"I've always been a fan of food," comedian Fortune Feimster says in her new stand up special, "Sweet and Salty." She joined the swim team in grade school just for the snacks.
As a chubby kid who became a chubby adult, she often played her body for laughs. But in recent years her approach to both comedy and food has evolved.
In this week's podcast, Fortune talks about struggling to hold back when you really love to eat. She also shares the lesson she learned from her grandmother, and tells the story of the meatball sliders that almost made her and her fiance break up.
And she and Dan talk about the white chocolate coconut cake that Tom Cruise is known to send to people he works with:
What's that, you want one? Sign up for our mailing list by March 20 and you're automatically entered into this and all our giveaways!
Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:
- "Sun So Sunny" by Calvin Dashielle
- "Cracker Jack" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Nice Kitty" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
- "Brand New Day" by Jack Ventimiglia
- "Small Talk" by Hayley Briasco
- "Trip With You" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt
Photo courtesy of Jen Rosenstein.
Dan Pashman: There is this cake that Tom Cruise is known to send to people he works with. Like even the lighting guy in one of his movies gets this white chocolate coconut cake from a bakery in L.A. called Doan's.
Fortune Feimster: So I sort of jokingly posted on Instagram like that this was on my vision board to try.
Dan Pashman: This is comedian Fortune Feimster. A friend of hers did a thing with Tom Cruise and he got the coconut cake. Fortune saw a photo of it and became obsessed. She had to get one for herself.
Fortune Feimster: Preferably I wanted it sent from Tom Cruise.
Dan Pashman: Well, of course. Yeah.
Fortune Feimster: This food delivery service, Gold Belly, sent me one of them.
Dan Pashman: Right.
Fortune Feimster: And then I did the Kelly Clarkson show and she also surprised me with one.
Dan Pashman: Well, so in preparation to speak with you, Fortune, because I am a consummate journalist...
Fortune Feimster: Yes.
Dan Pashman: With a modest expense account. I ordered the cake.
Fortune Feimster: You did?
Dan Pashman: Yes.
Fortune Feimster: Oh wow.
Dan Pashman: It was delivered to my house yesterday. I don't think I've ever been so excited to receive a package. Like they sent it with a UPS tracking. I kept going out to my front step all afternoon, opening up the front door to see if it was on the stoop or not.
Fortune Feimster: Oh, my gosh.
Dan Pashman: If UPS was delivering a suitcase full of cash, I would not have been checking the front door as often.
Fortune Feimster: That...I love that.
Dan Pashman: But so I want to know, after the build up, what did you think of the actual cake?
Fortune Feimster: It was so good that I froze part of it. I'm not a person that freezes food. I'm always like, "It's never going to be as good."
Dan Pashman: Right.
Fortune Feimster: And I broke it out a couple days ago and I popped it into the microwave for like 20 seconds, still is delicious.
Dan Pashman: Really?
Fortune Feimster: I really thought it lived up to the hype. Like it's not nuts, but there's like something in there, like maybe like white chocolate chips?
Dan Pashman: Yes, which adds crunchy bits.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah. It's a delightful cake.
Dan Pashman: Oh, my God. This may have been my favorite coconut cake of all time.
Fortune Feimster: Yes.
Dan Pashman: What I loved first of all, it's a bundt cake.
Fortune Feimster: Mm-hmm.
Dan Pashman: Which means that which means that, you know, a of a classic coconut cake is just your multiple layers, frosting on the outside and then a frosting layer on the inside.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: The bundt cake has no interior frosting layer, but it has because it has the hole in the center, you have a lot more exterior frosting.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: And I don't know about you, Fortune, but I think that exterior frosting is way better than interior frosting.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah, interior frosting doesn't satisfy you as much, for some reason because it's such a tiny layer.
Dan Pashman: Well and when the outside frosting gets exposed to the air, it also kind of like starts to harden just ever so slightly. So you get that little bit of like crispy crustiness.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah.
Dan Pashman : My major takeaways were that all cakes with frosting should be bunk cakes. And also, I now have a lot more respect for Tom Cruise.
Dan Pashman: This is The Sporkful. That's not for foodies, it's for eaters. I'm Dan Pashman. Each week on our show, we obsess about food to learn more about people. Now, I wish I could pull an Oprah, send a Tom Cruise coconut cake to every one of you. But I can't. So instead, I'm going to pick one of you from our mailing list to win this cake. Sign up now. Right now, while you're listening, just go to sporkful.com/newsletter.
Dan Pashman: OK, let's get into this. Fortune Feimster's new standup special is called "Sweet and Salty". It was taped in Charlotte, North Carolina about a half hour from Belmont, where she grew up.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): Now, I grew up Methodist, which is considered Christian-lite. And all we cared about was that the preacher was done with the sermon by noon so that we can beat the Baptist to the Chili's. It'd be 11:55, and if the preacher was still yammering on you get to hear the choir slowly start singing, "Baby back ribs, how sweet the sauce." We're like, "Preacher, wrap it up."
Dan Pashman: Fortune moved to L.A. after college in 2003. She was a writer and performer on Chelsea Lately and a fan favorite on The Mindy Project, where she played the nurse, Collette. Her new special is her first full-hour of standup. And I want to play a longer clip for you because it's the most personal work she's ever done. It includes a lot of stories from her childhood.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): I've always been a fan of food my whole life. And, you know, some people, if they were a fat kid, they will look back on it and be very bitter about it. Not me. I love being a fat kid. You know why? No one ever tried to snatch me? I love food and I never exercise. They wanted me to join the swim team in my hometown. And so I like, I don't know. They said, "Just go check out the meet. See what you think." So I went to a swim meet and I noticed all of the swimmers were eating Fun Dip before the races. You guys remember Fun Dip? It's just a packet of sugar and a piece of chalk.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): So they would eat this Fun Dip before they race because they thought that the sugar would help spike their energy up and help them swim faster. I'm like, "I'm not here to question the science but I would like to join the swim team." So I joined the team for the Fun Dip. And they proceed to feed me Fun Dip and nachos the entire swim meet. They just kept going back and forth. I just kept eating it back and forth. Sweet and salty. Sweet and salty. And I was so consumed with the Fun Dip and nachos that I ended up missing every single heat. And nobody realized it until the very last heat, which was the hardest stroke. It was the butterfly. And this mom volunteer comes running up in a panic. She goes, "Fortune you hadn't swam!" And I go, "Aghhhhh," because I was in a diabetic coma. She goes, "Fortune, you got to go swim if you don't swim, the whole team gets disqualified. And if we get disqualified, we don't get a free pizza party at the end of the summer." I'm all like, "Pizza party? Why didn't you lead with that?"
Dan Pashman: Fortune, I have a special surprise for you.
Fortune Feimster: Woahhhh, Fun Dip.
Dan Pashman: I, hereby, present you with some Fun Dip. Will you indulge with me here and have a little taste?
Fortune Feimster: Yes, for sure. I gotta take a picture of this before I...
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Fortune Feimster: Dip into it. [sings] Fun Dip. Yum.
Dan Pashman: So which flavor are you going with?
Fortune Feimster: I'm going raz-apple magic dip. It's blue.
Dan Pashman: Yeah. It's funny that the raspberries are blue, but I think that's an indication that it's like the perfect kind of artificial.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah...You got to lick the stick.
Dan Pashman: So that I was gonna ask what your technique was. So you want to lick the stick first so that you can pick up the...
Fortune Feimster: Pick up the sugar.
Dan Pashman: I'm gonna do it too, yeah.
Fortune Feimster: You know, I have not actually had this since my swim team days. Mmm. Now, are you a..
Dan Pashman: Mmm.
Fortune Feimster: It's good. I mean it's all sugar.
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Fortune Feimster: It does feel like we're drinking Kool-aid mix.
Dan Pashman: Yeah. Who needs the water?
Fortune Feimster: Do you eat the stick? Are you a...do you eat this...whatever? .
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Fortune Feimster: You do? I never eat the stick.
Dan Pashman: Really?
Fortune Feimster: To me, it's just a way to get the sugar from the packet to your mouth. It's a vessel.
Dan Pashman: Yes, I can respect that. But I like the crunch of the stick and I like that it's a little bit tart. It's a sweet tart flavor.
Fortune Feimster: It's very sour. Yeah. I mean, I shouldn't be eating this on a regular basis, but it's a real nice treat. It really does make me think of the swim team.
Dan Pashman: Are you now experiencing a mysterious craving for nachos?
Fortune Feimster: Yes. I do feel like there needs something salty to come in. It just kind of cuts the sweet taste a bit.
Dan Pashman: Growing up, Fortune says she never really felt like she fit in, but she didn't really know why. In elementary school she was very shy, but when she got to middle school, she started watching SNL. She'd come into school and reenact the sketches. That was the first time she realized she can make people laugh.
Dan Pashman: Do you remember the first time that you played your body or your appearance for laughs?
Fortune Feimster: I do, actually. It was 8th grade and I was running for treasurer of the student government and we had to do this like assembly in the auditorium where you—it's so embarrassing. I can't believe that I even did it, like a 14-year-old has any control over anything. "I'm gonna use this money to buy everybody...", you know? Right? No you're not. So my older brother was like, "Oh, you got to play Pink Floyd's "Money". And I'm like, "Who's Pink Floyd?" I don't even know. And so I gave them the, you know, CD or whatever—or probably tape at that point. And before I even started my speech, it was supposed to play and it didn't play. So I was standing there up on the stage waiting for this music to play. Finally, it started playing and then it wouldn't stop. And so I'm like, waiting for it. I like standing there. I haven't said anything. And I've been up there like five minutes already. It wouldn't stop. So I started like doing like body rolls and like moving my body. And people started dying laughing because I was using my body for the first time to dance with this song. And they thought it was hysterical. And I just remember, like, being like, "Whoa, that was like...I can't believe I was able to turn such a weird moment into something really funny." And like, people were talking about for it next week.
Dan Pashman: And how did that affect the way you thought about your own, about your weight?
Fortune Feimster: I mean, I think there was something inside of me that thought, "Okay. Well, it isn't—being a chubby kid, does it have to always be bad?" But I also grew up in the time of Chris Farley, you know? And he was making people laugh all the time. And he was so physical that I started to see using that to your advantage as being a positive thing. And I never ate a salad again.
Fortune Feimster: What if I was like, "And that made me stop eating vegetables."
Dan Pashman: Right.
Fortune Feimster: No, I just.—You have to—I mean, I've always been big and my family's big. It's just kind of—we have the world's worst metabolism. Part of it's what I eat. Part of it's genetics. And I've certainly tried to be healthier because you want to live longer and lose weight. But, you know, at some point you kind of are like, "I'm always going to be a bigger version of a person, whatever weight that looks like." And at some point, you do have to just like—you can't hate yourself constantly. You have to be like, okay this is who I am. I'm going to try to be better. I'm gonna try to make better choices and be healthy. But also, I'm not going to hate myself. I'm going to take what I have and make it work for me.
Dan Pashman: Was there a period where you did hate yourself for your weight?
Fortune Feimster: I mean, I'm sure it was—it affected my self-esteem, but it was a combo of things. You know, I was not only a bigger kid, but I was in the closet. I didn't know that I was gay. And so I was never the object of any guy's affection. And I've found that to be true for a lot of gay people that I know, who didn't learn till later.
Fortune Feimster: You never quite understand why when you meet a guy, you know, when you're fifteen, sixteen and there's no there's nothing there. You're like high-fiving each other immediately.
Dan Pashman: Like, why isn't it going the way it goes in the movies?
Fortune Feimster: Yeah. You're like, "Why don't we have that chemistry?" And you just assume it's your fault. So there's a combo of things, you know, when you don't know you're gay and you're overweight, where you do start to be like, "God, am I ever gonna be the person that someone likes and wants to call?"And I was always friends with everybody, but I didn't really date much. And so, you know, that has to affect your self-esteem to an extent where you're really down on yourself.
Fortune Feimster: But I was really lucky in that my grandmother was a huge influence on me. And I spent a lot of time with her because my parents worked a lot. And she just sort of instilled this like unconditional love. This like—she was so proud and it instilled a self-esteem in me that I've been able to carry with me to this day. And I'm really grateful that I had someone like that, because I think it takes—it really takes one person to just be like, "I believe in you. You're great. I love who you are and who you are is enough."
Dan Pashman: In comedy today, there are different views on self-deprecating jokes. The comic, Hannah Gadsby, in her breakout show Nannette said, "She would no longer mind her own pain for the audience's pleasure." As Fortune was coming up, she had a different outlook. In 2014, she told the website Vulture, "My sense of humor is definitely self-deprecating, which some people are into and some people are not. Let's face it, I look different. I sound different. I'm a bigger girl. I'm a lesbian. I'm coming to the table already with a lot of differences. So I'd rather be the first one to play it out. For me, it's like taking that power of I'm going to say it before you can think it. And then it's okay, for some reason. I've been this person my entire life and the way I was able to fit in growing up, not get made fun of, is that I was able to make people laugh." Coming up, Fortune tells me what rules of etiquette she remembers from her brief stint as a debutante. And she shares the story of the meatball slider that almost made her and her fiancé breakup. Stick around.
Dan Pashman: Welcome back to The Sporkful, I'm Dan Pashman. What do you think is the ideal amount of space between two tables in a restaurant? Well, Professor Stephani Robson has devoted her career to studying these exact kinds of tiny details of restaurant design. By the way, her research shows it's 16 inches. As she told reporter Sally Helm and me, she even carries a tape measure with her whenever she goes out.
CLIP (STEPHANI ROBSON): I am single for a reason, Sally.
Dan Pashman: In last week's episode, we bring Stefani to a restaurant with a problem. One of their tables is under performing and all the others to fix it. She says You got to understand how the restaurant business works.
CLIP (STEPHANI ROBSON): Restaurants don't really sell food. They sell space.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): You're running a real estate business.
CLIP (STEPHANI ROBSON): It is a real estate business. That's exactly right. Think about it. When you go to a restaurant that has a really high check, average, really high prices. They can give you a bigger table because they can afford to because you're paying more in rent.
CLIP (DAN PASHMAN): And for that money, for that extra money, you are quite literally getting more space for more time.
CLIP (STEPHANI ROBSON): Yes.
Dan Pashman: Can Stephani use her design expertise to pull off a data driven restaurant makeover? That episode is up now. Check it out.
Dan Pashman: Now back to my conversation with Fortune Feimster. And just a heads up that there is some explicit language in this half of the show. As Fortune goes through high school, she still has this feeling that she doesn't know quite where she belongs. But one place where she's pretty sure she doesn't belong in debutante class, learning to be a proper lady. In spite of that...
Fortune Feimster: My senior of high school, when you get invited to be a debutante. Usually your mother was one. It's kind of an old tradition. And my mom had been one and she goes, "You've been invited." I go, "I don't want to do it." She's like, "You're doing it." It's a lot of parties. You just go to like a lot of luncheons. And it's a lot of ladies like eating tiny sandwiches, drinking iced tea and just—I don't even remember what we talked about, but there were some classes on etiquette. You learn how to do a place setting at a table.
Dan Pashman: Oh, that's what...so let's get into that a little. How much of that do you remember? Like, if I gave you like 17 forks and spoons and knives. Could you set a proper place setting?
Fortune Feimster: Oh, I would...I could maybe. I think so. Hopefully it's like riding a bike.
Dan Pashman: Where's the fish knife go Fortune? Where does the fish knife go?
Fortune Feimster: At the top? I don't know. Maybe I would fail miserably. I know—I used to. My grandmother was big on it. Where I would learn how to place everything and the saucer goes here and I probably—I might have forgotten it. But I'm kind of a beast when I eat. I love food so much that all etiquette goes out the window. And my partner is pretty—she's pretty a neat freak. And we were out to eat. And I did the whole cutting cutting the thing and and I ate it. And then I licked my knife and she almost broke up with me.
Fortune Feimster: She goes, "No, no, no. Nu-uh. Nope. Nope. Nope."
Dan Pashman: And she goes, "I thought I was engaged to a debutante."
Fortune Feimster: Yeah. She thought I was a lady and she goes, "No, I will not be with someone who's licking their knife in public." And I'm like, "What? The sauce is so good," You know? So clearly the none of this debutante stuff stuck.
Dan Pashman: Is there anything you learned in debutante class that you still practice today?
Fortune Feimster: I do enjoy a nice cucumber sandwich to this day from that time in my life. You know what I really enjoy? And this is a surprise to me. I really enjoy an afternoon tea. You know where you go and they give you the levels of treats?
Dan Pashman: Like an English tea type deal.
Fortune Feimster: An English tea situation. Yeah. You got the sandwiches on the bottom and some scones and a couple little desserts and your tea. I have learned I really love that.
Dan Pashman: What do you love about it?
Fortune Feimster: You're getting so many...because I like a variety.
Dan Pashman: Do you eat from bottom to the top or do you ping back and forth?
Fortune Feimster: I go bottom to top. Yeah.
Dan Pashman: So you don't do sweet, salty, sweet, salty.
Fortune Feimster: Nope, I go sandwiches...I do the order. Sandwiches, scones. And then the treat.
Dan Pashman: Did you learn nothing with the Fun Dip in the nachos, Fortune?
Fortune Feimster: I know. I know.
Dan Pashman: Come on.
Fortune Feimster: I know I'm not adhering to my own sweet and saltiness but uhh...
Dan Pashman: In this next story, Fortune tells in her special, she's in her mid-twenties. She comes home from work one day and she starts watching the Lifetime channel.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): I clearly still do not have a good handle on who I was. You know, there was just something missing. It was a movie called The Truth about Jane. And I don't want to bore you straight-ese, with the plot of this movie. But basically a young girl in high school realizes that she is a lesbian and her mom, she's like, "Booo!" And then by the end of the movie, her mom is like, "Yay!" And that's the movie. So I'm sitting there and all of this, like, hits me like a ton of bricks. I'm like, "Oh, my God. Oh, my God." And I say out loud, for the first time in my entire life, I go, "Oh, my God, I'm gay." And I came to that conclusion from watching a Lifetime movie. What?
Dan Pashman: So Fortune decides to tell her family. Starting with her brothers.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): I'm so nervous. I'm like, "Guys..whoo. I got to tell you something. Whoo! OK. I'm gay." And my brothers go, "Duh." Cool, cool, cool. Cool. Well, thanks for telling me that. And I said, "Well, just out of curiosity, like what made you think I was gay this whole time?" And one of my brothers goes, "Well, once when you were seven you got hit with a soccer ball and you yelled, 'Ow, my dick.' "
Dan Pashman: The way the story is told in the in the special sort of feels like, "Oh, this light bulb went off. I realized I'm gay. I came out to my family. They were basically all cool with it." Was it as sort of smooth as it comes across?
Fortune Feimster: I think if I had come out at like 18, It would have been a problem. My partner came out of 15. And that's hard, you know, because your parents were like, what? And it wasn't as prevalent back then. And they think there's something wrong, that they did something. Once you're 25, though and I'm living 3000 miles away, it's almost like, "Well, she's already out there of all those Californians. Of course, she's gay." You know?
Dan Pashman: So you and Jax get together and used to, you know, early in her dating and going out to eat a lot. You're gaining a lot of weight here, kind of without realizing it. I loved—I listened to your podcast where you guys talked about how part of the issue was that Jax was very competitive?
Fortune Feimster: Yes.
Dan Pashman: So I really related to this. This idea that like every time an appetizer came, even if she didn't really want it. She felt like she was entitled to 50 percent. So she would eat 50 percent.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: So she would eat 50 percent.
Fortune Feimster: Yeah. We like never fight. And we would have some fights because she would be like, "That's mine. No, you had three and I'm having three." Like she really did get competitive because I'll eat all day long. I'll be like, "If you let me have five of those I'm eating five of them." And she just—part of it was that she was trying to make me not eat as much as I usually do. So she was like well if I take it she won't eat it.
Dan Pashman: She's trying to help you. She's taking one for the team.
Fortune Feimster: She was but then she ended up gaining like thirty pounds.
Dan Pashman: Is there one specific food related fight you remember from that period?
Fortune Feimster: Yes, very much so. We were long distance for a year. She was I met her in Chicago. And after a year, we finally made that big leap that she was gonna move to L.A. And we stopped in Oklahoma, because we drove her car across the country. And there was a—I ordered like chicken. They had like a chicken dinner. We stopped in this restaurant. I mean, it was like a giant thing of fried chicken. Like mashed potatoes, cornbread, banana pudding. And she ordered meatball sliders and that's it. But I thought in my head that we were sharing. That we were like, "Oh you eat some of mine. I'll eat some of yours." So my giant platter comes out her like tiny meatball sub appetizer comes out and I reach for one of hers. And she's like, "No, these are mine." And I go, "What? I thought we were sharing." And I got like really upset. And it led to this huge fight where I legit thought we were about to break up. She was saying, "I ordered this. This is my food. You have an entire like you have almost an entire chicken fried over there. That's not enough? You got to eat this too? Really?" She was like, thought, "Oh, God. What if I am like committed my life to some beast of a person that has no self-control?"
Dan Pashman: Right. And what were you saying?
Fortune Feimster: And I thought, "What a bitch. What a bitch!" We were like yelling in the street about meatball subs. But then what we really realized was that the fight was about. We were both scared that she was moving cross-country, giving up her whole life. And what if it doesn't work out?
Dan Pashman: Today, Fortune and Jax are engaged. They did one of those engagement photo shoots, but when they got the pics back, they were horrified. As Fortune said, "They'd been having so much fun together, eating so much great food, they'd both gained a lot of weight in a short time without really realizing it until they saw the photos.
CLIP (FORTUNE FEIMSTER): So I began this health journey and I became a person I didn't even recognize. All of a sudden I was going to Whole Foods for like four hours and five hundred dollars later, I had meals for two days. I was eating like the alternative healthier versions of things like spaghetti squash. Just eating it all resentful. Just like, "You ain't spaghetti!" It took me forever to order at restaurants cause you have to know how everything is prepared. Even my voice changed. I was like, "How do you guys prepare your vegetables? Do you guys use butter or olive oil? Do you have any ghee? It's better without dairy." They're like, "Ma'am. This is Hooters." But I felt good. I'm like, you know what, I'm not that chubby little kid running through the pool anymore. I finally pulled it together. So I called my dad. I'm like, "Dad, you're never gonna believe this. I am currently gluten-free." And my dad goes, "Gluten-free? Pussy, I understood that but gluten-free? Girl, you're from the South. You better you eat a god dern biscuit."
Fortune Feimster: I ended up losing 40 pounds. I think I've put only like 10 back? But the hope is that I don't ever get so out of control again. It's always going to be a struggle for me because I'm always going to want to enjoy food. I'm never going to be the person that's like, "No, not for me." You know? But it's like just learning the moderation.
Dan Pashman: There's a line in the special where you say, "I became a person I didn't even recognize." Which I know in the special is a line you play for laughs...
Fortune Feimster: Yeah.
Dan Pashman: But I wonder if there's part of that actually really is how you felt?
Fortune Feimster: Well, it did feel weird because like it becomes your whole life. And you can't stop talking about it. So like all of a sudden my Instagram was like full of like, "I'm at Whole Foods." You know, "I'm eating kale." And it’s like I was always the person that was like, "I love chicken wings. Give me Chili's." And so it did feel weird to, like, suddenly be this person that was like, "What about a nice almond milk?"
Dan Pashman: Right.
Fortune Feimster: It just wasn't what I was used to.
Dan Pashman: Right. Were you ever worried that if you lost too much weight, that you wouldn't be you?
Fortune Feimster: I never thought I would lose so much weight that like, you know how I'm like people Adele just lost like a ton of weight? And people were like, "What's happening?"
Dan Pashman: Yeah.
Fortune Feimster: I never thought like I would have some drastic thing where like all of a sudden I didn't look like myself. But yeah, I mean, I maybe thought in the back of my head, like people would get annoyed with me talking about health things. And also you don't want to be that person that talks about it so much. Then all of a sudden you gained 30 pounds. And you're like, "Well, I guess that happened." So I wanted to at least acknowledge like, "Yeah, I'm being better right now but life is crazy. Who knows?"
Dan Pashman: Fortune has come a long way from that kid running for treasurer, gyrating on stage to the Pink Floyd song. She still uses her love of food and her body to get laughs. But that's not so much the point of the joke now. It's a through-line that gets her to the more personal parts of her story, family, relationships, coming into her own. She says that change in her approach onstage is a sign that she's gotten better at standup.
Fortune Feimster: I think it's easier in the beginning to just be like I'm fat. And, you know, here's a joke about being fat. You're forced to as you do it longer, to like, "Well, what else? What else?" You can't just keep hitting this same note. And as I was working on this set, the personal stories started coming to light. The childhood stories in it. And it sort of took shape in this autobiographical way that I never intended to happen. And so the stories there were more than just being a big kid. There were more than just being a chubby adult. There was a lot more in between. So it helped me sort of naturally fill out the world more and not just lean on that.
Dan Pashman: That is comedian Fortune Feimster. Her new Netflix special is called Sweet and Salty. And she's touring all over the U.S. this year with all new material. Find those dates at fortunefeimster.com. Hey, you want to win that Tom Cruise coconut cake? You must be on our mailing list by March 20th. If you're already on the list. You're automatically entered into this and all of our giveaways. So get on the list. Who knows what you could win?
Dan Pashman: Sign up now at sporkful.com/newsletter. Next week on the show, I go out to eat with writer and comedian Maeve Higgins. She talks about the difficulty of having serious conversations over dinner.
CLIP (MAEVE HIGGINS): I feel like when someone launches into like their first time seeing their husband after the divorce or whatever, your duty as a friend is to like, put down your knife and fork to look at them really, you know, be like an active listener. But what I like to do is be an active eater. When I've got like a plate of food in front of me knowing it's getting cold. I find it really hard to focus. So I try and make syphoned food into my mouth while her eyes are blurry with tears.
Dan Pashman: Plus, Maeve talks about being a newer Irish immigrant to the U.S. and feeling disconnected from most Irish Americans, especially on St. Patrick's Day. That's next week.