Comedy queen Amy Schumer exudes a fearlessness that has led to a tough-as-nails reputation. Yet, as she reveals to her friend JESSICA SEINFELD, her well-being depends on SoulCycle, scones, and her inner circle
photographed by CARTER SMITH
“I just came from acupuncture”was the first thing Amy Schumer ever said to me, her skin red and marked by a fresh imprint from the face cradle of a massage table. This was about three years ago, when my husband, Jerry [Seinfeld], invited her to watch the Super Bowl with us after he had made a cameo appearance in an “ ’80s Ladies” sketch for her show Inside Amy Schumer.
Though Amy’s blockbuster movie, Trainwreck, hadn’t come out yet, her star power was already there. She’d been working the stand-up-comedy circuit for 10 years, which led to her namesake hit on Comedy Central. Despite her well-earned success, her vulnerability was on display on that particular evening: She was feeling sad about a sudden breakup with a guy who randomly had been wearing a bear suit when it all went down. Needless to say, we didn’t watch the game at all.
Over time, what I’ve found so fascinating about Amy is how normal she seems no matter what she’s saying or who’s in the room. Everyone gets her full attention. So many women (and men) feel connected to her. I’m in a long line of friends who are astonished by the thoughtful flowers she sends when you have an icky doctor’s appointment, or by the calls she makes when you experience the smallest bit of success.
Even though she is hugely famous, she is one of the most relatable people in show business and real life. This was evident even at a daytime screening of her wildly fun and funny film with Goldie Hawn, Snatched, out this month, when she wore a puffer jacket and athletic pants despite the presence of note-taking journalists. Afterward, we shared what she deemed a “disgusting” protein bar (it was mine, of course) while I asked her about men, marijuana, and her irreverent relationship with fashion.
Jessica Seinfeld: How are you?
Amy Schumer: Every day brings so many new blessings. [Laughs]
JS: Yeah, “grateful.” So, today we’re here talking about your new movie, Snatched, and just Amy in general. And I know the focus of this story is beauty.
JS: What is your ideal day of beauty?
AS: It’s a new thing, but I like getting facials now at Georgia Louise, and she gives a good massage too. If we’re talking massages or whatever, I’ll do it all day—throw me into some sort of sketchy bathhouse.
JS: Are you into beauty products?
AS: I like the products that I like, but it’s bare-bones. There are things people know about, like La Mer, that I had never heard of until recently. So I don’t know until someone tells me.
JS: Do you have a regimen?
AS: My regimen is I wake up, usually around 8:30, brush my teeth, and splash water on my face. Then I put Kiehl’s eye-something under my eyes, and I blot La Mer so it looks like sunblock. Then I put on deodorant if I remember, which today I did not.
JS: What kind of deodorant?
AS: I use Secret. I tried the natural ones, but my body was just like, “Stop all that. Just die early and don’t smell like a foot.”
JS: What about wellness? I know you like acupuncture.
AS: Oh, yeah, I love wellness. For exercise, I’ll text [actress] Rachel Feinstein and ask her if she wants to go to a SoulCycle class. We ride very slowly in the back, but they don’t make us feel bad about that. Afterward, we celebrate the workout with a very long lunch and coffee. We’re like elderly women on the Upper West Side. And then I love to go for a long walk, maybe around the Central Park reservoir.
JS: I like how you always bring a scone.
AS: A scone will be with me if I’m walking.
JS: And you just started yoga again?
AS: Just started yoga again, feeling really good about that—
and my body remembered it. I ran into the instructor I used to go to on the street. I was like, “I need your help!”
JS: It’s hard when you’re as busy as you are, but maybe you can do more of it when you get a chance to slow down.
AS: Yeah. Or maybe when I’m dead. In terms of decompressing, I also want to get into pajamas as often as possible, usually sweatpants and rarely a bra at any point, to watch TV. Then I think a beautiful thing is having wine. And some pot.
JS: Well, you know I believe that CBD and a little THC is a part of an effective wellness program, right?
AS: Absolutely, yeah.
JS: It seems better than taking painkillers or relaxants to chill you out.
AS: Half of my friends from home are nurses, and they’re
like, “No one has ever come into the hospital with an overdose on pot.” It’s everything else that kills people by accident.
JS: Yes, we are both big proponents. What do you do when you have a hangover?
AS: I sweat it out. For a special hangover, I want some sort of egg sandwich, bagel, or burger. But those nights are few and far between, because they’ll set me back a week.
JS: Do you ever detox?
AS: I just went away with my girls, and it was nonstop every night, so then I didn’t want to do anything for a week. If I have something coming up, I do look better when I’m not getting hammered at night, unfortunately. Before the Golden Globes I didn’t drink for four days, or something like that.
JS: Is that about the max, would you say?
AS: In the past couple years there have been times when I haven’t drunk for months. What I find is I look so much better, feel amazing ... and am so bored. Life isn’t that fun. So I can feel really good for a while, but then it’s one of the things that I look forward to, so until I am told “You cannot do this anymore,” I’ll probably continue to do it.
JS: Do you care about food?
AS: Yeah, I care about food a lot.
I have a healthy relationship with food. My problem is as a comic, I eat dinner late. But I’ll have a smoothie for breakfast every morning, and I keep it pretty low-carb and healthy during the day. At night I’ll have a basic protein, quinoa, and vegetables. Then I’ll have another dinner at 2 a.m. or something if I’m out.
JS: Describe your relationship with fashion.
AS:We’re friends who have an appreciation for each other but don’t ever hang out—and we don’t even pretend to make plans anymore. [Laughs]
JS: Right, you just acknowledge each other.
AS: Yeah, we’re never going to hang out unless we are forced to. But then I can also feel good if I am in a cool outfit, though I’d rather be comfortable. The only time I need to dress up these days is when I’m doing stand-up. I’ll try to look nice.
JS: I have some questions from Jerry …
AS: Oh, cool!
JS: … and one of them relates to this. What are the best and worst comedy shoes you ever wore onstage?
AS: That’s so funny. So my best ones are these cowboy boots, which I refuse to throw away. They’re brown, but they look gold. I wore them the first time I ever filmed a stand-up special, Live at Gotham, in 2007. The worst shoes I’ve ever worn were open-toe. I was told by someone, “Don’t show your toes onstage. It’s disrespectful.” Some comedians make fun of my shoes because they’re so bad and unattractive.
JS: What have you learned you cannot wear onstage? Jerry is so specific about what he wears.
AS: Oh, guys have it so much easier. I can’t wear so much of what I’ve worn. Leather. [Laughs] Leeeaaather.
JS: You probably don’t get embarrassed easily—you would turn something into a comic bit—but has anything embarrassing ever happened to you onstage or on a red carpet?
AS: I can feel embarrassed. I’m trying to think. I’ve never s— myself. No bodily function has happened.
JS: That’s good. Who is your favorite person?
AS: My sister. And my niece.
JS: Do you want to talk about Ben? [Schumer’s boyfriend is furniture designer Ben Hanisch.]
AS: Sure, I don’t mind talking about him.
JS: What is it about Ben that attracted you to him?
AS: His penis. [Laughs] I could see he was kind in a real way. Some guys, they can put up a kind front, and then you find out that they’re sexual deviants, but I—
AS: God willing. [Laughs] No, and not that he’s not, God bless him. He’s cute. He’s kind.
JS: What I love about you and Ben together is that he is not competing. He just appreciates you so much.
AS: It’s true. And I’ve had a lot of that, you know? Or just people who due to their own insecurity need you to be smaller. I feel like I can shine with him and also be nothing and we’re good. We’ve been together for almost a year and a half, but lately I’ll whisper in his ear, “I’m falling for you.” And he’s just like, “We’ve been together for a while.” [Laughs]
JS: Do you miss being single?
AS: Not ever. Except I need a lot of alone time. Right now I’m getting my period, and I just don’t like him, you know? My PMS is no joke.
JS: It’s crazy, yeah. I’ve seen it firsthand.
AS: And it’s directed only toward him, but instead of being in denial about that, we try to work with it. [Laughs] Tonight’s vibe is “I don’t want you to even look at me or talk to me,” and he will put on his headphones, do work on his computer, and I’m just in the room. He’s understanding. He’s too good about it. It actually annoys me.
JS: Yeah, he should be fighting.
AS: Right, but he’s like, “I’m going to give you your space, babe.”
JS: As an actress, is aging in front of the camera something that worries you?
AS: No, not yet. What’s good about not being a model is that it’s not the thing I trade on. Once I start looking older, that won’t affect me. I have never gotten anything done because I’m, like, so gorgeous. I’m good-looking enough that I can work in the business. I get enough attention from men that I feel good. I see pictures of myself now, and I look younger than I think of myself. It hasn’t scared me yet.
JS: Would you ever get Botox or filler? Are you against it?
AS: I’m not against it. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get any sort of surgery, but no proclamations. Also, I cannot imagine a moment when I will need filler for my face, as if it needs to be filled. [Laughs] Can we unfill this? Let’s get an emptier.
JS: Liposuction on your face.
AS: Yeah, I need lipo on my cheeks.
JS: What do you love about being famous?
AS: That I can get into places. They make things easy for you. If I go see a play, it’s taken care of. If I go to a restaurant, I can get in right now.
JS: What do you hate about being famous?
AS: Most days it’s fine, and then some days it’s like that episode of Black Mirror where everybody’s filming on their cell phones. It’s constant surveillance, and it feels like a violation. It is still new enough for me that I’m bothered by it. I never fantasized about the fame part of anything. I was only afraid of it.
“I cannot imagine a moment when I will need filler for my face ... Can we unfill this? Let’s get an emptier.”
JS: You always have a pack of women around you.
AS: Yeah, who really like who I am and I really like them. You’re one of five new friends I’ve made over the past 15 years. I’m pretty picky. It’s just got to line up.
JS: Do you have someone who can tell you you’re being an a—hole?
AS: Everyone I’m close to is in that position. I’ve said it to them before: “If I start putting on too much makeup or wearing my hair in a f—ed-up way, tell me. Don’t just make me feel good.” There are probably 20 people who are close to me, and none of them are yes men.
JS: This is another Jerry question: Is anger necessary to drive comedy?
AS: I think frustration is good. I just want to make people laugh, but I’m also in a place where I want to make change. A joke doesn’t have to be something that’s going to make people think, but if it can, that’s better.
JS: What do you hate most about what other comedians do, and what do you love most?
AS: I hate seeing female comics be mean about women. Gloria Steinem gave me the biggest compliment about Trainwreck. She said, “It was the first time I went to see a movie that had sex in it and I wasn’t worried I was going to be offended.” And I’m so used to seeing male comics talk about women in a way I feel is unfair. We’re not all gold-digging whores who just want to buy shoes. But when it’s a woman making those jokes, I feel hurt.
JS: Have you always been confident? And where do you think it comes from? I know your mom made you feel beautiful and smart.
AS: Yeah, my mom lied to me. [Laughs] My parents made me think I was a genius supermodel, and it was kind of too late when I found out that they had been lying. But I was always really confident, though there have been bumps in the road. During freshman year of college the girls at the school were just so much hotter than me. I couldn’t compete, and I lost all my self-esteem. I was confused about where my value lay, and then I figured it out.
JS: How did you do that?
AS: From hitting rock bottom, I think. It wasn’t like I was sleeping around, but there was an older guy I had a major crush on. He called me one morning at 6, and I was like, “Oh my god, he’s really thinking about me this early in the day!” But it was just that he was still out, and I was his last-ditch effort to hook up. I was lying in his bed, and I remember looking up at his ceiling, and Sam Cooke was playing. I’d never heard him before, and it was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard, and I was like, “I’ve got to get out of here. I’m not going to be this girl.” But even when I’m feeling bad, I still feel like I have value. I’m also realistic because if I look my absolute best and go to an awards thing, I’m still going to be seated next to Blake Lively or Emily Ratajkowski. So that can break your heart or you can be like, “This is pretty good. I’ll take this level.”
JS: To me you are the best version of a feminist. You’re a girl’s girl, and you’re a guy’s girl. Do you think your understanding of men comes from being on the road with them?
AS: My understanding of men comes from my dad, my brother, and the comics I’m close to. I’m interested in the male experience. I don’t think that women are so much better than men. And the misconception about feminists obviously is that they’re like, “F— men,” and that’s not it.
JS: What do you think 2016 has done for women?
AS: I think it broke our hearts and then made us so much stronger and closer. The funny thing is some of my good girlfriends are America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Lena Dunham, and Amy Poehler, and we never talked about politics. And then it was like, “Oh, you’re stumping for Hillary? So am I.” “Oh, you’re gonna be in Denver for that rally? Oh, cool, so am I.”
JS: Whom do you most admire?
AS: Maya Angelou comes to mind right away. Ani DiFranco. Just anybody who is a fighter and uses his or her voice and is an activist. Goldie Hawn is a hero of mine. She has been a part of my life for much longer than I’ve known her. I read her book A Lotus Grows in the Mud before I was ever on television, and it just helped me along.
JS: What did you learn from working with her?
AS: I learned that I’m not crazy. [Laughs] That no one is going to look out for you like you need to look out for yourself. No matter how much they love you, you have to look out for yourself more. You’ve got to open your mouth, girl.
JS: Have you had a moment where you’re like, “Oh, I made it”?
AS: I can do what I want right now, and that seems like the most valuable thing in the world, but I also felt like I’d made it when I headlined at SUNY Potsdam. [Laughs] Everything I’m doing has surpassed anything I thought I’d ever do. Going forward, I’ll probably do more directing and producing. And I’m excited about the Stylefund charity that my costume designer, Leesa Evans, and I started. We get clothing donated from various retailers for women reentering the workforce. It teaches women how to dress for their bodies. I want to help more. I want to make real change with regards to gun legislation. I feel like I can’t stop until things are different, because it’s just so wrong and dangerous.
JS: What do you love most about being a woman?
AS: That we can have babies. I’ll probably eventually want to do that. That feels like a really cool thing that women get to do that men can’t.
JS: Last question: What has made you the proudest?
AS: That I can have this movie come out or that I can host Saturday Night Live and get to experience all of it with the people I really love. Because it seems like it could be so lonely. Why do any of this if you don’t have your people?
For more from Amy Schumer, pick up the May issue of InStyle, available on newsstands and for digital download April 14.