News Column

5 Questions with comedian Whitney Cummings [Press of Atlantic City (NJ)]

July 3, 2013

YellowBrix

A lot has changed for comedian Whitney Cummings in just a few years time. On the professional front, Cummings co-created the hit CBS sitcom "2 Broke Girls" while creating and starring in another comedy series, NBC's "Whitney," which was just canceled after two seasons.

In her personal life, she lived with a guy for the first time -- and broke up with him -- among other travails, including having to cope with her mother's serious illness and sister's addiction issues.

"Four years ago, when I did my last special, I was single and like a slut and was trying to figure it all out," says Cummings, who performs 9 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City. "I was making mistakes in my relationships. I was a mess. I was in my 20s. I turned 30 and a lot has changed. I feel like I've grown so much."

The University of Pennsylvania graduate is now back to doing what she loves best: stand-up comedy. She's working on material for a new TV special, and is mostly confining her TV time to writing some of the scripts for "2 Broke Girls."

Cummings talks being in the moment on stage and why she's relieved to take a break from appearing in America's living rooms.

Q: This is your first tour since you landed your TV series. Why did you want to go back on the road?

A: The last few years, I had my plates full, to say the least. It was frustrating that I wasn't able to do stand-up ... because it's the only thing that fills the void or makes sense. I can't wait to get back on the road. I feel like I have so much to say. I've changed so much since the last time I was touring, and I feel like I'm on fire.

Q: Now that you're better known nationally, is it harder to get up in front of a live audience?

A: I think I have a little bit of fear sometimes now. When you do a TV show, you get a lot of feedback -- a lot of public praise and public criticism -- all this anonymous feedback. Sometimes you're on stage, you have a little more consciousness of that. But for the most part, I'm grateful that most people who have come to see me are supportive.

You have to be accountable for everything you say. Everyone is holding a phone now -- people just hold their phones in their laps when you're on stage now. When you're more known, it's like the bar is higher. People expect you to be even funnier. But I don't feel pressure, I'm just trying to be honest and connect with people.

Q: Still you prefer the immediacy of stand-up to the laborious process of doing TV?

A: As a stand-up, you write material, perform the material, they laugh, you're done -- you've succeeded. In TV, there are all these variables you have no control over. It's a struggle coming from the stand-up world, where there's a purity of the process.

Q: How do you feel about "Whitney" getting the ax?

A: It was a very mixed, emotional thing for the show to end. When you do a TV show like that, you have a family -- that cast and crew and writers were my family. You see them every day for 12 hours. It was my entire life.

I think doing a network TV show, with the topics I'm interested in, is a little bit difficult. You have to make compromises. The writers are used to that. But as a stand-up, I'm not used to that. I feel like I had changed personally. It was getting harder to write the character because I had changed so much and grown so much. We did 40 episodes -- with shows getting canceled so fast now, that's a success. I'm grateful for that.

Q: Do you want to get back in front of the cameras anytime soon?

A: I don't miss being in hair and make up at 5 in the morning, and having on big, fake eyelashes that give you pink eye. I'm going to do an hour special -- the tour is getting me ready. I'm doing the "Tonight Show." I'm pretty pretty sick of myself at this point. I need a little break from myself. Maybe America does, too.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.


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