The comedian shared the story during an appearance on Conan this week

By Helen Murphy
December 21, 2019 02:45 PM
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Whitney Cummings claims she was reported to a television show’s human resources department after wishing the staff a “Merry Christmas.”

During a recent episode of Conan, the 37-year-old comedian shared the story with host Conan O’Brien while explaining that part of what stresses her out during the holiday season is the “terminology around all of it.”

“Last year, I was working on a TV show [and I] got in trouble with human resources for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to an intern,” Cummings claimed.

“I was leaving, like on the 18th … and I was like, ‘Bye, guys. Merry Christmas.’ Like just a formality, what you would say,” she continued. “I come back, like, June 6. HR calls me and they’re like, ‘Hey, we need to talk to you. One of the interns is pissed off that you said Merry Christmas.’ ”

“By the way, I was like, ‘I don’t even care how your Christmas was,’ ” Cummings added. “It was just a formality. Like, that’s what you say when you leave.”

Whitney Cummings
| Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

O’Brien, 56, responded: “In these times we’re in, that could trigger someone or offend them if it’s not their holiday.”

“That’s what I said, I was like, ‘Well, what should I have said? Do they celebrate something else?’ ” Cummings replied. “And they were like, ‘Well, no, they’re agnostic.’ And I was like, ‘No, no, no, no, no. You do not get to do that.’ ”

Cummings then argued that, in order for her to know a person’s religious beliefs, they would have to have a more intimate relationship than a professional relationship.

“Had I known that this person was agnostic, that would mean we were in a relationship, like, that would mean we were intimately connected,” she said. “I should not know who believes in God and who doesn’t. I also can’t guess either, you know? I can’t, like, guess your holiday based on what you look like. That’s offensive ― that’s very offensive.”

Whitney Cummings
| Credit: Mediapunch/Shutterstock

Responding to a news report about her story on Friday, Cummings jokingly tweeted: “I’ve been told the safest thing to say is ‘have a good holiday’ then to set yourself on fire.”

During her appearance on Conan, Cummings did not name the television show on which the alleged incident occurred, but in 2018 the comedian was working as an executive producer on ABC’s Roseanne reboot. That year, Cummings also had brief appearances in the television shows Crashing and Adam Ruins Everything.