Fortune Feimster is one smart cookie

For a child of the bourgeois south, Fortune Feimster has toed right up to, and sometimes crossed, many borders of her childhood culture. With the merest hint of a Carolina cadence, she opens her set relating how she grew up not quite like the others.

Having had only brothers, she said she was always a tomboy. She translates that, with a wink, as “future lesbian.”

What made it especially tough was a mom who “didn’t get the memo” that her family’s fortune had been lost to gambling. Feimster was raised as a delicate flower, as refined as possible. She notes the irony that the term for her debutante season of fancy dresses and dance parties was known as “coming out.”

One of her most memorable, hilarious and ultimately metaphorical stories is about her plucky venture into competitive swimming. Ever zaftig, Feimster loved the snack bar, but she said the only way she could get through a lap was to stroke with her arms . . . and walk along the bottom. She allows that she and swimming soon parted ways “by mutual agreement.”

Feimster’s physicality, remarkably diverse and fluid, is of a piece with her jokes. It’s impossible to imagine one without the other. Her gestures and strides, and the fluency of her expressions, ground her material and bring it to life.

And all’s well that ends well. By midset we learn she wound up a college tennis champ, an unsurprising detail given what we now know of her intellect, ambition and tenacity.

Feimster released her first hour-long Netflix special, “Sweet & Salty” in 2020 and now tours regularly. Although she launched her comedy career as a member of improv’s vaunted Groundlings Sunday Company, she first became known as a writer and panelist on “Chelsea Lately.” She went on to star as a series regular on “The Mindy Project” and had roles in “Glee” and “Dear White People.”

A recurring guest on Showtime’s “The L Word: Generation Q,” and CBS’ “Life in Pieces.” She’s also been tapped to judge “Ru Paul’s Drag Race.” She was found to be an ideal fit for the voice of Evelyn on “The Simpsons” and Ava on “Summer Camp Island” for the Cartoon Network.

Feimster has performed standup sets on “The Late Show with Conan O’Brien” and “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” and her half-hour specials on Comedy Central were included in the first season of “The Standups” on Netflix. She currently stars opposite David Spade on the new Netflix series, “The Netflix After Party” and she chats with her friend Tom Papa every morning on “What A Joke with Papa and Fortune” on SiriusXM’s channel 93 for Netflix. The pair have interviewed scores of comics, talking about all-things comedy.

For all of that it’s Feimster’s writing that may most affect her future fortunes. When she starred in her own Tina-Fey-produced pilot, “Family Fortune,” for ABC, she attracted the attention of Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin. The company has since acquired two of her feature film projects, both including her as a star.

Fortune Feimster, 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress Street, Tucson, foxtucson.com, $42.50 to $62.50


Eunice Gonzales makes no small plans

A UA administrator by day, Eunice Gonzales spends the rest of her waking hours thinking of ways to build community, or, more accurately, communities. It couldn’t be a nicer goal. So to play on her name, and the nature of her dreams, she calls her side gig “Mi Vecina Nice Productions.” Roughly translated, it means “My Nice Neighbor.”

Bringing people together to share resources and support each other is her passion. And she’s got the skills to do it. She’s personable, articulate and committed, and experienced in organizing and promoting community events, specifically, The Great Tucson Beer Festival.

That event benefited Sun Sounds of Arizona, a news service for the blind. At the time, she was on its board. Now she’s trying to leverage her leadership and promotion skills to put a little cash in people’s pockets, including, perhaps, her own.

To that end, she created a new kind of comedy show on the Tucson scene. She named it Wild Cardz and road-tested it on Aug. 6. She’s hoping that her Sept. 4 show, “Wild Cardz presents Comic Comics,” will bring a costumed influx of Con attendees to move her closer to her goal.

“Everyone will be in costume and we’re encouraging comedians to consider putting character jokes in their sets,” Gonzales said.

She said what sets Wild Cardz shows apart is her emphasis on onstage inclusiveness and audience participation. “It’s not like shows where the producer invites the headliner and the lineup,” she said. “Anyone who signs up ahead can get three minutes of stage time in the show’s first half. They’re encouraged to do their best because the audience will vote for four favorites to do 5-minute sets in the second half.”

“The audience votes again after the second round, and that winner will headline the next show. Headliners earn a double share of the show’s earnings. Everyone else gets an equal share after Gonzales’ production company,’ Mi Vecina Nice, pays the show’s expenses.

Gonzales said the prospect of earning even a small share can encourage a new comic to stay motivated to become a headliner one day.

Headlining on Sunday, Sept. 4, will be Connor Hannah, winner of the show’s Aug. 6 debut. Joel Martin and Cati French host and Frank Lopez will handle sound. So far, the show’s starting lineup includes Allana Erickson Lopez, Amie Amelia Gabusi, Steven Black, Jesus Otamendi, Sylvia Remington, Brady Evans, Liam Williams. Manny Lugo, Jen Blanco, Justin Pinzon, Victor Rodriguez, Sarah Mirasol, Anthony Jenkins, Elmer Espinoza, Marcus Ray, Adrian, and Elmer Espinoza.

6:30 p.m., doors at 6 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 4, Wild Cardz presents “Comic Comics,” The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress Street, eventbrite.com/e/comic-comics, $10 online, $12 at the door.


The rest of the weekend

Tucson Improv Movement 6:30. Friday, Sept 2, improv jam; free; 7:30 p.m., The Soapbox featuring Tom Heath, Radio Host at Life Along the Streetcar, tucsonimprov.com, TIM Comedy Theatre, 414 E. Ninth Street, $7

Unscrewed Theater (presales at), 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept.2, From the Top musical improv; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, Family-Friendly Improv Comedy, Unscrewed Theatre, 4500 E. Speedway Boulevard, unscrewedtheater.org, $8, $5 kids, live or remote

Peggy’s Variety Show, 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 5, Unscrewed Theatre, 4500 E. Speedway Boulevard, eventbrite.com, $10. New York comic Michael Bevin hosts a comedy show featuring his mother’s tap dancing troupe, The Tucson Prime Time Dancers, improv ensemble All Ready and Tucson comedians Jen Blanco, Kyle Verville, Mo Urban and Paul Fox.


Open mics

Wednesday

• 6 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, Lady Ha Ha at The Rock, 136 N. Park Avenue, Priscilla Fernandez, Mo Urban host. (women, LGBTQA+ and allies)

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start. The Screening Room, 127 E. Congress, Chris Quinn hosts.

Thursday

• 6:45 p.m. writing workshop and signup, 8 p.m. start, Laff’s Comedy Caffe, 2900 E. Broadway Boulevard, Casey Bynum hosts.

• 8 p.m. signup, 8:30 p.m. start, Tucson Improv Movement, 414 E. Ninth Street, Jen Blanco Thomas and Kurt Lueders host. Three Thursdays/month.

Friday

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, The Kava Bar, 4376 E. Speedway Boulevard, Connor Hannah hosts.

• 6 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, Spark Project Collective, 4349 E. Broadway Boulevard, Ernie Celaya hosts 10-minute sets.

Saturday

• 5:30 p.m. signup, 6 p.m. start, The Music Box, 6951 E. 22nd Street, Tony Bruhn hosts.

Sunday

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7:15 p.m. start, Home Room mic at Arte Bella (420 friendly), 340 N. Fourth Avenue, Rebecca and Paul Fox host.

Monday

• 6 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, On the Rocks, 7930 E. Speedway Boulevard, Joel Martin hosts.

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, Bumsted’s, 1003 N. Stone Avenue, rotating hosts.

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7 p.m. start, Espresso Art Café University, Rich Gary hosts.

• First and second Mondays, 7 p.m. signup, 8 p.m. start, The Mint, 3540 E. Grant Road, Joey G hosts.

Tuesday

• 6:30 p.m. signup, 7:15 p.m. start, House of Bards, 4915 E. Speedway, Cory Lytle hosts.

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