You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Whitney Cummings

10 Comics to Watch

“They say it takes 10 years to make a good comedian,” notes Whitney Cummings, the 24-year-old D.C. native, reaffirming her commitment to a regimen that can include as many as three gigs a night at separate L.A.-area clubs, followed by morning auditions.

Her proclaimed dedication to this daily grind aside, don’t be surprised if the Penn graduate — magna cum laude in just three years, according to her bio — found a way around such grueling paths of most resistance.

Certainly, IQ-wise Cummings — a former supporting prankster on MTV’s “Punk’d” — is more capable of analyzing the chess pieces of the whole starlet game than most of her competition. In fact, it makes for great self-deprecating material.

During a recent Laugh Factory gig, for example, she went to that well several times, once noting that she often double-books dates when she’s down to her last “morning after” pill: “Actually, I have two (pills) left, but I have an audition tomorrow,” she quipped, getting laughs from the more cerebral demo in the packed club.

Having studied at D.C.’s Studio Theater — years of “masturbatory actor training,” she says — Cummings staunchly opposes anything that resembles method acting (even if that training seems to come in handy, evidenced by the recurring dramatic role she just landed on the upcoming HBO skein “Tell Me You Love Me”).

Her true fondness, she says, is for smart, observational standup — Ellen DeGeneres is the template. “She’s just so funny about the stupidest things,” Cummings says. “If you can make something funny out of something mundane, it’s borderline divine.”

Buzz: A recurring turn as a roving “Sundance Film Festival Dailies” co-host and a solid bit on “Last Call With Carson Daily” in September have built momentum for her of late. Besides the upcoming HBO series, she has roles in several soon-to-bow indie pics — a vapid news reporter in the horror film “Grizzly Park” and an alley cat in the bowling-based comedy “7-10 Split.”

References: Outside of perhaps her parents, Cummings’ manager, Barry Katz, offers her staunchest praise: “Whitney proves to our industry that God, on the rarest of occasions, does give with both hands — she’s as talented an actress/comedienne as she is beautiful.”

Fallback plan: When asked what else she could be doing with her life, Cummings can’t come up with an answer. And don’t look for her to follow in the footsteps of her venture-capitalist father, either In fact, she isn’t even sure what kind of “venture capital” he’s into. “That’s always been unclear to me,” she says. “It could be online poker for all I know.”

Click here to see the other comics on the 10 to watch list.

Click here for the Top Ten Comics to Watch photo gallery

More Scene

  • Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bundchen

    Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen to Be Honored at UCLA Science Gala

    Science can be very glamorous. It certainly will be during Oscar week on Feb. 21 when the UCLA Institute of the Environment & Sustainability (IoES) honors Barbra Streisand and Gisele Bündchen for environmental activism at its annual Hollywood for Science Gala. “When I moved to LA, the air was unbreathable. Rivers were catching fire in [...]

  • Don Cheadle and Andrew Rannells Black

    Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells Talk Snorting 'Coke' on 'Black Monday'

    “Black Monday” show creators David Caspe and Jordan Cahen divulged an intriguing detail to come later in the first season of the new Showtime comedy at its world premiere, held at the Theatre at Ace Hotel on Monday night in Los Angeles. “The fourth or fifth episode opens with a sexual harassment seminar, which very well [...]

  • Alfonso Cuaron attends the 44th Annual

    Alfonso Cuarón to LAFCA: 'Thanks to Your Help We Can Break Down Walls'

    Inclusion was the big winner at the L.A. Film Critics Association Awards, which was held Saturday night at the InterContinental in Century City. “This year’s winners are the most diverse in LAFCA’s 43-year history,” announced its president, Claudia Puig, adding that 14 out of their 18 awards were won by women and people of color. [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Max Malandrino/REX/Shutterstock

    Hollywood Power Players Assemble to Save Iconic Deli Nate 'n Al

    A group of Hollywood executives and celebrities have banded together with the intent to save Beverly Hills deli and star haunt Nate ‘n Al, a stone’s throw from tourist destination Rodeo Drive. A consortium of investors including music kingpin Irving Azoff and wife Shelli, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group chairman Jeff Shell, and Rande Gerber and [...]

  • Charlie Collier, FOX Chief Executive Officer

    'The Passage' Team Talks Diversifying Races, Genders and Ages of Book Characters

    “The Passage” star Saniyya Sidney was unaware that the book version of her character was originally white until her father, a fan of Justin Cronin’s apocalyptic trilogy, informed her during the audition process. “I was like, ‘Oh, she is?'” Sidney told Variety at Thursday’s series premiere in Santa Monica, Calif. “And when I got it, [...]

  • MAYFAIR HOTEL - Ballroom

    The New Space Race Energizes Awards Party Scene

    When planning an elegant A-list dinner for 10 to gala parties for a thousand, event planners have a sophisticated mix of locations to choose from in New York and Los Angeles. Variety looks at new and updated venues that cater to gatherings during Hollywood’s awards season, and throughout the year welcome all kinds of happenings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content