You asked the questions, now Amy Schumer has the answers. Here are her thoughts on hecklers, feminism, creative process, Terry Gross and getting drunk in the streets of New Orleans.
(Note: Some questions were edited for grammar, brevity and clarity. Amy's answers are in bold.)
What is your preferred method of handling a heckler? Do you feel like women get heckled any more than men or is the heckling just more focused on the fact that you have a vagina?
Amy Schumer (AS): My tactic for handling hecklers now is a 3 step process. I try and ignore, if that doesn't work, I try and diffuse, if that doesn't work, hold on to your fucking hat. I will go for the jugular. Hiyeeee! I don't think women get heckled more than men. I think it happens to all comics, ovaries or not.
From Kinja user Sylph:
Can you talk about your writing to filming process and the way you work with your crew? (How closely do you stick to scripts as they're written?)
AS: We pitch about 50 scenes a week in the writer's room. Then Jessi Klein (head writer, EP) and Dan Powell (EP) and I decide which ones to write. We then assign about 3 scenes to each writer and ourselves. Then we give notes on the 1st and 2nd drafts and then we do a table read of them and all punch them up together. Then we decide which ones to shoot. We end up shooting 6-10 of those original 50. We repeat this process until we have 50 scenes we love.
The script doesn't change much when we shoot it. We are pretty meticulous. But we always leaves some room to improvise just for fun. We usually use what was scripted though. The crew is like family and we make fun of each other and give each other shit all day and then try and make the best show we possibly can. We laugh a lot and drink a lot.
Was the focus group sketch basically a transcript of an actual IAS focus group?
AS: Hahaha, no. Luckily that sort of feedback has never reached me from focus groups. But on twitter it certainly has. That was more of a comment on the day to day experience for all women.
Do you get sick of people mentioning your looks in articles in a backhanded way like it's relevant to your being funny or not?
AS: Yes, very much so. I think all women do.
From my friend Anne (yes, knowing Jezebel writers has certain, incredibly limited privileges):
As a native Wisconsin-ite, I've heard that you have a love of our bizarre yet endearing tourist attraction, The House on the Rock. How did you find it and what's your favorite part?
AS: I had my 30th birthday party at the HOTR! I had my family and my boyfriend at the time all fly to Madison and we took a party bus there. I love that place. It's so mysterious and creepy and off. My favorite part is the carousel room filled with angels and the infinity room. I went there for the first time while I was on a tour promoting comedy at Bonnoroo with Kumail Nanjiani and Pete Holmes. We stumbled on it by accident and were like 3 ecstatic toddlers. We were running around, out of our minds excited!
Just heard your interview on Fresh Air from last year—Was it surreal to discuss sexting with Terry Gross? Were there any other good questions that we didn't hear?
AS: It was beyond surreal to hear Terry even say my name. Terry also asked me if ever talked dirty. I said, "Yes." She said, "Why would you do that?" I said, "Some people like that sort of thing, Terry." This was followed by about 10 seconds of utter silence.
How does Josh Charles smell? Follow-up question: How does Paul Giamatti smell?
AC: JC smells like a man. PG smells like a fucking God.
Hey Amy, what does feminism mean or look like to you? And how do you think about the feminist politics of your own comedy style, which is just so fucking irreverent (in a good way!)?
AS: To me, feminism means equality between men and women. I want to make people laugh and also point out some injustices or inequalities I see as well.
Do you prefer working on your own show or showing up for other people's projects, doing the work, and then leaving?
AS: I love working on my show, but I'll take a day on the set of a great project anytime.
Is there anything you consider off limits to joke about, and why?
AS: Not really. If you are coming from a good place and it's funny, I think most things are okay. I would never seek to offend anyone.
What's the worst experience you've had in bed with a guy?
AS: They're supposed to let you in the bed?
Your show is so spot-on with humor about women's lives — though, of course, it's also great with more universal issues. So I was surprised to see that your writing staff is actually almost evenly split between women and men (at least, according to the closing credits). Do the female and male writers bring different things to the mix? How do the male writers approach sketches that are more directly related to women's experiences, like the compliments or "I'm so bad" sketches?
AS: Each writer brings their own experience into the room. We are all coming from such different lives that I can trust that not just one type of person's experience is being covered, but many different ones. Each scene is such a collaboration that it's hard to remember who wrote some of them. The men are essential to all the scenes. So are the women.
Who inspires you? Who are some other comedians/TV personalities you really dig and respect at the moment? Love your show! :)
AS: Bravery inspires me. I'm inspired by Gloria Steinem. Judd Apatow, Ellen Degeneres, Lena Dunham, Sophia Grace. I'm inspired by the people I make the TV show with, Dan and Jessi, who fight for what they believe as much as I do. My sister inspires me by being fearless and taking chances. I'm inspired by anyone who chooses living in a way that they are proud of and standing up for what they think is right, regardless of how it makes them look. So many more, but these are the people on my mind today.
Did you know that we can walk around on the street here in New Orleans with plastic cups of white wine? Let me rephrase: Did you know that you could come to New Orleans and drink white wine with me out of plastic cups?
AS: New Orleans is my favorite place in the country and that, my friend, is one of the reasons. WHO DAT!
Amy, how long did it take for you to get really great at your work? Were you ever really bad? Can you share something about the journey to honing your craft?
AS: Thanks for saying that. I don't think I'm really great yet. But I'm working my ass off and I think I will be in about 10 years. I'll have been doing stand-up 10 years next month and I've been acting my whole life. I studied at the William Esper studio in NYC in a 2 year Meisner intensive with Esper. A bunch of us started a theater/production company called "The Collective" and we have been together for about 7 years. We rehearse all the scenes there and help each other.
Who is your dream guest for your interview segment?
AS: Jon Taffer, from "Bar Rescue"
I've heard that comedy clubs and other comics are generally unwelcoming to female comics. What is the rudest thing someone has said/done to you?
AS: [Someone] grabbed my ass in tampa. That club went out business.
Who sweats more: Jeffery Ross or David Hasselhoff (sober)?
AS: Probably me.
There you have it! A sincere thank you to Amy Schumer for taking the time to talk to us and to you for asking the questions!
Photo by Justin Stephens.