Whitney Cummings is ready to get out of the house.
For the past several months, the comedian has entertained her followers on social media by giving them an inside look at what life has been like at her Woodland Hills home: She’s displayed her skills on the basketball court, videos of her rescue dogs, beauty and fashion tips and behind-the-scenes clips from her “Good For You” podcast.
But she’s ready to get up on stage, even if it’s in front of a bunch of cars.
“I mean, we gotta do something,” Cummings said during a recent phone interview. “Comedians, we’re professional complainers and grumpy pouters and really want everything like it was before. But that’s just not going to happen right now. I think we’re finally adapting and going ‘You know what, let’s just do this for cars, let’s figure out what that looks like.’ There’s something kind of amazing about it and a bit triumphant, with everyone uniformly following a rule and making it fun and it’s been something that’s kind of healing. So the car shows are actually kind of nice for that reason.”
Cummings has performed at a few drive-ins across the country in the last year and is headlining Irvine Improv’s Drive-In, which is located atop the Regal Parking Deck, at the Irvine Spectrum Center on Saturday, March 6.
Cummings has taken the pandemic seriously, but she still contracted the virus over the holidays. She said she definitely feels better, but her brain is still a bit foggy. The most challenging part was in her head, she said.
“Mine was so bad that I haven’t really talked about it that much because a lot of it is very psychological,” she said. “I don’t want to be exaggerating but also don’t want to be minimizing it, obviously. I had it really bad. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a certain blood type, but I couldn’t walk for a week and a half and there was a lot of mental stuff. I was forgetting things and having weird spatial issues where I was not able to tell how close something was to me. I was forgetting very obvious things. It was really, really scary.”
Though she’s spent the majority of the pandemic at home, she’s still working. She’s hosting her weekly “Good For You” podcast, which is uploaded to YouTube and features her friends, fellow comedians, musicians and other pop culture icons. She’s welcomed guests like singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, comedian Sebastian Maniscalco, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and drag queen Trixie Mattel.
“I try to talk about stuff that you wouldn’t hear anywhere else,” Cummings says of her interview style. “I try to get to know the person aside from all of the rehearsed things they’ve probably answered a thousand times. What I normally do is start not with them, but about how I feel about them so we’re setting the stage with that. We’re not just going to talk about facts and things, we’re going to talk about feelings. I try to get a more emotional interview out of everyone, which maybe makes me a bad journalist because I don’t try to get facts, I try to get feelings.”
Cummings, who starred in her own NBC sitcom “Whitney” while simultaneously serving as executive producer on a television series she co-wrote, “Two Broke Girls,” said she hasn’t had to live her typical “Hollywood” life and “surrender to the system,” which is why she’d decided to experiment with wild hair colors from cotton candy pink to vibrant blue and purple.
“I’m getting texts that are like, ‘Are you OK?’ Like people are checking in that I haven’t heard from in ages. This pandemic gave me a little freedom and this moment where I’m like, ‘Screw it, I’m just going to dye my hair and be as uncastable as possible.’ You know, until I have to go back and desperately try to make them like me again.”
When the pandemic is over, she’ll go back to her natural chestnut brown hair color. When life returns to “normal,” Cummings said the first thing she wants to do is head to a small comedy club with a brick wall backdrop.
“Like a tiny, gross club with strangers and just taking a cocktail from a waitress in the dark and not even looking at what I’m putting into my mouth,” she said. “Just go back to being the disgusting pigs we used to be. Like going bowling … we all shared balls with our nasty little fingers in them. Think about it. You’d go and put your fingers in these holes and come back and someone else would go and jam their fingers in there … we were disgusting.”
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, March 6 (venue opens at 5 p.m.)
Where: Regal Parking Deck at Irvine Spectrum, 670 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine
Tickets: $125 per vehicle (number of patrons must not exceed number of safety belts in the vehicle). The show is 18-and-older only. Tickets are first come, first parked and early arrival is suggested. All tickets are available at Improv.com/Irvine.