Whitney Cummings talks TV

Comedian Whitney Cummings talks about her two new fall TV shows, Whitney and 2 Broke Girls.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Whitney Cummings

Whitney Cummings is coming to television, so we can get a taste of her humor every week on NBC’s Whitney. Playing an actual character on a show lets Cummings be more of a starlet, dressing up nice and even being hot. The pilot episode has her in a sexy nurse outfit trying to spice up her relationship. She’s also a producer on CBS’s 2 Broke Girls. At NBC’s party for the Television Critics Association, I got to compliment Cummings’ wardrobe and learn more about her comedy.


CraveOnline: I’m happy the show lets you show how pretty you are.

Whitney Cummings: Oh gosh, thank you.


CraveOnline: Will there be more sexy costumes like he nurse outfit and such?

Whitney Cummings: Yeah, because the show has a lot of sexual elements in it and it’s about a relationships, and in the pilot it was about spicing up our sex life, there are going to be a lot of opportunities in the show where I’m going to try to be sexy for my man, which we all try to do in relationships. I’m sure there are going to be more skimpy outfits on the way.


CraveOnline: How did the nurse thing feel?

Whitney Cummings: The nurse thing was so fun. Something that’s really important to me in the show is that I am really open and honest with my flaws and my clumsy approach to relationships. I think that it’s really important for a comedian to be private in public and that’s sort of my job. So that really intimate moment that you normally wouldn’t want to share with people, dressing up in a costume and trying to make your man think you’re sexy, which can be pretty embarrassing, it’s really important that we do all that on the show. It’s not necessarily trying to be sexy and hot. It’s like this is what would really happen.


CraveOnline: When you come up with material now, do you have to separate this is for my act, this is for Whitney, this is for 2 Broke Girls?

Whitney Cummings: Basically, if I want to put it in my act, that means I have to put it in my show. There’s no difference between me as a person versus me as a comedian versus me as someone on the sitcom. So I try to make sure everything I do on stage I’d also do in my sitcom and vice versa.


CraveOnline: Will they happen at the same time? Will people see something in your act that was on the show?

Whitney Cummings: Obviously they are two different mediums so if I talk about something, for example in my standup special I talked about the silent treatment is not a punishment, it’s a reward. So that’s a joke and in the show, we do it literally, act it out. I get mad at him, I give him the silent treatment and I don’t talk to him for the first half of the episode. Then I have the epiphany. The silent treatment’s not a punishment, it’s a reward. Then I talk his ear off the whole rest of the episode. So you get to see jokes in different manifestations which I think is really fun, but I get to do more with amazing actors and characters so it’s a different experience but very similar thematically.


CraveOnline: Does that mean you only have half the lines to remember that week?

Whitney Cummings: This is my secret. Everyone’s asking about it being a multi-camera live studio audience show. I need people to laugh after my jokes so I have time to remember my next line. That’s what I always say, but yes, I needed to do a show based on my standup because that’s the only way I’ll remember what I’m supposed to be saying.


CraveOnline: What part of your act is in the characters on 2 Broke Girls?

Whitney Cummings: Oh God, Kat Dennings’ character Max, I think both characters have a little bit of me and a little bit of Michael Patrick King in them. Michael has been my hero for a long time, Michael Patrick King. I feel like he kind of formed me as a person. I was such a big fan of The Comeback. I think it’s one of the best shows ever made, the same with Sex and the City. Sex and the City was my religion for a long time. Besides the clothes and the shoes and the clothing porn of it, that show’s writing, there was writing under writing under writing and everything wove together. It taught me how to write. Watching that show taught me how to write. My goal for my standup was I want to pick up where Sex and the City left off. If Sex and the City were still on, what would they be talking about? Would they be talking about dating with Facebook, dating with Twitter, FourSquare, LinkedIn, all this sh*t? What would they be saying about it? That was where my starting off point was for writing. So to meet him was so surreal and we met and we were so similar. We had such similar opinions and exactly the same sense of humor. We had like the same brain, so it was so surreal. We kind of morphed into this one character who’s Kat Dennings’ character on Two Broke Girls. She’s Max. She’s acerbic and she’s ahead of everybody and she’s dark and she’s twisted. She doesn’t have a father in her life. She was on her own very young. It’s something Michael and I sort of morphed. Then Caroline in the show is kind of me and Michael’s fantasy world. Nobody knows more about New York City than Michael so I think he was a little more of a Caroline than I was, but all girls have that sort of feminine side I was able to contribute.


CraveOnline: How much sleep are you getting?

Whitney Cummings: I’m so tired. I’m so tired. No, I actually have such an amazing show runner, Betsy Thomas. She gets us out every day by 6. I get home, I can read the notes from the CBS show. I’m always in bed by 10 or 11 unless I want to go do standup that night. I’m usually always in bed by 10, 11, sometimes midnight and wake up at 8. I actually do sleep a lot. I have no excuse to look as tired as I do.


CraveOnline: When you do the roasts, what’s your line where it’s just too mean to be funny?

Whitney Cummings: The whole idea of the roasts is to go – first of all I am so honored to have been part of the roasts. I was a writer on the roasts before I was a performer on them. I begged them to give me an opportunity to submit as a writer. The whole point of the roasts is to be as mean as possible, to be as edgy as possible. It’s almost like the meaner you are, the more respect you’re showing because that’s the point. Comedians have a very twisted way of showing love and that’s how we do it. The roasts started at the Friars Club as an homage. It’s like the Oscars of comedy. It’s an honor to be a part of it and it’s an honor to be roasted. It didn’t start out as oh, this is mean. It started out as these people are showing their love. But over the years it’s gotten meaner and meaner and more and more brutal, and it’s started including people who aren’t comedians, who are a little more defenseless. Having an actor get up there and get slammed has started to feel a little mean. I think if something is smarter than it is mean, or more clever than it is mean, it’s always worth doing.


CraveOnline: Did you audition for any other sitcoms in the past before you got your own?

Whitney Cummings: Not really. I did a little stint, one scene on a show called Half & Half when I first moved here. So I think that prepared me for having my own show, right?


Photo Credit: FayesVision/WENN.com