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NUNN ON ONE: COMEDY Lesbian comic stumbles upon good Fortune
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2017-04-12

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Lesbian funnywoman Emily Fortune Feimster ( better known as simply Fortune Feimster ) is on fire these days.

Born in Belmont, North Carolina, Feimster left the southeast behind to move to California to pursue comedy. She started with the Groundlings then landed a spot on Last Comic Standing. Chelsea Handler made her a regular roundtable host on Chelsea Lately. Her other television appearances have included 2 Broke Girls, Glee and, now, The Mindy Project ( in which she's series regular Collette Kimball-Kinney ).

Windy City caught up with her in Millennium Park while she was promoting the film Office Christmas Party, which has her in a funny scene with Jennifer Aniston.

Windy City Times: I saw you at WingFest last year!

Fortune Feimster: That's right. My girlfriend is from here. During WingFest, she still lived here.

WCT: Did she move in with you?

FF: She moved to LA. We are shacking up!

WCT: Is she here with you today?

FF: She was here, but she is a teacher and had to go back. I was here all weekend doing shows at Zanies. All five of them sold out, so Chicago is very good to me.

WCT: You are "Hot for Teacher?"

FF: [Laughs] Yes. She is a kindergarten teacher, so she comes home and tries to reprimand me. I tell her we are not in class!

WCT: Where did your middle name "Fortune" come from?

FF: It is my great-grandmother's maiden name. My grandmother wanted my mom to name me that, but she thought it was too big of a name so they compromised, and put it in the middle.

WCT: You are easily recognized. Do people come up to all the time?

FF: People do, and are pretty nice to me. I think it is because I have this big fro and I'm a big girl. I stand out in the crowd.

I do feel like the more projects I am doing the more people come up to me in different cities. I travel all over the country, so I get to meet a lot of people. I am always in airports.

I am just lucky I am working.

WCT: Office Christmas Party was filmed in Chicago. Did you spend much time here during the shoot?

FF: It filmed some in Chicago and some in Atlanta, but the movie is set in Chicago. My particular part was in Atlanta.

Jillian Bell is one of my best friends, and was in Chicago when they were filming. She told me they needed snow and it is really expensive to create. The weather is hard to predict. Suddenly, there was snow everywhere at that time, so they were thrilled.

WCT: Did you study up on cab drivers for your character?

FF: I took a lot of Ubers to see how annoying someone can be. [Laughs] No, I figured Jennifer Aniston's character was stuck with me, so why not be as annoying as possible? She is so good at the reaction of being over it.

WCT: Was she nice the rest of the time?

FF: She's a lovely person. I had met her years ago through Chelsea Handler. I sat beside her at Thanksgiving.

WCT: Did she eat turkey?

FF: I can't remember. She ate salad, I know that…

WCT: Of course, she ate salad. She's as skinny as a rail.

FF: She drank Smartwater, also.

When I came on set she screamed, "Fortune!" It definitely calmed my nerves having met her before; otherwise, I would have been starstruck. She's beautiful, too.

WCT: How is The Mindy Project going?

FF: It is going good. They just finished the season finale on Hulu, but it is always streaming. Mindy announced this coming season will be our last. This will be my third season with the show, and I am not ready for it to end. Come on—I have the best job!

I think Mindy Kaling just wants to do different things. She is filming several movies. Everywhere I go people talk about The Mindy Project. I can't believe what a huge following she has.

WCT: I hope they don't kill your character off.

FF: I know. We will find out! What if it turns into a very dramatic show, suddenly? [Laughs]

WCT: Since you were on Glee have you been watching Ryan Murphy's new project, Feud?

FF: I watched the first two episodes. I have been traveling and haven't watched it since. It is a gay man's dream! I am kind of like a gay man on the inside, so I can appreciate it as well.

Ryan Murphy always comes up with good shows. Everything he touches has been brilliant.

WCT: What is a current topic you talk about in your stand-up act?

FF: I talk about my family a lot. I have a crazy Southern family.

I talk about those weird quirks your mom does, like calls you up to tell you about a person that you haven't thought about in years, and says they are dead, ruining your day.

I talk about touching a penis for the first and last time back in high school. That has been a real crowd-pleaser!

It is a wide range of topics…

WCT: I noticed on your website that there are a lot of comedy dates in Australia. Do you have a big following there?

FF: I am going for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, so it is 12 dates. It is basically a show every night.

WCT: You will have to work on your Australian accent.

FF: I know—down undah!

I met Rebel Wilson for the first time a few weeks ago. I was nervous about going there because they might not understand me. She said they will love me. I have a similar laid-back attitude as Australians, so maybe it will work out.

WCT: You are coming back to Illinois soon?

FF: Yes, I will be at Fairview Heights on May 5-6. I did a show there once before with really fun crowds. I like coming to the Midwest.

WCT: You impersonated Ann Coulter in the past?

FF: It wasn't a dead-on impersonation. She was supposed to be on Chelsea's show and cancelled at the last minute. I happened to be texting Chelsea that morning about our dogs. An hour later, Chelsea asked me to come to the studio. She didn't tell me what I would be doing. They threw a blonde wig on me and had me read excerpts from Ann Coulter's book, which were horrifying. I had to read it and keep a straight face!

It ended up being better than if she had been there, because lot of people noticed it.

WCT: What is coming up next for you?

FF: I am in another episode of Life in Pieces on CBS and Nobodies on TV Land. Guy Branum has a new talk show that I am doing a guest spot on. I'm also a judge on RuPaul's Drag Race.

WCT: Were you excited to be a judge?

FF: I was, and had to keep it secret for so long, because they don't reveal who the judges are. That was a huge highlight for me. I love RuPaul and Michelle Visage. I don't know when I land in the order of airing the episode.

Oh, and I sold a movie to Dreamworks called Bad Cop, Bad Cop. We are starting rewrites next week. If the movie gets the green light then I get to star in it. My fingers are crossed.

Find Fortune at FortuneFeimster.com .

Office Christmas Party is currently out on Blu-Ray, with an unrated cut.


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