It’s hard to see how she has the time, but writer, actor and comedian Fortune Feimster will perform at JFL42, the Toronto offshoot of Montreal’s Just for Laughs comedy festival. She wrote for, and acted on, Chelsea Lately. She’s appeared on Glee, 2 Broke Girls and Workaholics, and, most recently, is a new recurring character for The Mindy Project’s fourth season.
Daily Xtra caught up with her on the phone for a chat (a particularly pleasant one, given the American comedian’s gentle southern drawl) about Mindy, JFL42 and how her orientation affects her comedy.
Daily Xtra: How has it been filming for a new role as a recurring character on The Mindy Project?
Fortune Feimster: It’s been great . . . so far I’ve signed up to do four episodes and, you know, I don’t know if that’ll lead to any more, but so far they’ve been super nice. It’s a really supportive set and they encourage improvising, which is nice for me because I started in improv. I’ve had a couple of scenes with just Mindy [Kaling] and I and that’s been really fun, to just play off of each other.
What’s Mindy Kaling like?
She’s great. She’s the main one, you know? So I’m really impressed by how calm she is. She never seems like she’s stressed. She just takes everything in stride. Ike Barinholtz — he’s in the show, and does some writing — and when he’s on set it’s kind of cool watching them interact with each other.
And your character — you play Colette Kimball, a nurse and the sister of somebody who stands in for the Mindy character?
Garret Dillahunt plays my brother, [Jody]. So, he’s a doctor at their practice while [Mindy Lahiri’s] out having a baby. That’s been really cool too. He’s just such a seasoned actor. And he’s so good looking, so I’m quite flattered that they think we could be related.
How much more excited are you for JFL42, than you are about being on The Mindy Project?
So much! They don’t even compare. No, I’m super excited, being as I’ve never been to Toronto before. I was supposed to go earlier this year and then I had to cancel because I had my own show — a pilot — that I was filming, so I had to cancel that. I’m glad it’s finally come back around. Also, I’ve done Just for Laughs in Montreal for the last five years, so it’s cool to be in that comedy family.
You make jokes about being a lesbian. How does your orientation affect your comedy?
I don’t really define myself by it. It’s not the only thing about me. I don’t think of myself as a lesbian comic. I just think of myself as a comedian who happens to be a lesbian. But it’s nice that it sort of gives me a built-in community and audience, where they’re supportive and want to see me succeed. If anybody in the community does well, it only helps with visibility and reminding people that it’s normal. There’s something also about making people laugh that makes them forget that you’re different. That’s a blessing for me; because I’m a comedian, I get a little more acceptance in certain places and certain people that I might not have gotten otherwise.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
I just hope people will come to my shows [at JFL42]. I think I’m doing quite a few when I’m there. I don’t know what sort of fan base I have in Canada, and in Toronto specifically, so I hope people, if they’re reading this and haven’t heard of me, will look me up or come to a show. That’s one thing I enjoy as a comic: having people come to my shows that have never heard of me, and hopefully leave as a new fan. I hope my shows are relatable to everybody . . . I cover lots of stuff — even stuff that Canadians can relate to.