Amy Schumer's comedy borders on vulgar but she isn't out to offend

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Amy Schumer has got it going on. The attractive blond comic stars in Inside Amy Schumer, a successful comedy show on Comedy Central that returns for a second season on April 1. She’s also in the midst of writing the script to Train Wreck, the new Judd Apatow flick due out in 2015. And she’s booked an extensive tour of mid-sized venues. Her popularity is at a peak.

But things weren’t always so peachy.

“I had a good upbringing, just the normal horrible childhood insecurities and looking all fucked up,” says Schumer via phone from Los Angeles where she was busy revising the Train Wreck script. She performs tomorrow night at the State Theatre. “My parents made me over-confident. That was my problem. I didn’t realize until later years that they had been lying to me.”

She’s proud of the fact that she was voted “class clown” and “teacher’s worst nightmare” upon graduating from high school.

“I was a really funny kid and everybody really liked me — I’m just kidding,” she says. “I had behavioral problems and was barely functioning.”

After studying acting in college, she channeled those childhood experiences into her comedy routines and made her standup debut ten years ago. She still remembers the experience, though not fondly.

“It was horrible, but I did pretty well,” she says. “Everybody does really well their first time and then gets a rude awakening the second time. It was atrocious. I have a tape of it. I think the worst part was that I had bangs.”

Over time, she began to hone her act and talk openly about sexuality. While her jokes border on vulgar, Schumer says she’s not out to offend anyone.

“I would never a write a joke to be offensive,” she says. “I’m sure there was a time that I did that. Doing a roast, you are supposed to do that. I don’t intentionally offend anyone now. I would be offended by anybody who is not funny. I’m more offended by a bad joke than the subject matter.”

And while she’s made a point to say that she doesn’t do “observational humor,” she now says she misspoke when she made that statement.

“A lot of what I do is observational humor,” she admits. “I don’t know why I said that. I was trying to draw differences between myself and Seinfeld. I do speak of personal experiences rather than generalities. It’s like, ‘This is what happened with me and a guy’ rather than ‘this is what happens with women and men.’ I like observational humor.”

So does that mean she really attempted to clean the cum out of a girlfriend’s hair with peanut butter? It's from a joke she once told about a friend who tried to deny she was a slut.

“No, but I did have to think that to write it,” she says. “I could see myself doing that. It comes from somewhere. Sometimes the jokes are based on things that happened exactly happened and sometimes they’re embellished or completely made up. I would say 8 times out of 10, they’re true.”

Schumer says she’s got a few Valentine’s Day jokes ready for tomorrow’s show. While you might expect the sarcastic comic wouldn’t be a fan of the holiday, she says that’s not totally true.

“There are a lot of couples at the shows,” she says. “I’m not a downer on Valentine’s Day person. I love love, but I’m sure I’ll also remind them of their imminent death.”

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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