Q&A with "Chelsea Lately" writer-actor Fortune Feimster - Reverb

Why So Serious, Fortune Feimster?

Fortune Feimster knows comedy gold when she hears it -- especially if it's coming from the mouths of her family members. Photo provided by Comedy Works.

Fortune Feimster knows comedy gold when she hears it — especially if it’s coming from the mouths of her family members. Photo provided by Comedy Works.

Like most of the regular comics on Chelsea Handler’s late-night “Chelsea Lately” roundtable, Fortune Feimster is quick on her feet and ruthlessly funny.

Unlike most of them, she’s got a down-to-Earth charm and relatable act that translates far and wide when she headlines across the country — as she’ll do this weekend at Comedy Works South.

Feimster didn’t expect to return so soon having bowed there only this summer. But the North Carolina native and “Last Comic Standing” veteran was surprised to find “her audience” hiding out at the Greenwood Village venue.

See her at 7:15 and 9:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday (Nov. 30-Dec. 1) and check out our exclusive Q&A with her below.

How long have you been writing for and appearing on “Chelsea Lately” now?

I’m coming up on my two-year anniversary here, so it’s a cool milestone.

How did you first get it?

They put out a notice that they were looking for new writers and I applied — along with pretty much every other comedian in (L.A.) and got a meeting with the producers, and that went well, so I met with Chelsea. I was pretty sure she hated me because she’s impossible to read, but the next day I got the job. I’ve been told it had something to do with the fact that I was willing to dress up in a Hooters waitress outfit.

As well as your background with the Groundlings (improv troupe), I’m sure. Anyway, sounds like a great gig to have. Chelsea has done a lot for up-and-coming stand-ups over the last few years.

Yeah, you don’t find many people in her position who are always looking out to get opportunities for everybody else.

What was your first time on stage doing comedy like – and what made you want to come back?

My first time was doing improv at the Groundlings. I had started there as a hobby and when I got to do my first show and people actually laughed at these ridiculous scenes, there was just something about it that hooked me. I was like, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Do you have a joke you used to love to tell, but can’t stand anymore?

Yeah, as stand-ups you tend to do a lot of the same jokes over and over again because a lot of audiences haven’t heard it yet, and there’s some jokes I started out with a couple years ago about my mom. She’d call me up and tell me what she wanted to remind me about someone, like “Do you remember Ashley Davidson? Remember her? You know who that is. She had long dark hair, she was on the cheerleading squad,” and things like that. “Well, she’s DEAD.” And I love that joke because it was one of the first ones people really resonated with, but I cannot do this joke again just because at this point that joke is annoying me. My own voice annoys me and I hear it in my mom’s voice. And I think, “I’ve gotta start hanging out with my mom more to get new material.”

Is your mom funny? Let me rephrase that: if your mom intentionally funny?

She think she’s hilarious and likes to act like she’s the reason I’m funny, and just to make her mad I tell her it’s my dad, so they both argue over who it is. My whole family’s pretty funny.

When is the last time you laughed so hard you cried?

Oh, every day. There’s a lot of times here at work where they Chris Franjola or Heather McDonald will do an impression of someone around he office and I’ll oftentimes laugh until it hurts. Just snide comments and things like that. That stuff makes me laugh the most.

Do you have a favorite joke of the moment?

It’s not a joke, really, but I watched “SNL” where Louis C.K. does the opening of his show as Abraham Lincoln and that was pretty awesome. Just inserting himself into that world and then inserting Lincoln into his world was pretty hilarious. It was very clever, and he’s obviously an extremely brilliant comedian, but it was just so cool to see him just intertwine those two worlds that couldn’t be more different.

What’s the worst thing you’ve ever felt bad laughing about?

There really is nothing that’s sacred. As a comedian you don’t really have that same sensitivity about things that everybody else does. But sometimes I’m thinking to myself, “If anyone were to walk into this conversation, they’d think I was the worst person in the world.”

You get to see a ton of comics on “Chelsea Lately.” Who are your favorites?

I work with a lot of the really funny ones, like Josh Wolf, who always puts on such a funny show and the crowds love him. He’s definitely one of the good ones to watch. And Jo Koy, obviously. He’s just so animated and relatable and fun. And I like that kind of comedy, because you just want to give people a good time if they’re making the effort to come to your show. And then Greg Fitzsimmons is so smart. I love his observations and just his brain. We have a lot of funny ladies. It’s really cool to see Chelsea giving women a lot of opportunities. All the girls that I write with are hysterical. Natasha Leggero, who makes me laugh so much, has that kind of upper-class persona but then she says something so filthy.

What’s next for you?

Well, the big thing I’m working right now is that I recently wrote a sitcom with a couple guys called “Discounted” and we got a script deal from ABC. We’re writing the pilot right now and we’re just really excited about it. We love the idea — it’s about a furniture store — and we love the characters. We’ve created this world and the backdrop and everybody that’s come across it just thinks it’s a really fun, unique show. We know if we get to shoot the pilot that something great could come out of it, for sure. It’s something that I think would make people laugh of all ages and backgrounds, because in my stand-up I strive for that as well. I’m just trying to do comedy that’s relatable to everybody. You know — something funny but that also has heart. So it’s a cool, new, big step for me. I’ve never done anything on this level as far as network television, so I’m just so glad that ABC is taking a chance by wanting to get into business with us.

And you’ll be back at Comedy Works South already. When was the last time you were there?

I was there this summer (2012) in the Landmark club. I didn’t expect to be back so soon but I had such a great time and I guess they did too. Everybody that came to the shows — I didn’t think it would be my type of audience, more of the suburbs and housewives and all that. But I had a blast. Everybody was just so nice and supportive. I can’t wait to come back.

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John Wenzel is an A&E reporter and critic for The Denver Post. Follow him @johntwenzel and @beardsandgum.

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