A product of the Northeast, Cummings moved west pursuing entertainment dreams and within days of stepping off the preverbal bus in Hollywood, she was discovered by Ashton Kutcher.
Starring as one of his agents in "Punk'd" proved to be the vehicle she needed to get her seen. Taking up stand up comedy, Cummings developed a problem many dream of in Tinseltown.
Before long, she was too popular to continue punking people and had to leave the hit television show for greener pastures. When celebrities recognize your face – always a plus in Hollywood – Cummings had to bow out of the MTV staple.
The "Made of Honor" star has three films arriving in 2008, with the Patrick Dempsey starring wedding comedy the most anticipated. Off to junkets to promote the film, Whitney, as she insisted we address her, is primed to be the comedic scene stealer in the summer's first hit.
Made in the shade
SheKnows: Hello, Whitney. How are you?
Whitney Cummings: I'm good, how are you?
SheKnows: I'm doing fantastic.
Whitney Cummings: That sounded sincere. (laughs)
SheKnows: I am, actually, perpetually.
Whitney Cummings: Usually when people say that they don't mean it. But you do sound sincerely fantastic. At least you didn't say terrific. That I just don't buy when people say that! That's just mocking me.
SheKnows: I would not dream of mocking you, Whitney.
Whitney Cummings: You better not, Joel Amos.
SheKnows: Did I read you went to the University of Pennsylvania?
Whitney Cummings: Impressive, huh?
SheKnows: Oh, very. So, how did you go from an Ivy League school to Hollywood rolling with Ashton Kutcher's "Punk'd" crew? Did you move to LA to be a stand-up and he saw you?
Whitney Cummings: (laughs) I actually didn't start doing stand up until after I had moved to LA. It's only been three years now I'm proud to say. I've come pretty far -- pretty fast. I have really just started. In college I was a pretentious, nerd who thought they were going to be a journalist. I thought I was going to be a female Anderson Cooper, or, actually a male Anderson Cooper. (laughs) I'm a little more masculine than he is.
SheKnows: So if you didn't move to LA for comedy, why did you?
Whitney Cummings: I always wanted to live there. I did UCLA theater in the summer during high school and I interned at E! Entertainment. I just knew I'd come out here. I knew I'd be a performer. I decided I was going to go and expedited college and graduated in three years and moved out the day after graduation.
SheKnows: And then you ran into Ashton.
Whitney Cummings: I did run into Ashton. He's amazing. I got that job within a couple of weeks of moving to LA. I did "Punk'd" and that was really quite a gift.
SheKnows: Besides getting your name and face out there, it looked like you were having a blast.
Whitney Cummings: Oh, God. It was the best job. It was ridiculous. You couldn't ask for a better gig running around improvising being able to mess with celebrities with them not getting mad at you, taking out restraining orders or, at the least, being able to push it off on Ashton. It was such a cool gig.
SheKnows: And MTV, given its nature, had to let you all do what you wanted.
Whitney Cummings: It's so hard to get your first gig in LA. It was so perfect because you have to be anonymous to be on that show. It's the massive amount of exposure and opportunity when you are virtually unknown. It was really awesome.
SheKnows: Plus, when your ability to do what you did on that show was hampered by people recognizing you that became a good problem to have.
Whitney Cummings: Exactly, I was very grateful for that.
A star on the brink
SheKnows: I would think so. I'm looking at this list of movies you have coming out here in 2008. It sounds like you're really starting to hit a stride with your acting career. What are your thoughts as you are about to have what looks like a very good year for you?
Whitney Cummings: I think so, there's a horror movie that premieres tonight, "Grizzly Park.." But "Made of Honor" that is the real big movie that comes out in just a few. It's Patrick Dempsey, Michelle Monaghan, and Sydney Pollock, all these amazing actors who I got to work with which was pretty surreal.
SheKnows: Did you share a scene with Sydney Pollock?
Whitney Cummings: Yeah, I had two! But they were cut out. I just tried to stand near him and breathe in his air. His aura, I wanted just let it rub off on me.
SheKnows: Was there any issues with the paparazzi making a movie with Patrick Dempsey? The press does follow him.
Whitney Cummings: Yeah, he was followed. When we were in England, holy cow did they follow him. That's good, though, a little tabloid stuff. Getting photos in the magazines while we're making the movie, that's not bad. Patrick always gets good press. He's a great, good solid, guy. All attention that he gets is always positive publicity for the movie. I think the anticipation for the movie is because of that tabloid attention.
SheKnows: I'm reminded of his first summer off from "Grey's Anatomy." The photos of him in the boat with Amy Adams certainly didn't hurt "Enchanted
" any at the box office.
Whitney Cummings: See, it's true. Tabloid coverage can help your career if you're not being an idiot. He's a classy guy.
SheKnows: What drew you to the role in "Made of Honor?"
Whitney Cummings: It's cool. I play Michelle Monaghan's quirky friend -- a bridesmaid -- and Patrick's the Maid of Honor. So I'm kind of the neurotic, perfectionist bridesmaid who is trying to make sure everything's goes well and nothing gets messed up. My character is trying to be supportive of her and getting Patrick acclimated to being a Maid of Honor. (Laughs) It was funny.
SheKnows: Did you find that the work you did with "Punk'd" and your theater background, your improv, stand-up, how does that all work in your head as your tackling a role like in "Made of Honor?"
Whitney Cummings: It helps you to trust your instincts, to able to be funny on the fly. You start to trust your instincts which is hard to do especially when you're working with big actors -- like Patrick Dempsey. (laughs) I had the confidence that I could run with them.
A guy gets Made
SheKnows: It is a fantastic premise for a film. What was it about the script when you read it told you this movie had to be yours?
Whitney Cummings: It's so funny you say that, because I cried when I read it. It's about a guy who has commitment issues and just blows Michelle's character off and by the end -- he pours his heart out and just wants to be with this girl no matter what. He decides he wants to settle down with one person for the rest of his life. The speech in the script was really moving.
SheKnows: That was what got you...
Whitney Cummings: It really made me cry. This character, Patrick's, goes on this deep journey emotionally. I think that was something I could relate to and I loved it. Plus, it is so funny! Laugh and cry at the same script – that's genius.