Is Whitney Cummings trying to take over the world?
Just a couple of years ago, she was a cult stand-up comic best known in TV terms for her appearances on “Chelsea Lately” and a series of Comedy Central Roasts.
Last year, however, the 30-year-old Cummings started to diversify in a big way, co-creating with Michael Patrick King (“Sex and the City”) the hit CBS sitcom “2 Broke Girls,” on which she continues to produce and write, as well as creating, executive producing and starring on her own NBC sitcom, “Whitney,” which recently started its second season.
On Wednesday, Nov. 28, Cummings takes on a third project, “Love You, Mean It With Whitney Cummings,” a weekly half-hour talk show on E! Entertainment Television, which the channel is pairing with its hit Joel McHale snarkfest, “The Soup.”
How in the world is she going to keep all these balls in the air?
“Here’s the loophole: I haven’t actually done this yet, so it has actually to be proven that I can do all three of these shows and survive it,” Cummings tells Zap2it. “We’ll see, but frankly, I’m not entirely confident that I’ll live through it. What I am most OCD and detail-oriented about is in finding the right staff and writers to choose, and that’s what I am putting a ton of energy into right now so I know that I have a great team around me.”
It helps, too, that Cummings’ star has risen to the point that she’s learned to trust her instincts now instead of second-guessing herself all the time. So even though Cummings is, in a sense, venturing onto the same turf as close friend and mentor Chelsea Handler with this new E! series, the two shows actually will be quite different, Cummings says.
“I’m going to be doing my show sober, so there’s a difference — at least for the first couple of months,” she cracks. “It’s also a little bit different formatwise. Chelsea has a very signature format. She has three comics on, and then she has a guest. Because she gets such big celebrity guests, I think I’m going to try to do more of a variety show format. It’s a little weirder, to be honest.
“I’ll have kind of an opening monologue, but where she will talk about, like, six topics for two minutes apiece, I’m going to go more in depth in my topics. I’m a little more obsessive and annoying in terms of how I like to pick things apart. Chelsea likes to just move on, while I like to overthink, so this new format will reflect that.”
Cummings says she expects to be more deferential to her guests than Handler often is.
“Chelsea does not suffer fools. I do,” she says, laughing. “Just hang out with me and my friends sometimes. I not only suffer fools, I love fools. I aspire to have the indifference that Chelsea has. I’m not quite as self-assured or as stable emotionally as Chelsea is. I need people to like and approve of me much more than she does.”
Joining Cummings as a sidekick on the show is Julian McCullough, another stand-up comic.
“Julian is just brilliant,” Cummings says. “I kept hearing about him, and I met him in New York at the Comedy Cellar. We had a weird chemistry that I think may be based in self-loathing.
When we worked together at Caroline’s, I could see he was just so fresh, so quick, so smart. It also doesn’t hurt that he’s very handsome. I wanted to make sure that whoever I had as a sidekick would feel comfortable making fun of me.”