Guest of Honor

The Many Sides of ‘Amy Schumer’

Actress and comedian Amy Schumer writes, produces and stars in the Comedy Central series "Inside Amy Schumer."

“Inside Amy Schumer” is a blend of sketches, vox pop interviews, and conversations with sex professionals. Amy also recently released a stand-up special with a title that some would say sums up her humor, though Amy begs to differ. That title: “Mostly Sex Stuff.” She chats with Brendan about finding God in Paul Giamatti, the outrageous feedback she gets, and the freaks who run public radio.


Brendan Francis Newnam: In one of the new episodes of your show, I caught you referencing A Prairie Home Companion. Despite your raunchy comedy, are you secretly a tea-sipping public radio groupie?

Amy Schumer: Is that how I got to do this interview? Because you thought I was this closet possible intellectual?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Possibly.

Amy Schumer: Um… Yeah. I would say absolutely. The stuff that slips out of me is either infantile – just a deep-seated “Muppets” reference – or maybe kind of a New York fancy-pants thing. Those are all parts of me. There is a part of me that’s kind of ‘sorority girl-ish,’ drunk, promiscuous… But there is also a part of me that loves just having some chamomile tea and reading. It’s all in there.

Brendan Francis Newnam: When you started your stand-up, did you maybe have a wider palette of subjects you covered and then you kind of… got more blue as you moved along?

Amy Schumer: Well, it’s so funny, because I truly don’t think of myself as ‘blue.’ Even you saying ‘raunchy’ and these words, I don’t associate them with my brand of humor. I know that that is crazy.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Here’s how crazy that is. I would share examples from your show, but I can’t even say them on the radio.

Amy Schumer: I know.  I’ve learned that this year with the premiere coming out and last year, because when Letterman needed a clip, and they’re like “What clip can we use?” we could not find forty seconds to show. But it really, I feel like I’m just being truthful and honest.

Brendan Francis Newnam: You know, we actually did find a clip that I think we can use.

Amy Schumer: Oh, congratulations!  Is it just me humming in the shower?

Brendan Francis Newnam: It’s from a sketch from episode one, where you play a totally oblivious and kind of callous woman named “Amy Schumer” who gets an STD and desperately asks for God’s help. And then God, played by the great actor Paul Giamatti, realizes he has bitten off more than he can chew with this woman.

Brendan Francis Newnam:  So why label this very unflattering character ‘Amy Schumer’?

Amy Schumer: That’s so funny. See, I think there’s a lot of myself in this character. I don’t have herpes. I’m living STD free believe it or not. For now. But, hey, the show’s premiering…

Brendan Francis Newnam: You’re on tour right now…

Amy Schumer: Yes…so we’ll see what happens.

You know, there’s a lot of, I think, truth in that character. It is kind of a combination of the worst things I could possibly think of and highlighting people’s behavior and shallowness.

What I’ve learned from travelling, because I’m on tour all the time and talking to people all the time who have seen the show, is that everyone experiences every moment of the show differently. The thing that stood out to you as the most uncomfortable would be nothing to someone else.

Like, in season one, we did a parody of the show “I Survived.” It was Michael Showalter, and his character’s arms were eaten off by owls. And the other one ended up having to eat his own brother because he was trapped in a boat. And then my character’s “I Survived” was that I had to watch the movie “Zookeeper” on a plane. Like that was the worst thing. So I was hiking and this Hasidic guy around my age came up to me and was like, “So I think your show is really funny, but like how could you do that?” And I said “What?” thinking like, any array things. And he said “I loved the whole episode, but I just thought it was so mean that you had that guy’s arms eaten off by owls! Don’t you feel bad about that?” I really realized in that moment, the things that really make people cringe…

Brendan Francis Newnam: People have different triggers. But of course, as a professional, you know that sex and dismemberment and other shocking things provoke a reaction. So that’s kind of why you talk about them. I mean, comedians have done that from time immemorial. Jesters would do that, you know, talk about ‘uncomfortable’ things.

Amy Schumer: Yeah, they just kinda, like, jump around and try to not get murdered. Which does have a lot in common with stand-up.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Well, we have a couple of standard questions we ask the guests on our show. The first is: what question are you tired of being asked in interviews?

Amy Schumer: If it’s harder for women in comedy. I’m tired of being asked that. It’s some old stigma that I think is probably perpetuated just from journalists engaging it.

Brendan Francis Newnam: So maybe we’re not doing any favors by continuing to talk about it.

Amy Schumer: Well, I brought it up.

Brendan Francis Newnam: We’ll do three backwards and then we won’t talk about it. Three, two, one…

Alright, so our next question is: tell us something we don’t know? This can either be a personal fact about you or it can be an interesting fact about….

You’re standing up. Don’t run away.

Amy Schumer: Yeah, no, I’m just, like, changing positions. Have you ever seen a girl do that? Sorry, I’m so sorry.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Good thing you don’t work blue. People would get the wrong idea.

Amy Schumer: Something that no one knows… I have a pretty bad scar on my leg from a surfing accident.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Were you surfing?

Amy Schumer: Yes. That would be really unfortunate, a guy just mowed my legs over? Yeah, no one knows that.

Brendan Francis Newnam: You grew up in Long Island? So you were surfing…?

Amy Schumer: I was surfing on Long Beach, Long Island. It’s a really, like, embarrassing story because it wasn’t, like, “Oh, I was in Hawaii, fifteen footers…” It was, like, three feet waves.

I wanna ask you a question.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Alright. Do it.

Amy Schumer: When I just asked you if I could ask a question, what were you afraid I was going to ask?

Brendan Francis Newnam: What did I think you were going to ask me? I don’t know. I figured it was going to be… sexual. Yeah. Sexual in nature.

Amy Schumer: Have we talked about sex since I’ve been in here?

Brendan Francis Newnam: Um. We talked a little bit at the top…

Amy Schumer: Right, right. I do talk about it. Because I don’t remember anybody talking about it when I was younger. I do feel like a sexual girl, but I would say I have just as mundane a sex life as anybody you know. I don’t think it’s any more adventurous.

Brendan Francis Newnam: Hmm. Well. You don’t know who I know.

Amy Schumer: I don’t know who you know. Actually, in this building?   I bet there are freaks walking around.