Tag Archives: Fortune Feimster

A Chat With Funny Fortune Feimster, Beck/Smith Hollywood Alumna


Fortune Feimster green cardiganby Stacy Jenel Smith

Before Fortune Feimster became a rising late night star as part of Chelsea Handler’s motley troupe on “Chelsea Lately“… before she taped her June 27 midnight “Half Hour” special for Comedy Central…before Fortune hosted the 2014 GLAAD Media Awards in NY… before she became a hot ticket on the comedy club circuit…before Tina Fey hand-picked her for a starring role in the highly-buzzed mid season comedy for Fox, “Cabot College” — before all that, she was part of another veritable carnival of fun, the Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive team, a.k.a., a “Beck-ette.”

Stacy and Fortune en route to press room at 2009 Academy Awards

Stacy and Fortune, 2009 Academy Awards

Yes, for more than five years, Emily Fortune Feimster toiled as an entertainment journalist, even as she was sharpening her comedy skills in off hours, doing stand-up at the L.A. Comedy Store and improv with The Groundlings. That’s why I can tell you a couple of things about Fortune that other people don’t know. For instance, there’s even more talent there than viewers have had a chance to see as yet. I have witnessed her pull off hilarious musical improv (yes, she has a voice) and pitch-perfect drama onstage. And don’t let that Mayberry accent, the generous integumental upholstery and stubbornly untamed hairdo fool you. The North Carolina native is a world-wise sophisticate, and super smart. She has a great big heart. Viewers will learn more by watching her stand-up special come the 27th. In the meantime, here’s what went down when the tables were turned on this former interviewer:

Q:  You’re a woman who is not afraid to put on a too-small Hooters outfit and wear it with pride. What pops into your head when you think of your gutsiest moment as a performer so far?

A:  On ‘Chelsea Lately,’ I started doing this ribbon dance, where they put me in a leotard and whenever we didn’t really have a topic and we were really busy, they’d be like, ‘Hey, Fortune. Go do a ribbon dance.’  And I would throw on this tiny, tiny leotard and run out on stage and dance for like 30 seconds in this ridiculous outfit. I would have to say that is probably my ballsiest move, because, as we know, my body is not built for leotards.

Q:  Have you always been so fearless?

A:  I’ve had moments of it. I was really shy growing up. It’s like, every now and then I would really surprise my friends and family. There was like this band playing at the beach when I was about 10, and all of a sudden I just got onstage and started dancing. And my family is like, ‘What?!’

Q:  Three of your most memorable characters on “Chelsea Lately” have been Rachel Zoe, Honey Boo Boo and her mom. Have you met any of them?

fortune as boo booA:  No. I actually really like Rachel Zoe. I really liked that show a lot. I thought it was hysterical how she abbreviated everything and was so dramatic. We invited Honey Boo Boo and her mom to come on ‘Chelsea,’ and they had seen my impression and didn’t care for it, so they said, ‘No, thank you.’

Q:  You mean, the thing about selling her neck gravy did not go over?

A:  She did not care for the neck gravy.

Q:  Who is the best celebrity to make fun of?

A:  Chelsea is the one who makes fun of everybody. I like to think I’m a little bit nicer, because I never want to hurt anyone’s feelings. We used to make fun of Lindsay Lohan and then she hosted the show and was really cool, so now I’m like, ‘She’s nice. I don’t want to make fun of her.’

Q:  What is your favorite item in your wardrobe right now and why?

A:  I have a denim shirt, a button-up shirt that I’ve been wearing a lot lately, and I usually wear it with denim jeans because I’m just really into the Canadian tuxedo look at the moment.

Q:  You’re moving on from “Chelsea Lately” — which is now marked for an August 26 finale show — to take on this new Tina Fey series at Fox. What is the status of “Cabot College”?  Will we see it in midseason?

A:  They’re still negotiating, and I don’t quite know what the holdup is, but hopefully we’ll know something by the end of the month.

Q:  Your character is very sunny and outgoing — and an out lesbian. Out and outgoing, and it’s all good. Tell me about her.

A:  My character is very boisterous and kind of the party girl and she makes no apologies for who she is. It’s a nice role because it’s not too far of a stretch for myself, and I get to pop up in scenes and do something ridiculous and get a laugh and leave. It’s pretty great.

Q:  Would you like to marry one day?

A:   I think so. It’s not something that I’ve really put a lot of stock into up to this point because I’ve been so busy trying to get my career off the ground. But I’m finally getting to the point where I think that would be nice, because you can have all the success in the world but if you don’t have someone to share it with, well, I just think it would be better to have that kind of partner and that support.

Q:  Have you had any encounters with fans, younger people who look up to you perhaps, who you were able to give a little encouragement?

A:  I’ve had a number of people coming up to me, younger people telling me that. One girl told me that she was gay and she’d never told anyone before. The fact that she chose me to tell was like such an honor because I’ll be part of her coming out story for the rest of her life. That’s a big moment. I’ve had people tell me they appreciate what I do because it makes it okay to be gay. I’ve had parents come up to me and tell me they lost a child, and they came to my show and it was the first time they had laughed in months. It’s pretty amazing, but that’s the power of laughter. Sometimes my job seems so silly — Oh, I’m putting on this ridiculous outfit and running around like a moron — sometimes you just forget it can have that effect on people.

Note:  After publication of this story, Fortune Feimster was named to Variety’s list of 10 Comics to Watch in 2014.  As the trade publication reports:

Selected by a team of Variety editors based on extensive polling of the professional comedy community — those who scout, book, represent, produce and cast comics on a daily basis — the group will be profiled in the July 22 issue of Variety and honored with a cocktail party and panel July 24 and 25 at the Just for Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.

Fortune Feimster Surprised by Arnold Schwarzenegger Tweet Response

Fortune Feimster

“Chelsea Lately” writer/performer Fortune Feimster was surprised by the widespread retweeting and re-quoting of her Twitter comment last week regarding the revelation of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child.  The rising comedy performer cracked:  “Good thing Arnold Schwarzenegger has been upholding the sanctity of marriage since apparently us gay folks don’t know how to” — and the remark was picked up by entities including The Los Angeles Times.

She then got some flak from people who defended Schwarzenegger.  “I’m not trying to offend anybody, but he vetoed two marriage equality bills, and I have a right to point that out,” notes Fortune, who is poised, articulate, steady and very, very smart.

We know that she is all those things, because she was on staff here at Beck/Smith Hollywood Exclusive for several years while cutting her teeth in the comedy realm.  She is also an alumna of the famed The Groundlings improv company as well as a standup comic seen in clubs on both coasts and in-between — who got her first national exposure last year on “Last Comic Standing.”

The intensity of a burgeoning show business career would be plenty to deal with without the added responsibility of being watched as an out gay woman.  But “I don’t mind having that responsibility,” she says.  “I’m a gay person.  Obviously I have strong opinions about our rights.”

Fortune Feimster, Chelsea Handler

MEANWHILE:  Chelsea Handler couldn’t be a hotter property, of course, with the new “Lies That Chelsea Told Me” attaining No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller List, her popular E! show, and now, her newly picked-up NBC prime time series, “Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea.”  (Laura Prepon is playing Chelsea, while the comedian herself shows up as a recurring character, Chelsea’s sister.)  For Fortune, the focus is Handler’s 11:00 show and all the convivial contretemps that go with it.

How does she feel about Chelsea’s remarks about her clothes, her size — calling her “Mister”?  “It’s like getting picked on by a big sister.  It’s all out of love.  She doesn’t say anything about me that I don’t joke about myself.  I never feel it’s out of meanness.  She also jokes about herself and other people, like Brad (Wollack) and his red hair.  She homes in on whatever it is that makes you different,” says the North Carolina-born performer, who stresses that she’s grateful to her very funny boss.

Up ’til now, Fortune’s job requirements have included antics from portraying the singer Meatloaf and terminally chic reality personality Rachel Zoe — to having to be seen in a bikini top.  She doesn’t mind looking ridiculous, but “I’m not one to bare it all,” she says.  “I have my limits.  No nudity.”

NBC Shares Our Ms. Fortune

When NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” premieres tonight (6/7), readers will have the chance to see this column’s own Emily-Fortune Feimster – just Fortune Feimster onstage – doing her comedic thing.

Talented as she is as an interviewer and writer, the North Carolina-born funny lady’s heart is understandably in her burgeoning performing career.  She has said goodbye to Beck/Smith Hollywood after contributing for six years.  She’s been performing full-time, with L.A.’s The Groundlings sketch comedy company, regularly doing stand-up at The Comedy Store, and elsewhere.  We miss her, but we’re happy, proud and cheering her on!