Amy Schumer Takes Viewers Behind The Scene In New Docu-Series

Jul 11, 2020
Originally published on July 11, 2020 7:28 am
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Amy Schumer as you've never seen her before is presented in the new HBO Max series "Expecting Amy." Amy Schumer anxious, sobbing, naked and vomiting - lots of vomiting.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "EXPECTING AMY")

AMY SCHUMER: Oh, my God. He's moving all around. See? It has so much energy. That's why I'm puking every day.

(SOUNDBITE OF TOILET FLUSHING)

SIMON: OK. The three-part docuseries follows Amy Schumer and her retinue and her husband, Chris Fischer, as she prepares to give birth to their child and a new stand-up act, more or less along the same timetable. Amy Schumer joins us from New York. Thank you so much for being with us.

SCHUMER: Thank you for having me.

SIMON: You had a challenging pregnancy, didn't you?

SCHUMER: Yeah, I really did. You know, hyperemesis is an affliction that hasn't been studied much, and the truth is it's because it, you know, it happens to women. And what was so apparent to me was with my level of privilege, I was able to keep myself alive and the baby alive. One in three women who have what I had, the baby doesn't make it. So, you know, it's easy to hear the phrase like, oh, she can't stop vomiting or is vomiting all the time. And people go, oh. But, you know, we really wanted you to see what that means and how grueling it was because the hardships that women face I feel like are usually pretty brushed over. So we wanted to really highlight it.

SIMON: At the same time you're going through this profound experience, you're touring and you're sharpening your act, leading toward a special. Why'd you keep doing that?

SCHUMER: A special for me - like, they're so timely. It's like, I'm talking about things I really care about. I'm joking about things I am the most interested in at the time. So at a certain point, when you're still doing the same jokes, it's like you're on autopilot because you've said it so many times. So there's kind of like a sweet spot you can get to when you've really explored all different angles of your jokes and, you know, tape it before you're up there saying the words, wanting to kill yourself, (laughter) if that makes sense. So I was like, I want to film this so that I can be done with this material because I knew once I had the baby, then I don't want to be talking about what it's like to be pregnant anymore.

SIMON: You say at one point - I think it's backstage - I can always perform. Help us understand that feeling, how someone can be as sick as you were and worried and still perform.

SCHUMER: You know, it's just as a performer, your limits are tested. And I have performed under so many different circumstances. I had a show - I lost my voice completely. My mom is a speech and hearing therapist for the deaf, so I would sign to her, and then she would say my jokes. You know, as a comic, that's - your strength is that you just do it so much that you learn that you can do it in any scenario.

SIMON: You can do it in any scenario, or is there a part of you that needs to do it?

SCHUMER: When I have something to say, I do. Like, you know, we just had our doc come out, and I had a special. And then I - you know, I feel like I sort of expend all my creative energy, and then I sort of take time and build it back up. So I think you can bank on me being pretty quiet for a couple years until I really have something to say again.

SIMON: Yeah. Of course, we - I mean, you had a son, Gene David Fischer. Had to be a name change a few months ago.

SCHUMER: (Laughter) That's right.

SIMON: Can we tell that story?

SCHUMER: Yeah. Sure, sure. So one of my close friends is Dave Attell. He's also my favorite comedian. So I wanted to pay tribute to him. And so we named - Gene's first name is for Chris' mom, who passed away. And then we wanted to have his middle name be Attell. And about a month in, I realized that by accident, we'd named him Gene Attell - genital. So we had to do a real swift name change.

SIMON: (Laughter).

SCHUMER: And, you know, just to fail that hard so early in your child's life, it just - it really lets you know.

SIMON: Oh, he's got a story he'll carry for the - you know, forever. It's wonderful.

SCHUMER: Oh, God. Yeah. It's like, wow.

SIMON: What's motherhood been like for you?

SCHUMER: It's been, I would say, a complete joy. It's like, you know, people say when you have a baby, it's like your heart is walking around outside your body. And that is completely true and - for me, anyway. I'm lucky I didn't get postpartum, I also think because I had a baby to nurse (ph) and a lot of support, you know. So my experience of motherhood has been just a joy and learning. It's like - it's just everything about yourself just right in front of you, alive - like all of the parts that you might not be proud of. It makes you just kind of love everybody more in general, I think.

SIMON: "Expecting Amy" is now on HBO Max. Of course, that's Amy Schumer. Our best to Gene David. Thanks so much for being with us.

SCHUMER: Thank you so much, Scott. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.