Those two opposite feelings—the desire to escape aesthetic judgment and the love of lewks—pull at Fineman. “I’m always still figuring it out,” she says. “You can go so extreme where you’re like, ‘I can never be hot, I can never look good, I have to be funny. ’ But at the same time, RuPaul doesn’t have to worry about that. Ermanno Scervino dress.
Fineman comes from a family of funny people—a dad who loves improv and appears on Fineman’s timeline, joking about sex, and an artist mom who told her to try improv to meet a nice Jewish boy, and an artist sister. “I grew up with a lot of really, really funny girls,” she says. “We were encouraged to be funny.
Another differentiator: Her willingness to embrace the fact that she is, in fact, a woman. “I’m very much a girl in comedy,” Fineman says. “I love glamour and makeup and fashion.
Her bat mitzvah theme was “hot pink. Jonathan Cohen jacket. Ermanno Scervino pants. Foundrae necklace. Roger Vivier shoes. “It’s hard in comedy,” she says. “Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be pretty! I want to be funny. ’ It’s such a trope, and I think women in comedy kind of struggle with it.
A no-go for many retailers, Target included. ) She hypothesizes that she trades tips with her hair and makeup team at SNL more than any of her predecessors. (She uses the Kevin Aucoin eyelash curler and a Chanel mascara; I asked because I had to know. ) She does an impression of Meryl Streep having an orgasm (and saying, “Oh! It’s delicious”).
And eventually she saw a path to be funny too. “This is the story of my life,” Fineman remembers thinking, when she watched Legally Blonde for the first time. “This is everything I’ve ever wanted.
But Fineman behaves in a way most male comedians don’t—while SNL is live, in between takes, she casually eats Twizzlers backstage. (“I’m a toddler in tiara, and I need sugar. ”) She brought multiple wigs to her SNL audition.
At the same time, humor offered Fineman an escape from the “hot-girl box,” as she's called it. “The reason I got into comedy was because I felt like it was free. Freedom.
Fineman, 31, and the new breakout star of Saturday Night Live, now has a team of professionals to outfit her in $5,000 wigs on the regular.
Also, Fineman suggests, it’s a little absurd. “If you look at it,” she says. “I literally have ‘meme’ on my arm. I fully have meme.
In faint black script, it says “quand même,” a French expression which Fineman translates to mean, essentially, “Nevertheless, keep going.
But her job, Fineman points out, is literally “playing dress-up. ” (This is something a lot of actors say, but it’s a lot more authentic coming from someone who owns a $150 wig they bought to play an Icelandic woman named Queef at Burning Man.