If you, like me, are most familiar with Amy Schumer from her ego-assassinating appearances at Comedy Central's various Roasts, then her new series, Inside Amy Schumer, will have you in stitches. But with the half-hour hybrid (part stand-up, part sketch comedy, part improv), Schumer does more than titillate, she also engages the audiences in deeply fascinating dialogues about sex, gender and our collective attitudes towards both.
ETonline recently caught up with Schumer to talk about headlining her own series, her approach to the material and what she learned about TV from working with Lena Dunham and Louis C.K.
ETonline: I heard Inside Amy Schumer was originally was set to be a talk show. True?
Amy Schumer: True. I knew I was going to have a pilot with Comedy Central and thought about what they'd want right now. I knew they wanted a talk show, so I was going to do that, but if it didn't go anywhere, I just wanted to make the show of my dreams. I mean, they're paying for it, so I might as well have fun for a few weeks and make my dream show. So we made this instead.
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ETonline: So did you just cherrypick the best formats to include?
Schumer: I think so. We always knew there would be stand-up, and scenes that were played in a very realistic way but with a bizarre twist. Then, I love talking to people on the street -- I loved HBO's Real Sex -- so I wanted to do that. And I wanted to do interviews, but not with celebrities. I am more interested in talking to people from different walks of life. A dominatrix, or a guy with a huge penis. I just wanted to have candid interviews with real people.
ETonline: In researching the show for this interview, I realized your writer's room is filled with some of my favorite comedians (Jessi Klein, Tig Notaro, Gabe Liedman).
Schumer: It's a powerhouse group. I just asked my favorite comedians to make the show with me and I can't believe they said yes.
ETonline: Stand-up is very much an individual sport. What was it like going from being a one-man-band to a team leader?
Schumer: It was a big adjustment to make. It was a little overwhelming at first, but now I miss being in the writer's room and being with so many people who, in essence, spoke the same vocabulary. But you're right, stand-up comedy is a very isolating experience. So to be surrounded by hundreds of people from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. was overwhelming, and now that I’m getting back into stand-up, I am kind of withdrawing more from the world [laughs]. I just wound up loving the whole experience so much.
ETonline: You've worked with Lena Dunham and Louis C.K. who both perform multiple functions on their shows. Did you apply anything you learned from those experiences to this show?
Schumer: One thing I really enjoy about them, and like and respect and have stolen from them [laughs], is that there's no desire to get it right. It's just about committing to your own sensibility and what you're doing. Bulldozing forward without apologies. I can see that with Louis, I can see that with Lena and I felt super inspired by that. I've tried to emulate that choice. And like with Louie and Girls, there are some episodes that you may not love and may not be your favorite, but you'll always have an opinion on them, and I'd like to hope we can have the same kind of reaction.
Inside Amy Schumer premieres April 30 at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.