Ahead of her first-ever NZ gig, comedian Fortune Feimster discusses her disaster proposal, struggling to ‘serve and protect,’ and turning all her misfortunes into comedy gold. 

Being a butch lesbian comes with more challenges than you would think, according to comedian Fortune Feimster, who performs her first-ever New Zealand show in Auckland this month.

“I appear very tall. I have these broad shoulders. I look like I could really serve and protect my family,” she tells us, explaining that these attributes attract women who have a certain type.


“Before me, my wife Jax dated policewomen, truckers, and bouncers. They were very much the protector types,” she says, admitting, “Then we had a couple of incidences where I really was a coward!”

“When we had our alarm go off, she was the one who had to take her high heel off her foot and run through the house looking for an intruder. While I’m in the doorway, holding the panic button to the alarm,” she says with a self-deprecating laugh.

Despite her ‘cowardice’, Jax was charmed by Fortune, and the two married in 2020, following a proposal that Fortune felt was disastrous. 

Knowing she was going to propose, friends encouraged Fortune to go all out, booking a hotel suite overlooking the ocean and a fancy restaurant, with champagne, roses, and chocolates waiting in their room when they returned. 

“It was foggy the whole time,” she tells us, amusingly calling the fog ‘hateful’ and explaining that she paid a huge premium for an ocean-view room, which ended up being, “money just down the toilet.”

The restaurant fared little better.  

“It was really weird, like foam and tentacles and all this odd food. So that wasn’t a very enjoyable meal, and we had a very lovely but very eager waiter who was like giving me thumbs up behind Jax’s back. So she could tell something was up and got ‘in her head’ about it.”

Surely the romantic makeover of the room would save the day?

“It was just all wrong,” she deadpans. “There were dead rose petals everywhere – like a leaf blower had come through! The chocolate-covered strawberries were in front of the fireplace and melted.”

“Without the chocolate, it’s just fruit,” she quips in her Netflix special, but at the time, it’s clear that Fortune was upset that the ‘perfect’ proposal hadn’t worked out. 

“I honestly didn’t talk about it for a couple of years. I thought I had failed.” It was a while later, when hiking, that Jax suggested it would make a funny story for Fortune’s standup comedy, which is finally coming to our shores.

Her Auckland Town Hall show on Friday 14 July will not be Fortune’s first time in Aotearoa. She and Jax took a trip to Queenstown when she last toured Australia.

“We had a beautiful time, and people were like, ‘Why don’t you do a show while you’re here?’ I didn’t know if anyone in New Zealand knew who I was, so I wanted to get the timing right. I still don’t know if people know me, but whoever comes [to the show], they can expect a really fun, positive, upbeat night!”

The show will be all new material, following on from Fortune’s popular Netflix specials, Good Fortune and Sweet & Salty.

“I’m picking up where Good Fortune left off. I start with a story about my honeymoon and how that went awry….The shows are a little bit more interactive, so I’m asking the audience questions.”

A hilarious viral clip from the tour shows Fortune asking the audience if she and Jax should have kids. A loud and resounding ‘no’ booms back at her, and a surprised Fortune presumes the audience members must not have kids themselves, only to find that almost all of her anti-children audience are, in fact, parents.

“I love telling those stories about my family, about coming out, sharing my journey, talking about my relationship. That’s kind of where my standup has landed. Telling these real stories that hopefully people can relate to.”

Fortune got her first big break in 2010 when she was selected for Last Comic Standing and appeared in four episodes of the reality stand-up competition. 

“I had moved to LA eight years prior and was getting told ‘no’ a lot. I had actually tested twice for Saturday Night Live (SNL) – they had flown me out to audition, filmed me on the SNL stage and everything. I was so close, but it just didn’t happen. I could never get a TV gig, and you need one to build on to the next.”

Last Comic Standing gave Fortune the credit she needed, and eight months later she became a panellist and writer for Chelsea Handler’s Chelsea Lately, a position she held for four years, which opened doors to comedy roles in movies like Office Christmas Party and Soul and television shows like Glee and The Mindy Project.

When asked about her comedy idols, aside from the incomparable Carol Burnett, the rest of Fortune’s list are SNL alumni: Adam Sandler, Chris Farley, Will Ferrell, Molly Shannon, and Sheri Oteri.

‘Would you still consider joining SNL in the future?’ I ask, noting Fortune’s unrealised dream. Her answer brings me straight back to reality.

“It’s such a young person’s thing. Their hours are ridiculous. And, at this point, I would be taking quite the pay cut,” she says, delivering this reality check with her signature gentle, humble, Southern charm.

Fortune Feimster’s Live, Laugh, Love tour plays Auckland Town Hall on Friday 14 July. Tickets from Ticketmaster.