Attention aspiring performers who’ve been told they can’t be gay, have to lose weight, can’t talk that way, need to dress this way, and have to change who they are to make it in Hollywood: Fortune Feimster is a star. From North Carolina, to “Last Comic Standing,” to Chelsea Handler’s roundtable (with a few Hooters outfits and unitards along the way) Feimster has established herself as one of the most in-demand and popular female comedians around. Many of us in the lesbian community have been Fortune fans for years but now, via her relationship with comedy superpower Chelsea Handler, the loveable comic has gone mainstream in a big way – and we couldn’t be happier for her.
With two TV shows, an ongoing standup schedule, and more projects in the works, we recently caught up with the busy southerner to get the scoop on her successes over the past year, what she has planned for this year’s Club Skirts Presents The Dinah in Palm Springs, and what Chelsea Handler is really like…
CherryGRRL (CG): So first off, you should know that we’ve been calling 2011 “The year of Fortune Feimster” around the CG water cooler. And it looks like 2012 won’t be very different for you at all. Congrats on all the success. How have you adjusted to all the changes and increased attention?
Fortune Feimster (FF): Well, that sounds like a pretty fun water cooler! I’d be more curious, though, to hear the other kinds of stuff you ladies talk about. Oh, wait, my mom is probably going to read this. So, yeah, 2011 was awesome. I started the year unemployed and broke, and then three weeks later I was hired on “Chelsea Lately.” It’s been a whirlwind ever since. I’m still adjusting to being in an office all day every day and I certainly travel way more than I ever had, but they’re the best kinds of problems to have. It still trips me out when strangers come up to me and know my name, but it’s such a strong testament to the show Chelsea’s built. I definitely hope 2012 is just as good, if not better, and if it is, you guys have to promise to talk about it this time around a water slide!
CG: Deal. Obviously your joining the team over at “Chelsea Lately” must be so exciting. How did that amazing opportunity come about for you?
FF: They put out a job notice to the comedy community that they were looking for a new writer and I was told they had like 400 submissions. I submitted a writing package like everybody else and honestly didn’t think I had a shot in the world. Three months went by without hearing a thing and then one day we got a call saying I had a meeting with the producers. That meeting went well and then the next day they told me I’d be meeting with Chelsea. My meeting with her lasted all of 10 minutes, she of course intimidated the crap out of me, and when I left I pretty much told my manager that there was no way in hell I was getting that job. The next day they called and said the job was mine! I couldn’t believe it! One of the producers told me later that as soon as I told Chelsea that I enjoyed dressing up in a Hooters waitress outfit, it pretty much sealed the deal!
CG: Chelsea does definitely seem intimidating. Do you get nervous on nights when you are on the roundtable? It seems like the pressure is REALLY on to be funny there or you’ll hear it from her and your co-roundtablers…
FF: I used to get extremely nervous when I first started being on the roundtable. There’s a timing to it that not every comedian has been able to adjust to, and you only have a few chances to prove that you can do it. You’ve got to say jokes that have never been tested before in front of a live studio audience and you have to be able to think on your feet really quickly because Chelsea may ask you something or one of the panelists may say a similar joke as yours, and there are just all these unknowns going into it. I still get nervous sometimes, but now that I’ve been doing it for a year, it’s finally starting to feel like second nature. Plus, nowadays Chelsea is slamming people more for their ridiculous outfits than she is for their ridiculous jokes. That’s why I just stick with the cardigans!
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