Amy Schumer
Photo by Emily Schur

Amy Schumer: “That’s all I can ask for”

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Short Profile

Name: Amy Beth Schumer
DOB: 1 June 1981
Place of birth: New York City, New York, United States
Occupation: Comedian, actor

Ms. Schumer, is laughter is always good weapon?

For me, it is, yeah. If you just laugh no matter what is going on, you feel like everything is going to be okay.

Has being a comedian helped you in that respect?

Nothing about being performer has helped me. I mean, okay — Internet trolling does not get me down at all anymore, which is cool. When I started out and I was first on TV 10 years ago, it’s scary. And now it’s like, “Oh, please.” But that stuff can be traumatizing. I feel lucky that I became known when I was older, really in my thirties because if you are a kid when that happens, how can that not damage you? So, that’s a lesson, for sure but mostly it’s really been about living my life.

What do you mean?

What you learn as you get older and being with your friends and learning more about yourself, not trying to fit in in some other mold or all the marketing that tells us how we are supposed to feel about ourselves and how we are supposed to look, realizing what actually makes you feel good. It’s really been living my own life, and it’s been pretty separate from me as a performer.

“I want to meet people who have been through a lot and have learned from it, and I want to learn from them.”

So what does help you?

Lexapro? (Laughs) For me, it’s listening to myself: I just need to lay down today, I’ll be in bed, read and watch movies or whatever and start over tomorrow. But honestly, just being physically healthy, eating really well, not drinking, just taking a break and cleaning yourself out. That’s just for me to reset, it’s what I would do. I think that how you feel is really what is the most important. Putting so much pressure on yourself, like, “Okay, I want to look my best and take these steps to try and look great…”

You set yourself for disappointment.

Right, but when you are just healthy and happy and with people that you love, being comfortable... Like, a week ago I had my period, I felt so just bloated. I had been in Italy, just eating pasta and drinking wine and I was jetlagged. I physically did not feel good. And in those moments you go, “I’ll never feel good again!” But then I laid down for a day, and started over, I took steps to feel better. For me it’s a lot about physicality, about how I feel. You know, when you have these hardships or even when you see someone you love in pain or you struggle and you get through it, all the petty shit goes away. You are like, “I can’t believe I was worried about this other thing,” when you see what really matters.

Alicia Keys said that people who are vulnerable and in tune with their emotions are actually the strongest people that she knows.

Exactly! That’s what makes someone interesting. How boring is someone who has not dealt with any struggles? I want to meet people who have been through a lot and have learned from it, and I want to learn from them.

Who have you learned a lot from recently?

Someone like Gloria Steinem, who has been working so hard with the feminist movement for so long: she is just overflowing with wisdom and her struggles at the times when she has been blacklisted or shunned, now she is looking what we are going through right now and is really proud of us but also with so much more knowledge. I think it’s really powerful and exciting that it seems there is some real change happening, and that’s so great. But I would say it’s also been a really triggering time.

In what ways?

I think every woman I know feels really vulnerable. It’s these things that we for our whole lives went, “Oh that’s how it is.” And that’s why I think it’s a generational thing. I think the women who are a generation above me are like, “What’s the problem? It’s how it’s always been. We dealt with it and didn’t feel good about it.” So it’s exciting that this next generation is standing up and saying this is not okay and we want to make a change.

It seems unbelievable that women still have to fight for equality in 2018.

It seems crazy, right? It’s so sad and scary… But it seems like we are taking big steps. And I think in my lifetime we have to keep fighting the whole time, but I do think that it will be less and a better place than where we started. And lot of it is due to this moment right now. I know it’s scary and upsetting for a lot of people, but it seems worth it, so the work I am interested in doing or writing has to make people feel less alone.

“My decisions are based on my instincts but also on the instincts of the people that I trust, that I keep close.”

Is that why you are so open with sharing your own personal stories and experiences?

Exactly. Things like sexual assault are always so black and white, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t share your story. I wanted to share these experiences because I don’t think that they are okay and I don’t think they should be the norm so it’s saying, “This is what happened to me.” I don’t have any problem sharing my thoughts and experiences with the hopes that it makes people laugh and feel better — just by being open and honest. I like that authenticity.

Is that authenticity something you find yourself seeking out more and more?

I mean, that’s all I can ask for: just be real and honest. The people I am close to, I am still close because we are honest with each other. And that’s also why I have been able to have a good career so far is because of the people around me that I rely on. My decisions are based on my instincts but also on the instincts of the people that I trust, that I keep close.  I don’t have any of those people around. People learn really quick what I am like. They know I don’t like any bullshit, that I don’t just want compliments. I just talk honestly with people right away. I know I am someone who is in the public eye, and that can weird people out a little bit when you first meet someone, but people notice really quickly that I am not nuts. They can deal with me like a human. I want everyone to talk to each other as equals.