Comic Fortune Feimster is having a moment. A former semifinalist on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” Feimster got her break writing for and playing reccurring characters on “Chelsea Lately.”
She’s currently a regular on “The Mindy Project” as well as a semi-regular on “Life in Pieces” and a few other TV shows. She made her big-screen debut in “Office Christmas Party” in December and appears in a couple of other films that are in post-production.
Feimster is headlining the Idaho Laugh Fest at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Egyptian Theatre in Downtown Boise. (The festival takes place Jan. 12 to 15 with performances, showcases and films. Find tickets and information at IdahoLaughFest.com.)
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What’s Feimster’s secret?
“I have a silly look, a weird accent,” she says. “I look like a goofball.”
She spoke from backstage at Comedy Central’s “The Comedy Jam,” a show on which comedians tell a story and then sing a song.
“I’m not really a singer,” she says drolly. “But I’m going to do “Goodbye Earl” by the Dixie Chicks. You can’t go wrong with the Dixie Chicks.”
While her comic career is really cooking right now, off stage you wouldn’t peg Feimster as “the funny one.”
She doesn’t need to be the center of attention. Her kind of funny is a slow burn, filled with wry twists on the way to clever zingers that are rarely mean-spirited.
“In life outside of the stage, I’m more on the quiet side,” she says. “I’m more of an observer, not trying to get all the attention. Not all comics are like that.”
Feimster discovered her comedy ambitions after attending college in her home state of North Carolina. At college, she was on track for an academic career, but when she came out about her sexuality, it made her consider different options.
“I just felt this huge load off my shoulders, and that lightness and freedom helped my confidence,” she says.
She headed to Los Angeles for the life experience and found herself taking improv classes at The Groundlings, the noted improv group. Eventually Feimster made it into the comedy troupe’s prestigious Sunday Company and dropped her first name. Fortune is her grandmother’s maiden name and felt like a sassier moniker than Emily, she says.
“Comedy became my new passion,” she says. “I decided I’m going to do this, and I’m just going to be poor for a long time. You just have to love it so much you don’t care that you’re doing it for free. You just have to hope it will pay off.”
Well, she’s no longer working for free. In fact, she has enough to buy a new winter coat before heading out on her first trip to Boise. And since she’s got roles in upcoming films, her appearance at the Idaho Laugh Fest is a chance to see Feimster before she makes it super-big.
▪ See Boise comic Sean Hancock’s one-man show “One Deep Breath,” pictured, at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, at the Egyptian Theatre, 700 W. Main St. $12 at the door.
▪ Eric Cole hosts the Midnight Stand-up Showcase at Liquid Laughs, 405 S. 8th St., Boise. Free.
▪ The free Family-Friendly Matinee Variety Show features comics Erik Escobar, Focused Minds Improv and others. 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Egyptian.
Thursday, Jan. 12, to Sunday, Jan. 15 at various Boise venues. Find more info and get tickets at IdahoLaughFest.com.