Whitney Cummings

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Whitney Cummings
Whitney Cummings 2019.png
Cummings in 2019
Born (1982-09-04) September 4, 1982 (age 37)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
MediumStand-up, television, film
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania (BA)
Years active2004–present
Genres
Subject(s)
Websitewww.whitneycummings.com

Whitney Cummings (born September 4, 1982) is an American stand-up comedian, actress, producer, writer, director, and podcaster. Her credits include one comedy album, four stand-up specials, three Comedy Central Roasts, and numerous television series in 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] in Washington, D.C.,[3][4] to Patti Cummings (née Cumming), a native of Texas[5] and a public relations director of Neiman Marcus at Mazza Gallerie;[6][7][4] and Eric Lynn Cummings, a lawyer and venture capitalist. She has an older half-brother named Kevin and an older sister named Ashley.[7][4] Cummings was raised Roman Catholic.[3] Her parents divorced when she was five years old.[4][8][9]

She has stated that she was raised in a dysfunctional, alcoholic household.[10] At age twelve, she temporarily resided with her aunt in Virginia.[3] Cummings attended the prestigious St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Potomac, Maryland, graduating in 2000.[11] During high school, she interned at Washington's NBC-owned television station WRC-TV.[4][12][13] She studied acting at Washington, D.C.'s Studio Theater.[14]

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.[3] She graduated magna cum laude in 2004 with a degree in Communications,[12][15] and initially aspired for a career as a journalist.[16]

2004–2010: Career beginnings[edit]

Cummings moved to Los Angeles after college and worked on Punk'd on MTV in 2004.[6] That same year, she starred in the low-budget thriller EMR, which was screened at Cannes.[17][18] Cummings began performing stand-up in 2004.[19] In 2007, Variety named her one of 10 Comics to Watch in 2007.[14] In 2008, she appeared in the San Francisco audition for Last Comic Standing, although she did not pass the showcase.[19]

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.[20] She subsequently appeared as a comedy roaster in the Comedy Central Roasts of Joan Rivers (2009), David Hasselhoff (2010), and Donald Trump (2011).[4]

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.[21]

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

Cummings performing live in 2016

In 2011, two multi-camera, live-audience sitcoms Cummings created[22] 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).[23][24] Whitney, in which Cummings portrayed a semi-fictionalized version of herself, was not well-received by critics,[25][26][27] and Cummings acknowledges it was a learning curve for her.[28][29][30] The series was canceled after two seasons in May 2013.[31] 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,[32] which was cancelled after 11 episodes.[33][34] 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.[35] In June 2014, Cummings released her second hour-long special, I Love You, on Comedy Central.[36]

Her third hour-long special debuted on HBO in 2016, titled "I'm Your Girlfriend".[37] Reviews were mixed, suggesting it felt less comedic than her previous stand up performances.[38]

Cummings had a supporting role in the 2017 thriller Unforgettable, starring Katherine Heigl and Rosario Dawson, released in April 2017.[39] The following month,2 Broke Girls was cancelled after having run six consecutive seasons.[40] Cummings made her directorial debut with The Female Brain (2017), an independent comedy film distributed by IFC Films, which Cummings also starred in.[41]

Also in 2017, Cummings published her first book, titled I'm Fine...And Other Lies, a collection of personal stories about her life.[42]

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.[43][44] 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.[45]

Her fourth hour-long special Can I Touch It? was released on July 30, 2019 on Netflix.[46][47]

On November 5, 2019, Cummings launched her first podcast entitled Good for You. Her first guest was actor/producer Dan Levy.

Influences[edit]

Ashley Graham interviews 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".[48] Other important influences for her were George Carlin, whom she says challenged her to "question everything".[49] Later influences were Dave Attell ("a legend now but he's very edgy"), Lenny Bruce and Bill Hicks.[48]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2004 EMR CyberBunnyLilly [50]
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 [51]
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 [39]
2017 The Female Brain Julia Brizendine Also writer and director [41]
TBA The Opening Act Post-production [52]

Television[edit]

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 [51]
2007 Tell Me You Love Me Louise 3 episodes [51]
2008 Turbo Dates Sandy 1 episode
2008–2009 The Tony Rock Project 4 episodes [51]
2009 House Courtney Episode: "Here Kitty" [51]
2011–2013 Whitney Whitney 38 episodes, also creator, writer, and executive producer [51]
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 [51]
2015 The Jim Gaffigan Show Herself 1 episode
2015–2016 Undateable Charlotte 5 episodes [51]
2016 Workaholics Juliette 1 episode
2018 Crashing Herself 1 episode

Comedy specials[edit]

Year Title Notes Ref.
2010 Money Shot Premiered on Comedy Central [53]
2014 I Love You [54]
2016 I'm Your Girlfriend Premiered on HBO [55]
2019 Can I Touch It? Premiered on Netflix [56]

Bibliography[edit]

  • I'm Fine... And Other Lies. New York: Penguin. 2017. ISBN 978-0-735-21262-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Garber, Megan (January 26, 2016). "The Triumph of Soap-Box Comedy". The Atlantic. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  2. ^ "Thirty & Flirty: Celebs Who Are Turning 30 This Year: Whitney Cummings". Entertainment Tonight. New York City, New York: CBS Studios. 2012. Archived from the original on October 21, 2018. Retrieved October 20, 2018. Whitney Cummings -- September 4, 1982
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Zak, Dan (December 8, 2010). "Comedian Whitney Cummings: Bewitching, brazen and with jokes to make you blush". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  5. ^ Gill, Julian (April 17, 2019). "Comedian Whitney Cummings sparks social media outrage over small Texas town's legal tradition". Houston Chronicle. Houston, Texas. Archived from the original on February 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Leiby, Richard (April 25, 2004). "The Reliable Source". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Grigoriadis, Vanessa (November 18, 2012). "Can Whitney Cummings Get Some Respect?". New York. Vulture.com. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
  8. ^ Stanhope, Kate (September 9, 2011). "Whitney: How Different Is Whitney Cummings From Her TV Persona, Really?". TV Guide. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  9. ^ Duck, Allison (April 24, 2013). "The Weekly Interview: Whitney Cummings". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  10. ^ Czajkowski, Elise (January 12, 2017). "Whitney Cummings: 'The scariest place to perform standup is America'". The Guardian. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  11. ^ "Whitney Cummings '00 Making Her Mark in Entertainment World". St. Andrew's Episcopal School. April 23, 2010. Archived from the original on January 2, 2014. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  12. ^ a b "A Woman's Mind Full Monty — Whitney Cummings". AmericasComedy.com. November 17, 2011. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  13. ^ "The Jester Interview: Whitney Cummings". Jester.com. June 6, 2011. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  14. ^ a b Frankel, Daniel (February 27, 2007). "Whitney Cummings: 10 Comics to Watch". Variety. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  15. ^ Johnson, Greg (May 5, 2011). "Penn Entertainers". Penn Current. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  16. ^ "Whitney Cummings almost became a reporter before finding comedy to over come the facts of an abusive, sad and lonely childhood". New York Daily News. August 10, 2014. Retrieved August 26, 2019.
  17. ^ Harvey, Dennis (February 17, 2005). "Review: 'EMR'". Variety. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  18. ^ Katner, Ben (June 11, 2004). "Whitney Rocks Punk'd!". TV Guide. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  19. ^ a b "Whitney Cummings wants to be your girlfriend". The Laugh Button. January 22, 2016. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  20. ^ Pastorek, Whitney; Snierson, Dan (November 13, 2008). "12 Rising Stars of Comedy". Entertainment Weekly.
  21. ^ "Denis Leary: Douchebags and Donuts". Comedy Central. January 16, 2011.
  22. ^ Rose, Lacey (August 1, 2011). "'Whitney': 10 Things to Know About the NBC Comedy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  23. ^ Stelter, Brian (May 20, 2011). "2 Networks Pin Their Hopes on One Comedian". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  24. ^ Goldman, Andrew (September 16, 2011). "There Is No Escaping Whitney Cummings". The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  25. ^ "Whitney: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  26. ^ Blanco, Robert (September 22, 2011). "'Whitney' sitcom fails in its delivery". USA Today. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  27. ^ Nussbaum, Emiy (November 28, 2011). "Crass Warfare: Raunch and ridicule on "Whitney" and "2 Broke Girls."". The New Yorker. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  28. ^ O'Connell, Michael (July 25, 2012). "TCA 2012: Whitney Cummings Admits 'I Wish I Knew How to Act'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  29. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 13, 2012). "The New Girls: Six female showrunners on why TV just keeps getting better". New York. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  30. ^ Adalian, Josef (May 25, 2012). "Six Female Showrunners Talk Ratings, Their Comedy Icons, and Internet Hate". New York. Vulture.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  31. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 9, 2013). "UPDATE: NBC's 'Whitney' & '1600 Penn' Cancelled, 'Parks & Recreation' Renewed". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 9, 2013.
  32. ^ Rose, Lacey (April 29, 2012). "E! Greenlights a Weekly Whitney Cummings Talk Show". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  33. ^ Kepler, Adam (February 15, 2013). "For Whitney Cummings, Good and Bad Ratings News". ArtsBeat. The New York Times. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  34. ^ Rose, Lacey (February 14, 2013). "E! Pulls Plug on Whitney Cummings' Late-Night Show". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  35. ^ Cummings 2017, pp. 122–126, 154.
  36. ^ Silverman, Sarah (June 27, 2014). "Sarah Silverman Talks to Whitney Cummings About the Expectation That Comedians Need to Be in Movies". Vulture. Archived from the original on August 27, 2019.
  37. ^ "Whitney Cummings: I'm Your Girlfriend". HBO. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  38. ^ Garber, Megan (2016-01-26). "Comedy, or TED Talk?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2019-10-18.
  39. ^ a b Guglielmi, Jodi (April 20, 2017). "Whitney Cummings Recalls Unforgettable Audition". People. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie; Andreeva, Nellie (May 13, 2017). "'2 Broke Girls' Canceled By CBS After 6 Seasons". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  41. ^ a b Lang, Brent (November 14, 2017). "Whitney Cummings Comedy 'The Female Brain' Sells to IFC (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  42. ^ "I'm Fine...And Other Lies". kirkusreviews.com. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  43. ^ "'Roseanne' revival may be in the works". USA Today. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  44. ^ Ausiello, Michael (April 28, 2017). "Roseanne Revival Eyed at ABC". TVLine. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  45. ^ Husband, Andrew (July 31, 2019). "Whitney Cummings Opens Up About Her Decision to Leave Roseanne Before Its Cancellation". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 27, 2019.
  46. ^ "Whitney Cummings Made a Sex Robot of Herself for 'Can I Touch It?' Netflix Special". Decider. July 30, 2019. Retrieved August 7, 2019.
  47. ^ Speliberg, Claire (July 31, 2019). "Comedian Whitney Cummings debuts her own lifelike 'sex robot'". News.com.au. Archived from the original on August 14, 2019.
  48. ^ a b Stipp, Christopher (May 2, 2008). "Trailer Park Whitney Cummings". ASiteCalledFred.com. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  49. ^ Illing, Sean (April 15, 2017). "9 questions for Whitney Cummings". Vox. Archived from the original on July 8, 2017.
  50. ^ "EMR". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 6, 2020.
  51. ^ a b c d e f g h "Whitney Cummings Credits". TV Guide. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  52. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (July 23, 2018). "Cedric The Entertainer, Whitney Cummings, Ken Jeong, Jermaine Fowler & More Added To 'The Opening Act'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  53. ^ "Money Shot". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on February 6, 2020.
  54. ^ Martin, Laura Jayne (June 30, 2014). "Whitney Cummings: 'I Love You' Review". Paste. Archived from the original on February 6, 2020.
  55. ^ Kaufman, Amy (January 24, 2016). "Whitney Cummings is honest with herself — and with you in 'I'm Your Girlfriend'". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. Archived from the original on February 6, 2020.
  56. ^ Ellis, Emma Grey (July 31, 2019). "Whitney Cummings—and Her Sex Robot—Take on Modern Womanhood". Wired. Archived from the original on February 6, 2020.

External links[edit]