Q&A

Comedian Amy Schumer on Roasting Roseanne and Internet Porn


Watching comedian Amy Schumer perform stand-up is somewhat akin to seeing a long-lost valley girl casually discuss taboo subjects as if she were describing household chores. But there's a suggestive wit below her perverted surface, a fire in her delivery that suggests she's poking as much fun at cultural conditions as she is at that guy in the front row. That's the feeling you'll get after watching her forthcoming Comedy Central stand-up special, Mostly Sex Stuff, which airs Sunday, August 18.

For the past several years, Schumer's risen quickly though the comedic ranks, with high-profile TV appearances on 30 Rock, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Delocated, plus a guest voice spot on Louie and a small role in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Last year, she released her debut comedy album, Cutting. She's also made a splash in Comedy Central's celebrity roasts, after zinging Charlie Sheen last year and appearing on the latest, Roast of Roseanne. In the fall, she begins work on Inside With Amy Schumer, a 10-episode sketch show (also for Comedy Central) that features Schumer alongside her pal and fellow comedian Tig Notaro. In short, she's busy.

Details spoke with Schumer, 31, about finding comedic inspiration on Long Island, porn preferences, and the key to pleasing women.

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DETAILS: The Roast of Roseanne airs this Sunday, August 12. What's the best dig you got in?

AMY SCHUMER: It's funny, you work so hard on these jokes and then they leave your mind ... I said, "You have the voice of a parakeet and the face of a much fatter parakeet." That was one of them.

DETAILS: You grew up on Long Island. Was that an inspiring place for a budding comedian?

AMY SCHUMER: Truthfully, no. I was born in Manhattan, and we lived there until I was a little kid. The school I went to was really good. I got a great education, but I never really felt like I fit in. I mean, I had friends and I had a good high-school experience, but in terms of Long Island, I felt a little odd to be there. I was always aware of the Long Island aspect of it, if that makes sense. But now most of my high-school friends still live there. I thought we were going to get out of there. I felt off. Not better, but the oddball.

DETAILS: Did you have any experiences in high school that have made it into your stand-up material?

AMY SCHUMER: This is not in the special, but this is something I'm experimenting with. I say I think everyone has been a little raped. Every girl I know has one experience where she's like, "I think that was rape." Because there's this gray area of rape. It's not like Law & Order, where someone throws you in a bush. Like, that's rape-rape, you know? Not gray-area raped. I've been graped. My high-school boyfriend took me sleeping as a "suggestive no." I talk about it on stage, and it's not just to get away with talking about rape, it's like maybe a young kid will see that and be like, "Just because she's laying horizontally doesn't mean she wants that." So, that joke's about high school. That's a newer one. And I also talk about how your tendencies around drinking in high school are like that of a homeless person. You'll find beers in a bush and be like, "Let's drink 'em!" You're peeing behind Dumpsters and you're puking. You're a vagrant.

DETAILS: Your new stand-up special, Mostly Sex Stuff, begs the question: Have you had trouble dating people because you're a comedian and people are fearful of becoming the subjects of your on-stage torment?

AMY SCHUMER: Not yet. So far, I have wound up talking about the guys that I've dated in my act as gently and ambiguously as possible. I was dating a WWE wrestler—like a Monday-night-RAW guy. We just dated for a little while, but I said, "I've been talking about you on stage," and he's like, "That's cool." Even some unflattering stuff that I've said about ex-boyfriends, everyone's been pretty cool about. Nobody's asked me not to. I'm very good friends with all my exes.

DETAILS: As you get older, do you find that there's much more pressure around sex? That things have gotten weirder?

AMY SCHUMER: I'm so glad I'm not a kid. I've dated a couple guys and they wanted some weirdness. But that's how all guys are. If that's not your thing, you can just move on to the next. I like watching porn. And that's probably a sign of the times. I probably wouldn't have tried that out if it hadn't been so in your face. In terms of dating, I've been pretty lucky. I've come across some guys who needed a lot of nonsense, and I've moved past them and back to the guys who have sex like their dads did.

DETAILS: What is your porn preference? Internet? Old-school DVD?

AMY SCHUMER: Internet. I'm lazy and I go to YouPorn. I don't get creative.

DETAILS: Do you pay?

AMY SCHUMER: I'm not a paying customer. I still really like that casting-couch one, where that guy gets those girls who think they are going to some audition. That one stayed with me for years. I like teacher stuff, doctor stuff, and the occasional DP thrown in there, because why not?

DETAILS: You're clearly a woman who has made a few observations about male sexuality. What are we doing wrong?

AMY SCHUMER: I would just say, "Give more and show more appreciation." I think any woman would say that. Girls just want to feel beautiful and appreciated. We're nuts too. Guys are really simple. I think women have to do a lot of the changing. Oh, and we need to come every single time.

DETAILS: One bit in your new special is about you dating a guy who has no testicles. Does he really exist?

AMY SCHUMER: Well, that was the wrestler. But he wound up having balls. I was just drunk and it was really dark and they hang way lower than I'm used to. For a full two weeks, I was like, "Oh my God, what am I going to do, this guy has no balls." It was a great revelation.

DETAILS: There are several popular YouTube clips about how you handled hecklers on separate occasions at the same club in Atlanta. Does the southeast have a heckling problem?

AMY SCHUMER: I guess so. It's always Atlanta. Some cities are more prone to hecklers. Atlanta is definitely one of them. They're supposed to be southern gentlemen and ladies.

DETAILS: Can you talk a bit about the new show you're developing?

AMY SCHUMER: It's sketches. Each episode has a loose theme, but I'm sure it'll end up being mostly about sex. I'm really excited about it. I'm going to make a show I'm really proud of. We start shooting around November.

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—Mike Ayers (@themikeayers) is a New York City-based arts and entertainment writer.


Also on Details.com:
Q&A: Ruby Sparks' Paul Dano
Q&A: True Blood's Sam Trammell
Q&A: Rashida Jones

Top photo: Comedy Central. Roast photo: Picture Group.
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