Before the upfronts: Up front with Whitney Cummings + Chris D’Elia about their new NBC sitcom, “Whitney”

By far the belle of the ball among the early network TV pickups for Fall 2011 is comedian Whitney Cummings, who went two-for-two on the pilots that she had a hand in writing and producing.

NBC has ordered Whitney to series, which Cummings wrote the pilot for based on her stand-up act and starred alongside fellow stand-up comedian Chris D'Elia (most recently seen in Glory Daze on TBS). Then this afternoon, CBS ordered Two Broke Girls to series, which Cummings co-created and co-executive produced with Michael Patrick King. But Cummings is just behind the camera on that series, leaving Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs to play the broke girls working at a Brooklyn diner.

I got Cummings and D'Elia on the line to talk about Whitney, the new NBC series they'll be introducing to advertisers and the media on Monday.


From Whitney herself:

"It's amazing! What can I say?????? It's obviously phenomenal. So excited to have gotten Chris for it. I wrote for him in mind and to be working with him every day is going to be a blast. I had Loni Love in the pilot as well. So the key for me is just surrounding myself with amazing comedians and staying honest and trusting my instincts because it seems to be working. 

NBC was so amazing about letting me do what I wanted to do — the show is crazy edgy, provocative, and untraditional. They didn't limit me at all and encouraged me to stay true to what I do with my stand-up."

And about getting two TV shows picked up in one pilot season? "It's surreal to say the least," Cummings told me.

From Chris D'Elia, whom I asked: From what I've read, you play her boyfriend. Live-in boyfriend? Do you have to, er, I mean, get to kiss her? Ha. What's the background on your character? And how close is the TV Whitney going to be to her real personality?

"I play Whitney's live-in boyfriend and yeah I'm assuming that we have to kiss haha. That's what boyfriends and girlfriends do. I play a guy who sold a huge video website and has some dough. He wants to be with Whitney forever but the two aren't so sure about the institution of marriage. The real Whitney shines through in her character. That's why she's so good in this. I'm very fortunate to be working on TV right now and I'm extremely happy I get to work with my close friend Whitney. She's keeping me employed!"


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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