It's been three long years since Whitney Cummings' last stand-up tour. But between co-writing CBS series "2 Broke Girls" and starring on NBC's "Whitney" and E!'s "Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings," there just wasn't adequate time for touring. But now, with the cancellation of the latter two series (as well as two significant relationships), her schedule has opened up a bit. So she's hitting the road again with an entirely new act, inspired by a new attitude and lease on life. "People see me as a tough, ball-buster maneater, and this is kind of a different side of me," Cummings explained, in our recent interview.
Cummings opened up to Download.com about her new, more "vulnerable" act, her changed perspectives on marriage and porn, "2 Broke Girls," her friendship with Chelsea Handler, whether attractive comedians can be taken jokingly -- and why she's so into Voxer and self-help apps.
What can fans expect to see on the current tour?
I'm actually so excited about this tour because all of this material is brand new and fresh, and since the last time that I was touring, three years ago, since I was doing the TV shows and haven't had time, I've changed so much. People are really surprised by the new material, because I went through two break-ups and had my heart broken. I went through a lot of personal stuff, so a lot of the material is a lot more vulnerable.
I also changed my opinion on a lot of the stuff that I felt strongly about a couple years ago. It's interesting...people are shocked at how vulnerable a lot of the material is. People see me as a tough, ball-buster maneater, and this is kind of a different side of me.
Which issues, in particular, have you changed your viewpoint on?
You know, my whole TV show that I did for NBC was kind of predicated on the idea that I didn't believe in marriage because I come from so much divorce; but now as I get older, and have been in some more mature relationships (and I have some other reasons that I talk about in the act), I've done a 180 on that.
And I used to be super against porn and now I'm kind of into it. Why was I so against these two things? But if you're pro-marriage, then you kind of have to be pro-porn and vice versa. So big things like that I've done a lot of thinking on...and all the topics are things that everyone's grappling with, so it's very relatable.
So I know that "2 Broke Girls" just had its season premiere. Can you talk a little bit about what's going on with the show?
Yeah, it's so good to be working on that show again. For the last couple of years, I haven't been able to be as involved. It's weird. With shows, normally, third season, you run out of ideas, you run out of story lines; but with this show, there's so much to do, so the hardest part is just slowing it down and not rushing a lot of these stories. The girls are giving their business venture another shot after failing miserably last year. They continue with their financial struggles and we'll see a lot more love this season, like dating and guys -- and it's really funny. I've been in the room and gone to a lot of tapings this year and it just gets funnier and funnier. We have a new character coming in who's hilarious and it's just as fresh and loud as ever. The show is also so edgy that I think there's a concern of how do we top this? But we just keep managing to do it somehow.
What's it like working with Michael Patrick King?
Oh man, he's heaven. He's the best. He's been me hero through my 20s when "Sex and the City" was my religion and so he's been in my life for so long even before I met him.
In this industry, a lot of times you meet your heroes and it's a big disappointment. In this situation, it was just the opposite. He's so funny that it makes me angry how funny he is. As a comic, you get jealous of how funny he is, and he's so smart. To be in a room with him, he's always pushing the envelope and the most amazing thing is watching him keep everything real. Real, honest, and authentic -- those are his signature focal points.
And these girls are young. They're 25 years old and I don't think there are a lot of shows on TV about girls that young, so we're always trying to make sure that it's not just a bunch of older people writing for young people. So it should always feel like what a 25-year-old is going through and to stay honest to the conceit that they do not have money. A lot of TV shows, especially sitcoms -- all these characters don't have money but live in amazing apartments and have amazing clothes and it's kind of false; but our girls have three pairs of clothes and their apartment is a sh-thole. We always try to make the reality as strong as possible.
I noticed that there's a 2 Broke Girls app, where you get to work as a waitress to make money to fulfill your dreams. Have you ever played it?
Oh, I didn't know about that. I can't imagine real waitresses want to download that app; but no, I had no idea that that was even an app. I would think that a 2 Broke Girls app would be an app that tells you whether you're pregnant or not [laughs]. I should go download it, but I'm so busy on my other apps. I need to downsize my downloads. I'm a hoarder.
You've become so close to fellow comedian Chelsea Handler. What is your friendship with her like behind the scenes?
If we could remember any of it, I'd tell you [laughs]. Chelsea is the best. On her show she's so funny and razor sharp and very biting, and I think a lot of people think she's a bitchy, sassy, tough chick and she is; but she's also the most amazingly loving friend. I always say that the best-kept secret in Hollywood is that Chelsea Handler is the nicest person that I know. She's just the best time. She can turn the worst, most boring party into a blast.
But she's a liability -- don't get me wrong. We go to a party and she's throwing food at celebrities and jumping on people; she is like going out with a drunk toddler. We just laugh. And also Chelsea is one of the smartest people I know. She's so amazing with relationship advice and she really gets on my balls when I'm not making the right choices in my life, like "No, that's not going to work." She's just the most amazing friend you can ask for.
If apps were a girl's best friends, which are your besties?
My top apps are: well, I have a lot of news apps like NPR and Slate. I'm really into Gilt, but I'm bad with shopping apps. And then I live in L.A., so I started using Waze. I'm really into Waze. Mine are all very dorky, though. These aren't sexy apps. But I'm really into Voxer, which is the walkie-talkie app.
Who do you use that with?
A bunch of idiots...all my friends. It's so ridiculous how technology that was developed for men at war to be able to communicate with each other is now used on Voxer like "Hey, what are you doing? What's up?" The idea of using a walkie-talkie, which I think was designed to convey a sense of urgency, is now being used with my friends, to say "Hey girl." I have a lot of self-help apps, because I'm a wreck. I'm a shell of a person, so I have Language of Letting Go, which is a codependency app, and You Can Heal Yourself. I feel that with Instagram, you need a lot of things to make it work if you want to resize your photos on Instagram or repost. So I have those.
Margaret Cho told me, in a previous interview, that it's harder for an attractive woman to be taken seriously in comedy and I'm just curious to hear your thoughts on that.
I haven't had that experience. I think, starting later than Margaret, Margaret was part of the movement that made it that I can be taken more seriously. She and Sarah Silverman and Chelsea Handler, they came before me and they probably faced a bit more -- and I probably benefitted from them having to take all these bullets.
I think women now can be a little more feminine, whereas when I first started I felt like I had to wear hoodies and sneakers and really dress myself down and make my sexuality ambiguous. Now I feel like I can wear my hair down onstage and wear makeup, so I feel like with movies like "Bridesmaids" and shows like "New Girl" and "Girls," where girls can be funny and pretty, I think that's starting to go away. If anything, I think I could argue that being a woman in comedy is an advantage; I think next year you're going to be asking guys, "So is it hard being a man in comedy?"Check out Whitney Cummings tour dates here!