When you’re a popular comedy darling, people expect you to just be funny. But the joke may be on us.
Take Whitney Cummings. She can be a gut-busting griller on the Comedy Central Roasts, and a hot staple for outlandish panel banter on late-night’s über hit “Chelsea Lately” – but she’s also deep.
“I had this massage therapist that always said, ‘The universe is working for you,’ ” says Cummings, who hits Cobbs Comedy Club for several nights beginning Thursday.
“And it’s true. I have this combative streak-a lot of comics have it. You get on stage and for the first four years, you’re fighting for people to like you. You’re assuming people want to hurt you – I tend to shadowbox through life with people who are ‘fighting’ me back.
“But [that statement] transformed the way I think … to stop being at war with these invisible images.”
Cummings’ transformation (inside and out) is evident by her success. Her celebrity soared over the past few years – she’s bold and brash and audiences relate to her – but she’s also maintained balance.
For someone with a “terrible” childhood and relationship issues, she’s open-minded enough to explore complex issues.
Some of the best advice she’s been given about life?
“‘We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are’ – as I soon as I heard that from somebody it made me change the way I think,” she admits. “Because I thought that whenever I criticize someone or something that it’s just me projecting my own stuff. I also like: ‘The way you do anything, is the way you do everything.’”
Clearly everything Cummings is doing these days is working just fine. Last year she toured 70 cities for a wildly successful comedy venture, and expects 2011 to be just as festive.
Among the topics currently occupying her mind — something that pops up in her act – is her obsession with the idea of marriage.
“I’ve been in a relationship for a year and a half and for the first time, I’ve thought about marriage – what it is, what it means, why so many people do it, why it’s such a big cultural thing,” she says.
“And then I bought this house and thought, oh my God – I should marry this guy so I could register for stuff. Yeah … I want to get married for the first time in my life so I could get some forks.”
IF YOU GO
Where: Cobbs Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., San Francisco
When: 8 p.m. Thursday and Sunday, 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Tickets: $18.50 to $20.50
Contact: (415) 928-4320; www.cobbscomedyclub.com.