There was a moment during Sunday’s Comedy Central roast of Roseanne that everyone was talking about the next day: When the TV legend surprisingly switched out of search-and-destroy-in-the-name-of-comedy mode and gave an unexpectedly touching blessing to another female comic up there with her. Right as the 59-year-old veteran was going to slam 31-year-old Amy Schumer and say she sucked, Roseanne stopped herself and gave her a heartfelt coronation: “I think she is really funny.”
So totally girl-crush-inducing. That’s Amy Schumer, all right. Her first album, called awesomely “Cutting,” came out last year (my favorite joke from that: “I know what I look like. Like, you’d bang me, but you wouldn’t blog about it.”), she just made an appearance on Jeffrey Ross’s new show “The Burn,” and her 1-hour-special “Mostly Sex Stuff” airs this Saturday (Aug. 18) at 11 p.m. If you need a reason to read this interview or to watch, consider one of her classic bits: "I do not like the French accent. It makes my vagina shut like a steel trap. Thank God I’ve got that other hole. Party in the back!”
In the name of journalism, I asked her a lot of awkward, semi-rude questions, and she totally indulged me. I love her.
Mandy: A lot of people recognize you from the roasts, which you've killed at both years. How do you stay calm and confident when you're up there? What advice would you give someone if they're freaked out about approaching an intimidating social situation -- since I'm sure you probably know every trick in the book?
Amy: I work really hard preparing for the roast. Testing the jokes out and getting myself mentally and physically prepared. I test out the jokes every night I can. I am changing and tweaking my set until the roast. So when I do it. I'm ready. I work with a boxing trainer and go to therapy and get acupuncture. These things keep me sane.
Mandy: Have you ever had an experience where you did get really vulnerable and say, broke down and cried? (Like Tina Fey talks about this in "Bossypants.") Or are you just not that kind of girl?
Amy: I think we are all that kind of girl. I don't think I've cried directly from a roast or a specific insult. But all the stress and pressure. I cry a couple days after about something unrelated. I cry because I'm happy a lot, too. Like, when Roseanne gave me a compliment at the end. I wanted to cry more than anything. It made me so happy.
Mandy: What was the moment when you really decided to do comedy and just go for it?
Amy: I don't know really. But I re-decide every day. I feel a responsibility to keep working hard and getting better at this. Funny women helped me a lot growing up, and I want to do the same.
Mandy: What's some of the best advice you've gotten in your career so far? What's the worst?
Amy: The best advice was "Don't play with the mic cord" which I was doing while I was on stage. I don't think you can really give advice for this career. I think you just need to learn on your own and get as much stage time as possible. I've gotten too much bad advice to pick a worst one.
Mandy: What hair and makeup products do you love? And how long does it take and what do you do to get your hair all cutey-curly like that?
Amy: Thank you. I blow dry it then use a curling iron. It takes me a little under 20 minutes. I use Frederic Fekkai volumizer and whatever shampoo and conditioner is at the hotel usually. But I like Herbal Essence or [Garnier] Fructis stuff.
Mandy: A lot of female comics will downplay their looks, but you seem to do the dolled-up look while being as hilarious as ever.
Amy: Some nights I wear jeans and a T-shirt when I'm on stage on the road. But on TV or on a Saturday night, I will wear a dress. I feel like these people are coming out to see you and it's an event and I feel like I'm disrespecting them if I dress down. I think I am getting more and more authentic. At least that's the goal. I want to be honest and vulnerable to empower other women. I don't want them to feel alone in some of these ridiculous struggles most of us go through and don't talk about.
Mandy: A lot of the same "She sucks a lot of dick" jokes were made about Whitney Cummings that were made about you during the Comedy Central roasts. Have you ever actually slept with someone who then got you a job? Do these jokes bother you at all?
Amy: I one time slept with my boss at my telemarketing job in college. He was a cute 23-year-old and I quit right after, so not really. I have never slept with anyone in my business that has gotten me any work. I don't get fazed by that at all because there is not a grain of truth in it. I get mad when they make jokes about me being overweight. I get mad, because I am not. I feel beautiful and strong and I don't want some young girl to see that and think she needs to be thinner than me. I want women to love themselves and be healthy. I take great care of my body and want everyone to do the same.
Mandy: You date Anthony Jeselnik, another comic on the roast, but you never talk about it. (Sample Anthony Jeselnik joke: “A couple of months ago, I gave my girlfriend some fancy lingerie, and she actually got mad at me. She said, 'Anthony, I think this is more of a gift for you than it is for me.' And I said, 'If you want to get technical, it was originally a gift for my last girlfriend.'”) Are you guys the opposite of your appearance on the roasts and actually incredibly kind to each other in real life?
Amy: Anthony and I love each other very much. The roast is an act. There is no truth to our interaction on there that you saw.
Mandy: You do “Opie & Anthony” a lot, which I love, but gets very brutal in its bits regarding women. Is there any particular moment when you decided you wanted to hang with the boys so would be willing to take it? Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Amy: I am a total feminist. I love doing “O and A” also. They have always been lovely to me and treated me like a comic. I would do anything for those guys. I never decided I want to hang with the boys. I love hanging with my girlfriends more than anyone. But I get along great with comics. We are wired the same. We are happy to have found each other. It's king of hard to be with other people. We are most comfortable together.
Mandy: Do you care about fashion? What brands do you like?
Amy: I appreciate a great outfit and I try and dress well. At night anyway. During the day, if you see me, I look newly homeless. I like Trina Turk and Nanette Lepore. But I really love Megshops. Meg has stores in NYC, LA and London. She always dresses me for television. Except for the Roseanne roast I wore Herve Leger.
Mandy: What drugs have you done, and have you ever hired a hooker?
Amy: I have not hired a hooker (yet). I have smoked pot and eaten mushroom and did some weird drug around NYC as a kid called Rush. Rush got your high for about 60 seconds. I think I knocked out a lot of brain cells that way.
Mandy: If you were to give women advice on how to be funnier, or even how to be more confident (since you have balls of steel, clearly), what would you say?
Amy: I don't know how to help women love and like themselves more. I wish I did. I wish I could spread it all over like fairy dust. Women are so critical of themselves and feel so guilty about things they can't control. I think everyone needs to stop not eating any bread and getting work done and just smile at themselves in their rearview and realize that they are beautiful and make healthy choices and be happy in their own skin.
Mandy: Your 1-hour Comedy Central special airs Saturday (August 18) at 11 p.m. and is called "Mostly Sex Stuff." What's one of your favorite bits from the special? Also, sincerely, on a scale of 1 to 10, a 10 being a nymphomaniac, where do you fall? What's your favorite sex tip?
Amy: I think I'm an 7.5 in terms of being sexually charged. Confidence is the sexiest thing in the world. Don't worry about cellulite or a wrinkle. Men don't give a shit. Other women nitpick, not men. I don't want to spoil any of my jokes from the special, but I hope your readers watch!
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.