to doing the robot, that's just icing on the cake.
EDGE: What are your views on gay marriage?
FEIMSTER: I don't know whether I'll get married or not, but I'm all for equality. I don't believe in anyone being able to do something others can do, so I'm pro gay marriage. I think we're at a point in our world where it shouldn't be an issue anymore.
EDGE: In a skit on the May 8 show, you got to kiss Chelsea, and cop a feel of some left side boob. Among the perks of the job, how does this rate?
FEIMSTER: It's awesome! It makes work a lot better for me, and the people I work with. I'm lucky to be on a staff with a lot of women, which is very unusual, especially for late-night TV. People listen to each other, so you don't feel like you're not heard. And how many people can kiss their boss and grab her boob on TV and have it be totally fine? It's a pretty cool place to work, and the fact we all support and love each other and want to do well is good. Chelsea is the one who leads that charge; she sets the example, and we all just follow suit.
Catch Fortune Feimster weeknights at 11 p.m. on "Chelsea Lately" on the E! Network, and see if she's coming to a comedy club in your town by visiting www.fortunefeimster.com