Whitney Cummings

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Whitney Cummings
Whitney Cummings 2019.png
Cummings in 2019.
Birth nameWhitney Ann Cummings
Born (1982-09-04) September 4, 1982 (age 39)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Mediumtelevision, film
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
Years active2004–present

Whitney Ann Cummings[citation needed] (born September 4, 1982) is an American actress, filmmaker, and podcaster. Her credits include one comedy album, three , and numerous television series for which she has served various roles including producer, director, showrunner, and actress.

A native of Washington, D.C., Cummings pursued a comedy career in Los Angeles after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where she had studied with the intention of becoming a journalist. After beginning standup in 2004, she secured regular appearances as a roundtable guest on Chelsea Lately. She subsequently created, produced, and starred in NBC's Whitney, a sitcom in which she portrayed a semi-fictionalized version of herself. The series ran for two seasons before being cancelled in 2013. Simultaneously, Cummings created the CBS sitcom 2 Broke Girls, which also began in 2011, and concluded in 2017.

Cummings released her first hour-long standup special, Money Shot, in 2010 on Comedy Central. She followed this with a second standup special for the network, entitled I Love You (2014). Her third special, I'm Your Girlfriend, was released on HBO in 2016. Beginning in 2018, Cummings served as a producer and writer for the ABC revival of Roseanne, but left the project prior to its cancellation. Cummings's fourth special, Can I Touch It?, premiered on Netflix in July 2019.

Early life[edit]

Cummings was born on September 4, 1982,[2][3] in Washington, D.C.,[4][5] to Patti Cummings, a native of Texas[6] and a public relations director of Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie;[7][8][5] and Eric Lynn Cummings, a lawyer and venture capitalist. She has an older half-brother named Kevin and an older sister named Ashley.[8][5] Cummings was raised Roman Catholic.[4] Her parents divorced when she was five years old.[5][9][10]

She has stated that she was raised in a dysfunctional, alcoholic household.[11] At age 12, she temporarily resided with her aunt in Virginia.[4] Cummings attended the prestigious St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, graduating in 2000.[12] During high school, she interned at Washington's NBC-owned television station WRC-TV.[5][13][14] She studied acting at Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theater.[15]

After high school, Cummings enrolled at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. During this time, she worked as a department store model at local shopping malls.[4] She graduated magna cum laude in 2004 with a degree in Communications,[13][16] and initially aspired to a career as a journalist.[17]


2004–2010: Beginnings[edit]

Cummings moved to Los Angeles after college and worked on Punk'd on MTV in 2004.[7] That same year, she starred in the low-budget thriller EMR, which was screened at Cannes.[18][19] Cummings began performing stand-up in 2004.[20] In 2007, Variety named her one of 10 Comics to Watch in 2007.[15] In 2008, she appeared in the San Francisco audition for Last Comic Standing, although she did not pass the showcase.[20]

She co-starred on The Tony Rock Project and appeared in the 2008 romantic comedy Made of Honor. Beginning in 2007, Cummings appeared as a regular roundtable guest on the E! series Chelsea Lately, and continued to appear until its conclusion in 2014. In 2008, she was named one of 12 Rising Stars of Comedy by Entertainment Weekly.[21] She subsequently appeared as a comedy roaster in the Comedy Central Roasts of Joan Rivers (2009), David Hasselhoff (2010), and Donald Trump (2011).[5]

In August 2010, her first one-hour special, titled Whitney Cummings: Money Shot, premiered on Comedy Central. In 2010, Cummings went on tour with Denis Leary and the Rescue Me Comedy Tour to promote the show's sixth season. She also appeared with Leary on Douchebags and Donuts.[22]

2011–present: Television projects and specials, book[edit]

Whitney Cummings performing live in 2016.

In 2011, two multi-camera, live-audience sitcoms that Cummings created[23] were picked up by broadcast networks: 2 Broke Girls (which she co-created and executive produced with Michael Patrick King) and Whitney (which she starred in, executive produced, and created).[24][25] Whitney, in which Cummings portrayed a semi-fictionalized version of herself, was not well received by critics,[26][27][28] and Cummings acknowledges it was a learning curve for her.[29][30][31] The series was canceled after two seasons in May 2013.[32] While still working on the second season of Whitney, Cummings also hosted a talk show, Love You, Mean It with Whitney Cummings, on E! in 2012,[33] which was cancelled after 11 episodes.[34][35] Cummings later stated that she was overworking herself during this period, and was also in the midst of battling an eating disorder in which she would binge eat followed by compulsive exercise.[36] In June 2014, Cummings released her second hour-long special, I Love You, on Comedy Central.[37]

Her third hour-long special debuted on HBO in 2016, titled "I'm Your Girlfriend".[38] Reviews were mixed, suggesting it felt less comedic than her previous stand up performances.[39]

Cummings had a supporting role in the 2017 thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, released in April 2017.[40] The following month, 2 Broke Girls was cancelled after having run six consecutive seasons.[41] Cummings made her directorial debut with The Female Brain (2017), an independent comedy film distributed by IFC Films, which Cummings also starred in.[42]

Also in 2017, Cummings published her first book, titled I'm Fine...And Other Lies, a collection of personal stories about her life.[43]

Beginning in 2018, Cummings served as one of the head writers, an executive producer, and overseer of day-to-day production of the revival of the comedy series Roseanne, for ABC.[44][45] Cummings left the show, however, after its star, Roseanne Barr, made a series of inflammatory, racially-charged jokes on her Twitter account, which subsequently resulted in the series' cancellation.[46]

Her fourth hour-long special Can I Touch It? was released on July 30, 2019 on Netflix.[47][48] This special features a robot that Cummings had custom made to look exactly like her; and she brings this robot out at the end of the special.[49]

On November 5, 2019, Cummings launched her first podcast entitled Good for You. Her first guest was actor/producer Dan Levy. Good for You is co-hosted by assistant and fellow comedian Benton Ray - and features a wide variety of guests; ranging from politicians and comedians; to actors and journalists.[50]

Cummings has a chapter giving advice in Tim Ferriss' book Tools of Titans.


Ashley Graham interviews Whitney Cummings on her perspective on comedy, influences, and approach to co-dependency in 2019.

Cummings has described her comedic influences, beginning with Paul Reiser, who she said "made these hysterical, brilliant commentary about the most mundane things and open it up to a hysterical world".[51] Other important influences for her were George Carlin, who she says challenged her to "question everything".[52] Later influences were Dave Attell ("a legend now but he's very edgy"), Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks.[51]



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2004 EMR CyberBunnyLilly [53]
2006 Hooked Vanessa Short film
2006 Life is Short Natalie Short film
2007 Come to the Net Whitney Short film
2007 7–10 Split Whitney the Waitress
2008 Grizzly Park Tiffany Stone
2008 Made of Honor Stephanie [54]
2009 Why Men Go Gay in L.A. Sarah
2010 In Fidelity Cindy Short film
2010 Successful Alcoholics Short film
2012 3,2,1... Frankie Go Boom Claudia
2015 The Wedding Ringer Holly Munk
2015 The Ridiculous 6 Susannah
2017 Unforgettable Ali [40]
2017 The Female Brain Julia Brizendine Also writer and director [42]
2020 The Opening Act Brooke Bailey [55]
2021 How It Ends [56]


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2005 Half and Half Woman 1 episode
2006 Fire Guys Ponytails Pi 1 episode
2006 Trapped in TV Guide Series regular Unknown episodes
2006 What About Brian Sally 1 episode [54]
2007 Tell Me You Love Me Louise 3 episodes [54]
2008 Turbo Dates Sandy 1 episode
2008–2009 The Tony Rock Project 4 episodes [54]
2009 House Courtney Episode: "Here Kitty" [54]
2011–2013 Whitney Whitney 38 episodes, also creator, writer, and executive producer [54]
2011 Dave's Old Porn Guest host 1 episode
2012–2013 Love You, Mean It Host 11 episodes, also executive producer
2014 Comedy Bang! Bang! Herself 1 episode
2015 Maron Herself 2 episodes [54]
2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Herself 1 episode
2015–2016 Undateable Charlotte 5 episodes [54]
2016 Workaholics Juliette 1 episode
2018 Crashing Herself 1 episode

Masked singer (1 episode)

Comedy specials[edit]

Year Title Notes Ref.
2010 Money Shot Premiered on Comedy Central [57]
2014 I Love You [58]
2016 I'm Your Girlfriend Premiered on HBO [59]
2019 Can I Touch It? Premiered on Netflix [60]


  • I'm Fine... And Other Lies. New York: Penguin. 2017. ISBN 978-0-735-21262-6.


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  4. ^ a b c d Miller, Julie (January 21, 2016). "Whitney Cummings Got Hooked on Tinder for Her HBO Special". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
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  16. ^ Johnson, Greg (May 5, 2011). "Penn Entertainers". Penn Current. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
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External links[edit]