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Fortune Feimster Shows The Advocate Her Funny Bone

Fortune Feimster Shows The Advocate Her Funny Bone

Fans of out comedian Fortune Feimster know her from The Last Comic Standing and Chelsea Handler’s late night show. But after almost a decade in the business, Feimster has a lot to say about making jokes, working with celebs, and the support of the LGBT community. Plus, enjoy one of her hilarious Funny or Die videos.

Fans of out comedian Fortune Feimster know her fromThe Last Comic Standing and Chelsea Handler’s late night show. But after almost a decade in the business, Feimster has a lot to say about making jokes, working with celebs, and the support of the LGBT community.

Plus, we’ve got our favorite from Fortune’s hilarious Funny or Die videos for you to enjoy.

Jeffrey Hartinger of the Advocate chatted with the funny lady about her starts with the Groundlings improv group, TV fame on Chelsea Lately, and the impact younger generations are having on the LGBT community.

Check out a few of the best highlights from the awesome interview:

The Advocate: Describe your experience attending an all-female college in the South.
Fortune Feimster: It was an amazing experience. Peace College is a small institution, so you get a lot of one-on-one attention. I never realized what a difference it can make being in an all-female class. Men tend to be a bit more aggressive; they often dominate the class discussion — at least in my high school experience — so this allowed girls to really break out of their shells and not be afraid to express their opinions. I just wish I had known I was gay then! Sure, I’m happy with my degree, but all I can think about are all those missed opportunities! 

How was your experience on Last Comic Standing?
It has proven to be a very pivotal part of my career, and I’m really glad I did it. I had been working for years in Los Angeles on my comedy and a lot of people in town knew about me, but this was the first time that millions of people got to see what I do. I felt like the show presented me in a really fair, accurate way, which doesn’t always happen with reality television. I still have people coming up to me saying they were rooting for me on that show.

Is there a particular member of the LGBT community that you look up to for guidance and support?
Luckily, there have been a lot of openly gay female comics, like Ellen, Rosie, and Wanda Sykes — just to name a few — that have come before me. I think their success has allowed audiences to be more accepting of gay comics. They show people that funny is funny, no matter what one’s sexual orientation. However, two of my biggest mentors have been stand-up comedian Erin Foley and Last Comic Standing producer Page Hurwitz. I’m also constantly calling former Ellen head writer Karen Kilgariff, who is not gay, but very gay-friendly. They are all so incredibly talented and have been in this business for a while, so I trust their opinion more than anyone’s. I’m sure they’ve all wanted to block my number at some point!

Over the past few years, it seems as if the LGBT movement is gaining significant momentum. Would you consider this the civil rights movement of the current generation?
Any time there is a group of people who are not allowed the same rights as everyone else, it is certainly a civil rights issue. There are millions of gay people out there who are fighting for equal rights, so it is big enough to be considered a movement ... moving away from what is and heading toward what should be. It’s the only civil rights movement that I’ve personally been a part of in my lifetime. Many would argue that it’s nothing like the civil rights movement of the 1960s, but in my opinion, not being able to marry the one you love is not much different than having to sit at the back of the bus. We all just want to be in the same section.   

It seems as if the majority of youth are liberal and accepting to the gay community, but typically the older generation appears to be the ones making change — for better or worse. Do you have any words of advice to those youth who are seeking positive change?
Today’s youth are lucky that we as a society are becoming more and more accepting of people’s differences. However, being young and gay is not easy, because kids can be really cruel. I mean, I had a head of hair that was shaped like a triangle in high school and I barely made it through, so I can only imagine what it’s like being openly gay. My only advice to the youth is to be nice to each other, and if you are gay, then be proud of who you are and know that there are millions of people just like you. I’d also hope that they would try and be a positive representation for gays everywhere. While I’m all about naked pride parades — seriously, there is nothing better than naked parades — there is so much more that we can do to be heard and seen in our communities. 

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Your video shorts on Funny or Die are hilarious and very popular.  Do you write your own material?
Thank you! Funny or Die and YouTube are awesome because they’ve been such a great place to for me to showcase my material, which I write myself. People who have no idea that I’m on Chelsea Lately or did Last Comic will come up to me and start reciting lines from videos that I’ve put up on the sites. Granted, I used to film a lot more videos when I didn’t have a job. That way, when people asked where they could see some of my work, I could say, “Well, I don’t want to brag or anything, but I did write, star in, direct, and produce a hilarious three-minute video on YouTube. So far it’s gotten 2,000 hits in six months. Yep, I’m kind of a big deal.”  

What's your next project?
Right now, I’m working full-time at Chelsea Lately as a writer, so there isn’t a lot of free time for other projects, but I recently filmed a pilot with Bob Odenkirk, so hopefully that will get picked up.  I’ll be a part of the second season of After Lately, which we start filming in the fall, and I’ve also got the Comedians of Chelsea Lately tour coming up.  I’ll be in Anaheim on August 12 and Lake Tahoe on August 13. People can check out my website for more info on that or if they are just really bored and want to stare at pictures of me in a vest and tie. You’re welcome, America.

Read the complete interview with Fortune Feimster now on Advocate.com.

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