Honestly, I was like, such a serious kid. I wasn’t one of those kids who stole Richard Pryor records. I wasn’t a comedy-nerd kid. I had no concept of stand-up. Actually, the only inkling of stand-up I had was I read one of Paul Reiser’s books, when I was like 12. I found it at a yard sale and I carried it around with me for six years. But to me, I was obsessed with justice, and I think a lot of comedians have that common denominator. I loved the elephant in the room. I loved the truth. I didn’t really know that I was kind of doing stand-up at the time, or what now has evolved into stand-up, but as a kid, I would like, beg my parents to like just tell me Santa Claus is not real. I was so obsessed with getting to the truth, ‘cause as a kid, we’re lied to so much. My parents were constantly telling me, “It’s fine, everything’s fine,” but I knew nothing was fine. That’s kind of what we do as comedians: We try to get to the truth. And so I knew that kernel was there, but I didn’t do stand-up until I was like 21. I think I was annoying someone with what now I would call a bit, and they were like, “You should do stand-up.” People kept suggesting that I do it as their way to get me to stop yelling at them about things that annoy me. And it just resonated. I was like, Oh, yeah, I’m a stand-up. Before I ever did stand-up, I was like, Oh, yeah, that’s what I’m going to do for a living.
Vulture had Sarah Silverman interview Whitney Cummings to help promote her upcoming special, I Love You (which premieres tomorrow night at 11pm on Comedy Central), and what resulted is a truly great and in-depth discussion of a wide range of subjects relating to comedy and being a comedian. Here’s Cummings on how she became a comedian:They talk about everything from being vulnerable on stage to how brutal roasts can be to preferring standup over being in movies. The whole thing is really great and well worth a read, so get to it.