Posted February 13, 2014 by Jeff in Laughs

Amy Schumer: The bangs were the worst part

Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer

Since making her standup debut ten years ago, comedian Amy Schumer has been on the fast-track to fame. Now, she has her own comedy series and is currently working on the script for Train Wreck, a new Judd Apatow film due out next year. Schumer, who lives in New York, was in Los Angeles working on Train Wreck when we spoke to her. Her extensive standup tour launches today.

Your tour coincides with Valentine’s Day. Do you have any jokes related to the holiday?
I do have jokes related to Valentine’s Day and I can’t wait to tell them.

You won’t tell me what they’re about?
I wish I could. There are a lot of couples at the shows. I’m not a downer on Valentine’s Day person. I love love, but I’m sure I’ll remind them of their imminent death.

I read that you were voted class clown in school. Is that true?
You know it. I was voted “class clown.” I was a really funny kid and everybody really liked me. I’m just kidding. I had behavioral problems and was barely functioning. I also got “teacher’s worst nightmare.” I was really proud of that.

So you had a difficult upbringing?
I did. I was abused a lot. Kidding. I had a good upbringing, just the normal horrible childhood insecurities and looking all fucked up. My parents made me overly confident. That was my problem. I didn’t realize until later years that they had been lying to me.

Where you an only child?
No. I have a younger sister who was a school psychologist but now works with me. My older brother is a jazz musician who lives in Chicago and just had a baby.

What was your first standup performance like?
It was horrible, but I did pretty well. Everybody does really well their first time and then gets a rude awakening the second time. It was atrocious. I have a tape of it.

I think the worst part was that I had bangs.

Did you tell any pussy jokes back then?
No. I was 22. You evolve as a woman over time. I wasn’t comfortable saying the word pussy until well until my late-‘20s. Now, I’m most comfortable with that word.

You’re probably only uncomfortable now when you don’t say it.
Yes. It’s really hard.

Are the guys you date worried that they’ll end up in one of your bits?
You know what, they aren’t and that’s really stupid of them. They’re never really concerned and they should be.

But that seems like one of your bits — that guys tend to be stupid.
That’s not true. I don’t think men are any more stupid than women. I think we’re all pretty dumb, myself included.

I am absolutely a feminist but I don’t prefer men over women, except sexually.

You said you don’t like observational humor. Explain that a bit.
I know that’s on my Wikipedia page. That’s not true. A lot of what I do is observational. I don’t know why I said that. I was trying to draw differences between myself and Seinfeld. I do speak of personal experiences rather than generalities. It’s like, “This is what happened with me and a guy,” rather than “this is what happens with me and women.” I like observational humor.

Are your jokes based on things that really happened?
Sometimes they’re based on things that exactly happened and sometimes they’re embellished or completely made up. I would say eight times out of ten, they’re true.

Is there anything that offends you? Do you ever write a joke and think it’s too offensive?
I would never a write a joke to be offensive. I’m sure there was a time that I did that. Doing a roast, you are supposed to do that. I don’t intentionally offend anyone now. I would be offended by anybody who is not funny. I’m more offended by the bad joke than the subject matter.

The Charlie Sheen roast must have been fun. What was that experience like?
That was real crazy to be on a stage knowing that millions and millions of people are going to watch. And being on the stage with celebrities and not being a celebrity created a strange dynamic, but it was a really exciting night.

Did you adlib some of the material?
A bunch of it was off the cuff. I found out two weeks before that I was going to do it. I worked really hard. I ran the jokes at comedy clubs to see what was working and what was not. I wanted to see how the audience would react.

Did you know Charlie?
I met him the night before. Now, we’re friends. He’s a really good dude.

Talk about Hoppus on Music. How’d you end up co-hosting that show?
I auditioned. They were looking for a co-host. They wanted a girl and they wanted her to be funny and someone who was physically flawless. I’m kidding about that last part. Mark and I had a good rapport. They booked 30 episodes. It was a good experience and I learned so much about making a TV show. I’m really grateful I had that opportunity. I learned the hard part about the business. It was funny and I asked when would we start the marketing. Turned out there was no marketing plan. I guess they thought people would watch it through sheer coincidence. You learn that even if you do everything to make great content, somebody can drop the ball.

What was the last rock concert you attended?
I saw Ani DiFranco in Brooklyn a month or so ago. I see a lot of music actually. I went to the Black Keys, both nights at the Garden. Those guys are really nice.

You were on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Do you have any good Larry David stories?
He was exactly like he is on the show. We got along really well. Comedians generally get along well. We all know that we’re frauds. He would do bits on set. He would be chewing his gum really loud and ask questions like, “Can you talk to me when I’m chewing like this?” I would be like, “No. That’s really awful.” The audition was the best part. You audition with Larry and the producers and you improvise the scene. Making him laugh during that audition was one of the best moments ever.

You have a film in pre-production. What can you tell me about it?
It’s called Train Wreck. We’re re-writing it right now. We’re going to film it this summer in New York. I wrote it and Judd’s been helping me shape it. We’re auditioning people right now but the cast is coming together. It’s going to be a really cool movie.

Was it difficult writing for a feature length movie?
Yeah. I’m used to writing three page scenes for my TV shows. I had this giant blank slate. Judd is great at making things smaller and more attainable. He walked me through it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it.

Upcoming 2104 Tour Dates

Feb 13

Feb 14

Feb 15

Feb 16

Feb 18

Feb 19

Feb 20

Feb 21

Feb 22

March 6

March 7

March 8

March 9

March 11

March 12

March 13

March 14

March 15

March 25

March 26

March 27

March 28

March 29

March 30

April 1

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 5

Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater Milwaukee

Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater

Cleveland, OH – State Theatre

Columbus, OH – Ohio Theatre

Miami, FL – Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

Tampa, FL – David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts

Orlando, FL – University of Central Florida – Orlando

Atlanta, GA – Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre

Towson, MD – Towson University

Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre

Washington, DC – Dar Constitution Hall

Raleigh, NC – Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

Pittsburgh, PA – Carnegie Music Hall of Oakland

Buffalo, NY – University at Buffalo Center for the Arts

Albany, NY – Palace Theatre

Greenvale, NY – Tilles Center for the Performing Arts

New Brunswick, NJ – State Theatre

Phoenix, AZ – The Celebrity Theatre

Denver, CO – Paramount Theatre

Minneapolis, MN – Orpheum Theater

Chicago, IL – Auditorium Theatre

Memphis, TN – Cannon Center For The Perf. Arts

Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

Austin, TX – Bass Concert Hall

Houston, TX – Arena Theatre

Grand Prairie, TX – Verizon Theatre At Grand Prairie

Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland

St. Louis, MO – Peabody Opera House


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at [email protected].