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Making a Fortune in Laughs

October 4, 2017 5:00 am0 commentsViews: 4

FortuneFeimster_0101by Steve Desroches

It may be a hard time in this country to elicit amusement, but that isn’t stopping the comedians of America from providing some much-needed comic relief from the grinding tension of our times by taking the knotted ball of culture wars and political upheaval and turning into big laughs. When Fortune Feimster appeared on the Netflix show Chelsea as White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she hit the nail on the cultural head as she and host Chelsea Handler lampooned the press briefing where, for no apparent reason, Sanders read a letter from a boy nicknamed Pickle. It brought the rising star to new heights.

“People really watched that,” says Feimster. “I couldn’t believe how much it got out there in the world. People kept saying I sound just like her. It’s just because we both have southern accents. Chelsea just likes dressing me up and putting me in outfits and wigs. I’ve played Ivanka, Ann Coulter.  I just showed up one day and she’s like, ‘Here put this on.’ And then I was Sarah Huckabee Sanders with my wig and dress on and I was ready to go.”

Born and raised just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, Feimster maneuvers the ever-changing landscape of comedy and entertainment with speed and agility, continually appearing on all kinds of television and film projects since she got her start on Last Comic Standing and her big break as a frequent guest co-host on Chelsea Lately. After moving to Los Angeles in 2003 she began working as a journalist before joining the famed improv and sketch comedy troupe The Groundlings, which lead to writing gigs. With her dry wit, smooth southern style, and mischievous delivery, Feimster is on the cusp of stardom as she steals the show whenever she’s in one.

While she’s largely working in television, just wrapping up as a cast member on the final season of The Mindy Project, Feimster works steadily as a stand-up comic, traveling the country when not working in Hollywood. And much to her delight she’s making her Provincetown debut this Columbus Day weekend at the Post Office Cabaret. She had been here once before, but it was just for a day and she was with her mother. She’s returning for a much longer stay and with her girlfriend, so she’s looking forward to exploring Provincetown, most notably, she adds, the restaurants, for which she already has several reservations. She’s ready to make audiences laugh and party a bit herself. Which brings to mind an appearance on the Comedy Central show Drunk History, where comedians get drunk and then do their best to tell a story about a historical event. Feimster recounted the Pueblo Revolt, an uprising by the indigenous Pueblo people against Spanish colonizers in 1680, while sipping booze out of a blue Solo cup. But suspicions have been raised that the show is staged and no one is actually drinking. Are they really drunk when shooting the show?

FortuneFeimster_0220“Oh, one hundred percent,” says Feimster. “For sure. They take it very seriously. They are careful and make sure everyone is okay. You have to go for a physical before you even get cast on the show. You drink while they set up and there is a nurse on the set taking your vitals. They film at your house so you don’t need to drive anywhere. And it all sounds so respectable because you’re talking history.”

While we’re living in historic times and Feimster is still riding the Huckabee Sanders wave, she revels in the fact that her stand-up shows are all about having a good time and providing a break for about an hour or so from the craziness that continues to engulf our country. It’s a chance to let your shoulders drop, take a deep breath, and recharge your internal batteries through a deep laugh. Just the sound of Feimster herself chuckling is infectious.

Prior to heading to Provincetown Feimster swings through for a few dates in Minneapolis and then heads to Salt Lake City and Tampa after leaving the Cape. As she travels from coast to coast she continually finds audiences ready to laugh. She also notes that there is a palpable sense of progress, as she no longer feels she has to segregate her comedy, one for the straight audiences and one for the gay. As a lesbian her material is universal, finally, and she doesn’t get the strange looks and awkward vibe she once did, even in more conservative locales in the nation.

With a slate of projects in the works this trip to Provincetown is long overdue, says Feimster, as she’s been trying for years to get here, especially when good friend and fellow Post Office Cabaret comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer insisted she make a point of coming to town to join the legacy of performers that have played the stages of the Cape tip. The more she learns about who performs here now, and in the past, Feimster’s excitement grows—increasingly so when she hears about the long list of drag queens in town each summer. She loves drag queens, and kind of feels like one herself with her Sanders impersonations. But of all she’s done to date, being a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race is her favorite.

“Oh my God, that was like a dream come true,” says Feimster. “It’s my favorite show. I never in a million years thought they would want me for the show, but when they reached out to me I was like, ‘Oh my God are you kidding me!? Yes!’  I’m secretly a little bit of a gay man on the inside.”

Fortune Feimster performs at the Post Office Cabaret, 303 Commercial St., Provincetown, Saturday, October 7 through Tuesday, October 10 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets ($25) are available at the box office and online at postofficecabaret.com. For more information call 508.487.0006.