When Kim Kardashian announced her divorce from Kris Humphries, many people were outraged (How could she do this? The whole thing was a sham from the beginning! And they think gays would cheapen the institution of marriage?). But comedian Heather McDonald, a regular at the "Chelsea Lately" roundtable, had a different reaction. When she learned of the news she felt for Kardashian.

“I gained more respect for her because I knew she would get a lot of crap for it,” she says.

You see, McDonald attended the tabloid-prone wedding back in August and is a friend of the reality-TV family, so she gets what they’re going through but doesn’t get why people are in such an uproar about it. Sure, people can be jealous about their success, but why get so pissy about a break-up?

“What, was she supposed to stay with a guy who’s going to strip clubs and being a dick to her?” In McDonald’s eyes, Kardashian was justified.

The wedding itself was a topic brought up during the first shoot for E!’s “After Lately,” the spin-off of Chelsea, in which the crew from the late-night show is seen participating in some behind-the-scenes shenanigans, some usually surrounding a “special guest star” (last season Reese Witherspoon popped in for some improvised fun). It’s almost like a semi-unscripted “30 Rock” … in Los Angeles … with a cable-TV budget.

For McDonald, it creates a different kind of working dynamic with the same people she sees on a daily basis. While she and her fellow writers come up with material for the late-night chatfest, other writers are coming up with material for “After Lately.” On one show she’s a writer and pop-culture pundit. On the other, she’s an actress playing a warped version of … herself.

McDonald is also considered one of the few successful “mom comics” out there who seem to effortlessly balance her Hollywood life with her home life. Her kids (“They know I’m a comedian and that there are some perks to our life”) enjoy seeing their mom on TV every once in while, but they’re usually too busy with, you know, school. And then there’s her husband, “a finance guy,” whom she loves for his amazing amount of confidence, minus any oversized ego. “I couldn’t have this career without him being so supportive.” And then there’s that thing she’d like to point out.

“We’re not rich,” she clarifies. “People think, since you’re on TV you’re rich, but we’re not. Come on, I’m on E! so it’s not like I’m the typical Hollywood mom who goes to the pumpkin patch where the paparazzi are … we live a very normal life.”

That “normal” usually consists of attending school carnivals, having friends and family over for a little Halloween trick-or-treating (“I was Little Red Riding Hood, and it was just slutty enough to be mom-appropriate”), and curling up on the couch with some “Modern Family” or Real “Housewives”: “I feel like ‘Beverly Hills’ is ‘New York’ and ‘OC’ meshed together, and it’s the best.” Of course there may a red carpet event or two thrown into the mix every once in a while, but so goes the business of show.

When I ask if she had any comics she looked up to, she mentions the stand-up specials she’d watch on A&E while growing up in the ’80s (remember, this was before there was ever a Comedy Central). All the female comedians she saw weren’t attractive women. They were either single, hated their husbands, or closeted lesbians. She didn’t see a comic she could relate to as a female.

“I loved Roseanne and her sitcom, but who would ever want to marry a female stand-up?” She thought she would be unattractive to guys if she advertised herself as a comic. “I wanted to be perceived as cute and likable.”

But it was after college when she learned to pursue what really mattered to her. And now, look where it got her: a comfy writing gig, a New York Times bestselling book and a hot cable TV show. Not. Too. Shabby.

“After Lately” premieres Nov. 27 at 11 p.m. on E!. Heather McDonald performs in “The Comedians of Chelsea Lately” Dec. 16 at Club Nokia.

For more of pop cultural ramblings, visit thefirstecho.com and hotterinhollywood.com.