“I went home with this French guy because he said something adorable like, ‘I have an apartment,’” Amy Schumer tells the audience during one of her stand-up acts called “Mostly sex stuff.” Although she has gained a lot of fame this year from starring in the movie “Trainwreck,” her first love was stand-up comedy.
Schumer’s road to success sounds like a typical “unconventional” Hollywood story. She was born into a wealthy family on the Upper East Side, but her family ended up going bankrupt. Her father was then diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and permanently hospitalized – which she used as inspiration for her movie “Trainwreck.” Three years later her parents divorced, and she moved with her mother to Long Island.
Her mother played a key role in the development of her provocative sense of humor due to the “lack of boundaries,” Schumer complains about in many of her stand-up acts. “I have a joke where I say, ‘Oh, I’m going to bring my mom to a soccer game because I want to show her what boundaries look like,’” Schumer said in an interview with NPR.
In high school, Schumer was voted “class clown” and “teacher’s worst nightmare.” She then headed off to Towson University where she graduated with a degree in theatre and then moved back to New York City to pursue her stand-up career.
Schumer was in television shows such as Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham,” “Last Comic Standing,” and “Reality Bites Back.” Finally in 2013, Amy Schumer premiered and starred in her own comedy sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer,” which is going into its fourth season.
Schumer obviously has achieved great success recently and is comedy’s new “it girl,” but is it more than just her humor that gets her noticed? Questioning sexist social norms has always been an essential element in Schumer’s humor. She is the quintessential woman with the morals of a man. The way she approaches subjects such as sex is raw and relatable to her audiences.
In one of her comedy routines she shares that some people ask her, “Is it hard being a female comedian?” and she answers, “No, but it’s hard being a female in general.”
It is a continuous struggle for women in Hollywood to have as much social power and screen time as male actors. The New York Times recently highlighted this issue in the article titled “Actresses on the Stubborn Sexism of Hollywood.”
According to this article, “From 2007 through 2014, women made up only 30.2 percent of all speaking or named characters in the 100 top-grossing fictional films distributed in the United States, according to a report released in August by the University of Southern California.”
Despite this gender inequity in Hollywood, Schumer has worked her way up to become one of the few popular female comedians. She addressed this fact in an interview with the A.V Club, “I feel like I’m equipped to become a great, memorable comedian, if I keep working my @#$ off and staying at the pace I’m at, and I feel a responsibility to do that because of the women who have done it before me, and the ones who need to do it after me.”
She captures the attention of millions with her raunchy jokes and her uncompromising, unapologetic humor that may threaten the status quo. Her jokes may not be the most appropriate, but part of her humor comes from the way she exposes the truth of how most women think and feel but are too afraid to admit. And while she may not be a typical feminist role model, she certainly is the funniest.