Is television kinder to funny women than other media? Whitney Cummings clarifies the issue.
“I would say women are kinder to funny women than TV,” she says, “because we have to write roles for ourselves if we want to have funny roles on TV.”
She’s her own best example, since the D.C.-born 28-year-old stormed the upfronts this year by landing two laffers as writer-producer on the fall schedule: NBC’s “Whitney,” starring herself and based on the caustic, observant relationship humor in her stand-up act, and CBS’ “2 Broke Girls,” a collaboration with Michael Patrick King.
“I have a lot to say, and a lot to get out, so the more shows the better,” says Cummings. “I just felt there was an absence of strong, funny women running with the ball on TV, and I will stop at nothing to make sure there are more!”
A dark-haired dynamo who’s become a “Chelsea Lately” panel fixture and roast circuit success, Cummings credits an early gig on “Punk’d” as a lesson in the merits of unforced comedy.
“It’s a prank show, and if you’re trying too hard to be funny, you give it away,” says Cummings. “The key was to be grounded and real and honest. I’m so grateful for that.”
It’s a laugh-getting ethos she wants to bring to the primetime sitcom.
“No one loves jokes more than I do, but normal human beings don’t talk in jokes,” she says. “The formula that works for me when it comes to TV writing is to put people in funny situations, then think, ‘What would someone really say?'”
Rising writers take biggest step
Alex Cary | Whitney Cummings | Lena Dunham | John Enbom | David Hudgins | Rolin Jones | Kyle Killen | Chris Provenzano | Emily Spivey | Hilary Winston