Big things are happening for comedian Amy Schumer. The talented comic, most widely known for her run on Last Comic Standing and the roasts of both Charlie Sheen and Roseanne Barr, is about to debut her own sketch comedy show called Inside Amy Schumer. “It’s a crazy time,” she says via phone from New York City. “I’m actually in the editing room right now. I have to be honest with you — I think the show is going to be really funny and really good.”
This is far from her first foray into acting, though. “I think people definitely think of me as just a stand-up,” she says, “but I’ve been on the sly working as an actress this whole time.” Her credits include guest shots on 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie and Girls. She’s also turned up in a few films.
Still, she thinks some people might have to adjust to her being in a sketch environment. “I think people will be like, ‘What? We don’t know you as an actress. Take this microphone and go on stage, bitch!’ ” she says.
It’s that kind of blunt humor that has helped make her so popular. On the The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen she proved she was not only direct but also an exceptional joke writer, heaving barbs at Sheen and everyone else on stage.
While describing Mike Tyson’s facial features she said, “It’s so dark and wrinkly and constantly getting pounded, it’s like Patrice’s grandmother’s asshole after a Gospel brunch,” referring to fellow roaster, the late Patrice O’Neal.
“Patrice was my good friend,” she explains. “He was the last person to be added to that roast. And so I went after him super hard. If you know Patrice, you know he never took it easy on anybody. I’m really proud of the jokes I wrote, and all the Patrice stuff. He was really proud of me. At the after party, he told me my jokes were great.”
Originally Schumer submitted some jokes to be a writer for the roast, but wisely was chosen to be onstage.
“Yeah, I love the roasts, but I never thought about doing one until a couple of months before that,” she says. “I think I’ve seen every Comedy Central roast and I think I’ve memorized all the jokes.” She loves the premise. “These people are friends and cracking the best jokes they can, which is the goal,” she says. “Sort of taking away any expectations or boundaries.”
Of course, she can turn it inward and make herself the subject just as easily. “It’s awkward sleeping with someone,” she tells an audience. “How do you ask him to wear a condom? I try to say something cute, like ‘You’re gonna wanna wear this — I’ve had a busy month.’ ”
Growing up on Long Island, N.Y., Schumer was always a comedy fan and got the performing bug early. “I was always funny,” she recalls. “I liked comedy and was always watching Saturday Night Live, memorizing Gilda Radner’s scenes and playing her characters. I was always trying to make people laugh; mostly myself.” Apparently others enjoyed her humor, as her efforts did get her voted class clown in high school.
Coming out of high school and heading into college, there was no career path into comedy as far as she could see. “My career in stand-up kind of just happened to me,” she says.
Not surprisingly, her sharp wit and head-on style got her noticed quickly. “I like the truth,” she says. “I like to talk about what’s really going on, or at least my experience of it.”
She will bring that experience to Bogart’s, a venue known more for musical acts. Schumer isn’t deterred. “I’ve been doing rock clubs for over a year now,” she says. “I love the energy of those places. It doesn’t feel like a comedy club that’s trying to squeeze every last dime out of you. And they have that Rock & Roll vibe of ‘anything goes.’ ”
That could also describe Schumer’s career. With a solid stand-up fan base, TV work and her own show, she soon could be writing her own ticket. “I’m 31,” she says. “I still look pretty good, but I think the shit’s about to hit the fan for me physically. Then I’m going to want to jump behind the camera. And making my show for Comedy Central, I’m learning how much I love directing and being part of producing something.”
She also would like to land some more movie work. “I don’t know where I’m going,” she says, “but it feels like I’m going in the right direction.”
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