NPR FOR THE DEAF: Deep Inside Amy Schumer


EDITOR’S NOTE: Amy Schumer is Terry’s guest on Fresh Air today.

NEW YORK TIMES: Ms. Schumer has been darkly joking about sex since long before she had any. At 10 she was eating dinner with her 6-year-old sister when their mother went to the bathroom. She picked up a French fry and a stick of butter and told her sibling one was a penis and the other a vagina. She dipped and said, “Any questions?”

When her sister, Kim Caramele — now a married clinical school psychologist in suburban Chicago — reminded her of this story at her Chelsea apartment, Ms. Schumer laughed. “Sorry about that,” she said as she helped Ms. Caramele apply makeup. Their closeness (a photo of the two will end every episode of “Inside”) was forged during a tough childhood in Long Island. When Ms. Schumer was 9, her family went bankrupt and her father received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. Three years later her parents divorced.

With typical nonchalance, Ms. Schumer said she joked about the troubles right away, developing a hard shell that comes in handy for a comic. The skills that have led to her success she inherited, at least partly, from her parents. Ms. Schumer said her mother had no boundaries and her father overshared, treating her like a college pal. “I think because he has M.S., he wanted to confess everything in case he died,” she said by e-mail of her father, who’s alive. “I got to be that lucky gal.”

Her parents were supportive of her interest in theater and performance, which began at an early age. “They convinced me I was God’s gift to the world,” said Ms. Schumer, who said she is second cousin to Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. “I would come to school with curly bangs and a ‘Cats’ sweater, and people were confused by my confidence.” In mid-November Ms. Schumer earned roaring laughs at the Comedy Cellar in Greenwich Village and sounded absolutely miserable afterward. “I cried yesterday as soon as I woke up,” she said, worn down by a stressful schedule in the morning and performing at night, often on the road. MORE