Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Carolinians Fortune Feimster and Stephen Colbert talk BBQ, debutantes, and Hooters

Fortune Feimster, Stephen Colbert
Fortune Feimster, Stephen Colbert
Photo: The Late Show

With Fortune Feimster’s new standup special, Sweet & Salty, streaming now on Netflix, the North Carolina native spent Friday swapping Southern stories with Late Show host and proud South Carolinian Stephen Colbert. Noting that, as ancestral enemies determined by a random line on the map, they were supposed to fight about the proper way to slather chunks of meat with pungent goop, Colbert fired the first shot, noting that his Southern, mustard-based barbecue sauces are far superior to that “vinegar-based war crime” favored by much of the North. Feimster responded that she was from the part of North Carolina that swears by hickory smoked sauce (hey, like the name of her special—just got that), and the two seemed to turn the interstate sniping down to a simmer, especially once Feimster started sharing her stories of growing up in what sure sounds like the, let’s call it, “free-spirited” North Carolina of her youth.

Feimster, while conceding that Colbert seems to have come from “the smarter part” of their region, explained how her family’s favorite restaurant when she was growing up was, in fact, the chain-dining home of chicken wings and sexual objectification, Hooters. “My parents ended up divorced,” deadpanned the former Mindy Project star, although, from her followup anecdote about her mom pretending propriety in front of her new, conservative “man-friend” showed, Hooters didn’t seem to enter into the decision. Contemplating restaurants one day, Feimster told Colbert that the teenage her responded with customary bluntness to her mom’s lie about never having frequented that particular establishment (where the then-closeted Feimster says an unwanted “boob parade” of singing waitresses provided the young Fortune with very conflicted emotions), by blurting that it was mom who hired her kids’ babysitter from amongst the chain’s T-shirted wait staff. (The pre-divorce Mom also hired two others to hula hoop at her son’s graduation party.)

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Reminiscing about their time in the Carolina debutante coal mines, Colbert and Feimster shared tales of paper invitations, etiquette classes (sandwiched between Feimster’s duties working maintenance at the local rec center), and how Feimster had to learn the stereotypically proper way to wear a white wedding dress (while being squired by your brother), say, “I do declare,” and the like. If anyone proves there’s room for the sweet and salty aspects of her Southern-infused upbringing, it’s Fortune.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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