Amy Schumer on self-confidence, bathroom attendants and angry Jackass fans
The world needs more of what Amy Schumer has to offer: fresh, bold comedy that casually confronts sexuality and race in a way that makes you laugh now -- and think about it later. Whether she's discussing HPV, traveling to the Jewish homeland (Miami), or finally sleeping with her high school crush (but now he expects her to go to his graduation!), Schumer always delivers hilariously unexpected jokes. Her resume is impressive -- she placed fourth on season five of NBC's Last Comic Standing, appeared on Curb Your Enthusiasm and 30 Rock, and will be in the upcoming Steve Carell film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
We caught up with the comedian about self-confidence, angry Jackass fans, and how guys don't care if your arm jiggles a little bit.
Westword: What's your favorite joke to tell right now?
Amy Schumer: I have a joke, like a part of my set where I talk about a bathroom attendant and how it's just always annoying that there's a bathroom attendant. It's just so awkward, you know? So I think acting out my interaction with her is my favorite right now. There's a part of that joke where I say "I was in the bathroom, and don't worry, I'm not gonna say anything gross," and then I proceed to be like, "So I'm in there and I'm just dropping a ton of heat" and then I just say the grossest...it's like the funnest thing for me to say.
What's your process of writing comedy? Is it mostly stuff that's happened to you or is it an exaggerated version of yourself?
I don't know what the percentage is, but it's either the opposite of the truth or the truth. So I'll say something really ridiculous, kind of playing a role like an ugly American, just the most racist idiot, but then I'll also talk about totally true stories that happened to me, you know, in and out of the bedroom.
Why do you like to talk about the bedroom so much?
I don't know, that's a good question. I think it's always interested me. It's always what I want to talk about. I like talking about sex and love and that stuff in my everyday life and so I think it makes sense. If I'm having a conversation with someone, I don't wanna talk about, like, "Oh, what do you think about the new movie?" I wanna hear their secrets. So I just share mine first.
Just every interview any female comic ever does, they always are like, "What's it like?" So that was sort of a comment on that question. Because I don't think it's harder. It's different being a woman day to day. So that video is kind of like, yeah, this is how it's different, this is what we do all day. That's sort of what that was about.
You got a lot of backlash for that Ryan Dunn joke you told on the Charlie Sheen roast.
I did? No, I'm just kidding [laughs].
Out of all of the off-color jokes that were told that night, why do you think people focused on you and that specific joke?
I don't really know, I can only guess that it was. I think that people were just surprised to hear his name because he had died only a couple months before. I had no intention of that joke being a big deal at all. I was really surprised. But Comedy Central chose to cut to Steve-O looking really sad and that elicited a reaction. I think lot of people watched the roast that had never seen them before. They were just Jackass fans watching to support Steve-O. There was no one that I know that was offended that I would care about. You know what I mean? The people that reacted that way are not people that I was that concerned with, and I knew what my intentions were, so I was just like, it was a joke and I don't feel bad. I think they were surprised to hear his name, and Steve-O looked sad, and I'm a girl and people like to burn women at the stake. People love being mad at a woman. They like vilifying chicks. Why else would they have done that? I think they didn't understand the joke. The joke was saying that I would have rather Ryan still been alive and Steve-O be dead, which is the joke. That's not true. I don't want anybody to be dead.
It seems like people don't want women to be mean.
Yeah, yeah. People don't know what they want from women, but they like being angry at them. [Laughs]. I didn't have even a moment of self reflection, like "maybe they're right!" It was honestly just annoying.