Better than ‘Fine’: Whitney Cummings Makes Directorial Debut

Comedian Whitney Cummings is having a record year. Make that comedian-writer-director-actress-author-producer-Instagram-storier Whitney Cummings.

Her hilarious, incredibly honest mental health memoir I’m Fine…and Other Lies was released in October, with a subsequent book tour. She co-wrote and directed The Female Brain, what she calls “a neurology comedy” starring Cecily Strong, Sofia Vergara, Blake Griffin and Beanie Feldstein. From her directorial debut to her first book, Cummings is sending a clear message to female artists: you don’t have to have it all figured out in order to be successful.

The co-executive producer of the Roseanne revival, set for an ABC premiere in late March, wrote about why she became involved with bringing the Conners back to life 20 years later in a January column for Vulture. “Shows like Beverly Hills, 90210 made me feel poor, ugly, and boring, but Roseanne was like oxygen for me. It was about a family who used humor to survive the smash n’ grab we call life, and it inspired me to use levity as my own anesthesia. I thought about the network-TV landscape today, and I realized that it overwhelmingly depicts the ‘problems’ of privileged, financially solvent people. We call shows about the Kardashians, rich housewives, and million-dollar listings “reality” when none of the people on them seem to have ever had to face reality, certainly not a financial one. It made me wonder where working-class people were getting their oxygen, and where they were having their reality seen, understood, and reflected back to them.”

From her hilarious stand-up specials to her unfortunately short-lived NBC sitcom Whitney, the heart of her humor lies in a central idea: she’s a mess, and that’s OK. While some comics joke about dating only on a surface level, Cummings digs deeper, to the heart of things – why we are the way we are when it comes to relationships, codependency and decision-making. It’s in her memoir, from her struggle with body image to her dating history; it’s in her stand-up, in almost every joke; and it’s in The Female Brain, breaking down the reasons we do what we do, which is so much more interesting and effective than the same old sex jokes.

Out now in select cities and available on iTunes and VOD, The Female Brain is a funny, sincere neurology comedy that will hopefully spur even more thoughtful work from Cummings and her co-writers.

On Roseanne, she wrote: “You’ll get to hear that iconic laugh again, which can take you back to 20 years ago when it was a simpler time, back when we believed our news, when we all had no choice but to talk to each other in person, when we didn’t follow our heroes on Twitter.” It might be a more complicated time, but we already have our very own modern-day Roseanne Barr, who’s using her voice to tell stories no one else is.

© Georgiana E. Presecky (2/20/18) FF2 Media

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