After wrapping the first season of her Comedy Central sketch show Inside Amy Schumer, this comedienne is back on the road, touring her new hour in theaters before her show premieres in late April. This medium flip-flopping is normal for Schumer, whose recent notable performances include a stint on Last Comic Standing, a recurring guest spot on Delocated and a 2012 Comedy Central special.
Of course, with exposure comes criticism. A brief public dust-up followed her appearance on the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen regarding her joke about fellow roaster Steve-O shortly after the death of fellow Jackass Ryan Dunn. Death threats followed, of which Schumer commented, "We love to burn women at the stake; it's like the Salem Witch Trials. [But] it didn't feel personal -- it's bigger than me and any one woman. People have aggression toward women."
Schumer was in Vegas doing a show when we connected, having just thought up a brand new premise on the plane there. Tonight, she's here.
NUVO: Are you done taping Inside Amy Schumer?
Amy Schumer: Yes, we just finished two days ago! It was a crazy night in New York and we were all like, "Well, all right! I guess that's it. It's been cool working with you guys
NUVO: How many episodes did you put down?
Schumer: Ten episodes! I'm really excited. I really love the show. I just feel an urgency to get it perfect in editing and get it out there for people to see.
NUVO: I just listened to a podcast you guested on with Doug Benson and Tig Notaro and Sarah Silverman -
Schumer: Yeah, that was really fun that night!
NUVO: I enjoyed it! On that show, you discussed the differences in what you thought caring for someone with cancer would be like versus the reality of caring for someone. (Fellow Inside Amy Schumer writer Tig Notaro was diagnosed with breast cancer shortly before moving to NYC to write for Schumer's show) Then I remembered that play (Keeping Abreast) you were in when you played someone with breast cancer. Do you feel like that informed what you thought it would be like, caring for Tig?
Schumer: My dad has (multiple sclerosis). So, I know what it's like to take care of someone and to see somebody ill. I felt like, Tig and I are great friends. When she told me she had cancer, she was already supposed to move and write for my show. Everything was up in the air for her but I had a very clear vision - we're going to live together, still do the show, and everything will be fine. I got a message from her and walked around thinking for a while, and Kyle (Dunnigan, another writer and Tig's co-host on Professor Blastoff) and I made a plan. I found the apartment, we'll move in together. I thought, who better than two comedians and two of your best friends to keep things light and be honest with you - which is very important.
I mean, I've seen my dad shit himself multiple times, and the only thing you can do is laugh. And say, "This is the worst," and then make jokes about it. We were both mentally prepared. When we were looking for apartments, we found a four-story walkup and thought, "Oh god, Tig won't be able to do that." And I got this message from Kyle that said, "You know, I think if she goes up and down just twice a day, I think I can carry her upstairs." We thought Tig was going to be this useless, sickly - I remember saying on the podcast that I was going to make it "fun" and bedazzle her headscarfs. And she was healthier than Kyle and myself! It was such a fun time; we just lived together and nothing was wrong. We just hung out.
You've seen The Royal Tenenbaums, right? There's this one scene where Margot finds out her siblings move home, and she's talking to her mom and saying, "Well, how come they get to do that?" I can't believe we got to live together. We were such assholes there. We had bunk beds!
NUVO: I remember that from the podcast!
Schumer: They moved back to LA and I'm on tour. But somebody bought those bunk beds - I think a big fan of Tig's or something. When we were ordering them, I think for some credit card information, Tig was telling them, "We're a combined age of 85." (Laughs)
NUVO: When you were younger, you were on Last Comic Standing; I bring this up because I just spoke with Kathleen Madigan, who talked about the show like it was the worst thing she's ever done in her life.
Schumer: Was it?! She was a judge when I did it. She was so nice to me. I am so lucky I got the season I did. I stayed in a nice hotel for the month - some seasons they like, lived on a boat. We didn't have any of that. It was very easy.
NUVO: That sounds a lot better than the way that she told it, let me tell you. I was also reading about that strange incident with Ryan Dunn and the Roast of Charlie Sheen. You said, after that blowup, "Every female comic gets death threats Tina Fey, Janeane Garofalo, they all get death threats." All I could think of while reading was, holy shit - why is the world like this?
Schumer: We love to burn women at the stake, we really do. It's like, I don't even know that I'm above it. When I saw a picture of Casey Anthony, before the trial, I thought, "She did it!" It's like the Salem Witch Trials. We like to be angry at women. There's such aggression towards women, and it's not just [from] men, it's also from women.
That reaction surprised me because that joke, honestly, I did not think was a big deal at all. But then, once it was trending on Twitter for 24 hours, I thought, oh, well, that's what this is. I'm not even a part of it. It didn't feel personal. It's bigger than me and any one woman. People just have aggression towards women. You know if a guy had said that, the exact same joke, it wouldn't be an issue.
I didn't feel angry about it, thinking it wasn't fair; I just noticed it. This is how it is. I would be so exhausted if I spent time being mad at the double standards. When people say "women aren't funny" I don't even feel it. Because I can't. Because I hear it all the time. So I can't acknowledge any of that behavior or I'd have to acknowledge it all.
NUVO: That makes sense. I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, and I often hear standups say, "I'm obsessed with standup. It's all I do, it's all I like to do." You have this really nice balance between acting and standup - could you chose one or the other, if you had to?
Schumer: I love having both. I'm not trying to get out of standup. I mean, being on the road is really hard. It's not easy for me; it's easier now because i get to stay in nicer places, but that's a new thing. I've been on the road for eight years and it's taxing. But I love standup. On the plane on the way here, I thought of a premise for a new joke and I thought, "I cannot wait to try this and work this out."
But I've been acting since I was a little girl. I did plays as young as five years old, and I just love that. I love that I get to do both. If i was only doing standup, I know I would start to hate it. And if I was only acting, I know I'd be craving standup. I feel like it's such a cool time to get to do these two things that I feel like are just so natural to me.
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