I think Whitney Cummings has become an important American figure. Look, I’m not saying she’s Rosa Parks. But she’s got a strong female voice, she vibrantly tells the truths of her life, and she doesn’t back down despite backlash from, usually, men.
There’s a high probability she will reveal intimate details about her sex life and lies men tell her, when she performs Friday and Saturday at the Venetian’s female-comedy series “Lipshtick.”
So I got on the phone with her. I told her I dig her important female power. Then I asked her a question you should probably only ask megalomaniacs:
Does she think she’s important?
“I don’t necessarily think of myself in those terms,” she said. “I’m just trying — one joke at a time — to tell the truth. And if one person goes home feeling better or less crazy, I’m happy.”
Then Cummings made me laugh by satirizing my premise:
“I’m not just onstage making (penis) jokes. I’m making important (penis) jokes.”
Cummings did say her influences are important comics with backbones, comedians like George Carlin, Chris Rock, Richard Pryor and Lewis Black.
She even began her comedy career trying too hard to be like them, she said.
She used to tell political jokes to appeal to one portion of her crowds. She wrote another group of jokes “to make everybody happy.” And she performed “smart jokes” to get critics to respect her.
But that approach was self-defeating, so she stopped trying to satisfy others instead of herself.
Now she tells jokes about things that keep her up at night, such as “dismounting” with dignity after sex.
“A lot of people say, ‘You’re just talking about sex and relationships.’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s what I’m an aficionado at,’ ” she said.
She used to feel “shame around the things I talk about.”
“Then I was like, ‘You know what? This is what I’m good at. This is what I’m best equipped to do. I’m just going to own it, and not feel shame around it, and feel like I have to be everything to everybody, because then you end up doing down-the-middle, (expletive), compromising, troll, nothing jokes about JetBlu.’
“I do this every single night. If I don’t care about what I’m talking about, I’ll kill myself. I just have to stick to what’s fascinating to me, and not worry about other people.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the headstrong attitude of a leader who stays up nights thinking about orgasms and lies men tell her, maybe. But to millions, what’s more important than that?