Stand-up comedian, writer and actor Fortune Feimster first made a name for herself on Chelsea Lately. She was a series regular on The Mindy Project and Champions, and has made many guest appearances, including Tales of the City, Dear White People, Claws, Office Christmas Party, and a recurring role on CBS’s Life in Pieces. Amblin recently acquired two features Fortune wrote, Bad Cop, Bad Cop and Field Trip, both of which she is attached to star in. Fortune has performed stand-up on Conan and Late Night with Seth Meyers as well as her own specials on Comedy Central and Netflix; her one-hour standup special Sweet and Salty premiered on Netflix this past January. She currently co-hosts Netflix Radio’s “What a Joke with Papa and Fortune” on Sirius XM, and her voice can be heard on Bless the Harts. She is currently co-starring with Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne and Alec Baldwin in Chick Fight, out in theaters, on digital and on demand on November 13, and can next be seen in the upcoming films Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar, Yesday alongside Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez, and Happiest Season, opposite Kristen Stewart, Mackenzie Davis, Dan Levy, Alison Brie and Aubrey Plaza.
Three Great Things is Talkhouse’s series in which artists tell us about three things they absolutely love. To mark the November 13 release in theaters, on digital and on demand of Chick Fight, the new comedy starring Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne, Fortune Feimster and Alec Baldwin, stand-up comedian and actor Feimster shared some of the things that make life special for her. — N.D.
Carol Burnett is one of my favorite actresses and comedians – and one of my favorite people! I really love her. I grew up watching reruns of The Carol Burnett Show with my grandmother, who I was very close to. My grandmother was a buttoned-up Southern lady, but when she watched Carol Burnett, she would cry laughing. I realized that this person was able to bring something out of my grandmother that no one else could, and that stuck with me.
Watching Carol Burnett – doing sketches and talking with the audience and playing crazy characters in great costumes – ended up unconsciously influencing me, especially with some of my improv characters. I was at the Groundlings for about seven years when I was coming up as a comedian, and I did a lot of big characters. One of them was a very over-the-top female choreographer who was old school and had bright, shiny shirts and shoulder pads. I feel like I channel Carol Burnett a little bit when I do those big, Broadway-esque characters.
I actually got the opportunity to interview Carol Burnett a couple of months ago for my Sirius XM radio show, and she was so lovely. We talked for about 30 minutes, and then I got off the phone and cried like a baby. Just hearing her say my name was special. She asked me the origin of my first name, which brought it full circle back to my grandmother, because it was my grandmother who wanted to name me Fortune, after her mother’s maiden name. It was kind of trippy to tell Carol about my name, because my grandmother died when I was 18, so she never got to see this part of my life. It was a really special moment telling Carol Burnett that story and having her be so lovely about it. It’s something I’m going to remember forever.
I really hope it wasn’t the last time I ever get to talk to her. I do hope one day, when people aren’t afraid to be near each other because of the pandemic, that I get to meet her in person. That would be pretty great.
I love coffee, and espresso in particular. It’s literally the thing I am most excited to wake up for. I even get excited when it’s bedtime, because I know when I wake up I’m going to get to drink espresso. But I don’t know why I love it so much! I never even drank coffee growing up; it wasn’t like a thing that people in my little Southern hometown did. We didn’t really have coffee shops. When I moved to Los Angeles, though, I got hooked on coffee, originally because of those frozen drinks. They’re a gateway drug. You’re like, “Oh, this doesn’t taste like coffee. It’s just ice and sugar and this is delicious!” I was always getting those big drinks and putting sugar or whipped cream in them, so I didn’t really know if I truly loved coffee. But then my wife Jax and I did the Whole 30 and we cut out dairy, so I started drinking espresso black. Then I got used to having no sugar and discovered I am a true espresso fan.
I love chain restaurants (I talk about Chili’s all the time), but when it comes to coffee, I like those bougie, high-end places that charge you way too much money, because their expressos are just so good and strong. I don’t buy a lot of things, but I’ll pay $6 for a tiny espresso on ice. It’s embarrassing, but being in L.A. for 17 years has rubbed off on me, because I drink oat milk with it. (Yes, I’m one of those people.) During the pandemic, I’ve had to learn to be OK with Nespresso. I hope one day to graduate to one of those fancy Breville systems, but that means I’d have to basically be my own barista, and I don’t know if I’m that advanced yet. With Nespresso, though, I can just pop the pod in!
I’m obsessed with my dog, Biggie. He’s a little seven-pound white Pomeranian that we rescued three years ago.
When I was a kid, I had a dog that died. I remember the sadness that came with that and I thought, “I will never own an animal again!” I shut myself off to the idea, but when I met my wife, Jax, she moved to L.A. from Chicago for me and I decided we should have a dog so she had a companion. So we got our dog Maddy, who I love as well, and then a year later we got Biggie. Jax and I went to the Humane Society and we just knew right away that he was our dog. He was a little stinky as he hadn’t been bathed in who knows how long, so it took me a minute to love him, but after that I was hooked. He’s just the best dog. Jax puts Biggie and Maddy in outfits all the time. Biggie is a little supermodel. He likes to be in pictures and have outfit changes and he’s all about being in the spotlight. We recently got married and Biggie was our ring bearer.
People tell me that Biggie and I look alike, that he’s my little twin. I think it’s because we both have pretty wild hair. They say, so maybe I see myself in him. He looks like a little stuffed teddy bear, he almost doesn’t seem real. I just think, “I can’t believe that this is our dog!” He could lay on our laps for five hours and be content. We just love Biggie and Maddy so much and are so grateful they’re now part of our family.
Biggie’s just so happy and positive all the time. Nothing gets him down. But the first week we got him, he didn’t know what a pool was, so he started chasing squirrels and just skidded right into the pool. I scooped him out right away, and he just went happily about his day. It didn’t deter him at all. The next day, he started chasing another squirrel … and fell right back into the pool. That pretty much captures his personality: “Oh, I forgot that was there. Oh well, life goes on!” He now knows that falling into the pool makes you wet, so he knows better, but it always cracks me up that it takes two times for him to learn anything.
Featured image shows Fortune Feimster in Chick Fight. Photo by Joelly Rodríguez, courtesy Quiver Distribution.