Amy Schumer Accepts Woman of the Year: “Thank You For Calling Me A Woman”

Amy Schumer was named Woman of the Year at last night’s Men of the Year Awards, hosted by British GQ. In her acceptance speech, Schumer began by thanking the magazine for “calling me a woman,” and emphasized how important it was that “finally we are celebrating men!”

The recently published author, whose collected memoirs, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, have already become a #1 New York Times bestseller, was quite candid in the rest of her acceptance speech. “Next year, it’s not going to go as well for me, and I won’t be at places like this, and I’ll feel forgotten,” she said.”

She remained enterprising as always, continuing: “I hope you guys will go to my website and look at my merchandise. I have t-shirts, and a sweatshirt – but the zipper breaks.”

Schumer wrapped up the speech by sharing some of her fondest memories of her trip to the UK. “Patrick Stewart has come all over my tits. More times than even he remembers,” she said. “Michael Caine, don’t look away. Look at me, sir.”

Elaborating on the experience, she explained: “You have to make a shelf so [the semen] doesn’t fall. It’s the saddest shelf in the world. I just went to the Anne Frank house, and I can still say it’s the saddest shelf in the world.”

Watch the full speech below.

The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo is now available on Amazon.

Amy Schumer Discusses Metzger Controversy With Lena Dunham

In today’s Lenny Letter interview, Lena Dunham puts on her journalism hat and interviews newly-bestselling author Amy Schumer. The two discussed her fresh-off-the-presses memoir, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo, as well as the recent controversy surrounding Schumer, in which a (now former) writer from her show, Kurt Metzger, made less-than-supportive comments about rape allegations in the comedy community.

What happened was this: the Upright Citizens Brigade theater banned from their shows a male comic accused of raping multiple female colleagues in a since-deleted Facebook post. The statement included the phrasing: “Multiple women came forward, and after investigation, [name redacted] was permanently banned from UCB this week for raping women in the comedy community over the years.”

Metzger, responding to the ban, in an also-since-deleted Facebook post (screenshot available at The Daily Dotsaid: “Guys I have just heard some disturbing news, this guy Jiff Dilfyberg is a rapist! I know because women said it and that’s all I need!” He continued in further posts to criticize rape survivors credibility: “If you are raped by Bill Cosby you and you didn’t go to the cops I get it. You were scared etc etc. I give you credit. If a fat improv open mic kid with a fucking jew fro did it you are full of shit.”

How does Schumer fit into all this? Critics have come at her for having such a hot-headed writer on her show, even though he’s since been removed from the staff. Earlier on in the saga, Schumer tweeted:

Now, in her Lenny Letter interview, Schumer wants the whole thing to be over. To Dunham, she said:

First I was like, fuck Kurt. It’s been years that he’s been doing this. He’s one of those guys, like a lot of the guys that I’m friends with, who are degenerates. Kurt was saying this awful stuff, and in previous years, I would be like, “You’ve got to shut up.” He’d be like, “All right.” Then it would kind of go away. This time, it was just so bad. But also, why are these women treating him like he raped someone? He’s not Bill Cosby; Kurt has never raped. What he was saying was horrific, and he was being a troll. He can be an Internet troll. The fact that I had to answer for it … I was like, “Ugh, why this week?” [Jokingly:] I was like, if there’s scandals, can’t they be about me?

Read the full interview here.

Order The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo here.

Pirelli’s 2016 Calendar Stars Female Power Players Amy Schumer, Patti Smith and Serena Williams

Amy Schumer by Annie Leibovitz  (Courtesy Pirelli)

The much-discussed Pirelli calendar is heading in an entirely different direction for 2016. Known for its thematic depictions of scantily clad models, the Italian tire company is honing in on women of talent rather than their usual troop of fashion “it girls.” Refreshing only begins to describe this shift, which severely contrasts 2015’s latex and leather calendar, photographed by Steven Meisel and styled by the infamous and widely dubbed purveyor of porno-chic Carine Roitfeld.

Annie Leibovitz helmed the project for the upcoming calendar year and photographed female power players Amy Schumer, Tavi Gevinson, Patti Smith, Serena Williams and Yoko Ono, to name a few. “I just thought of women I admired and I didn’t let anyone in the studio from Pirelli,” Leibovitz said, discussing the collaboration. “It became a very strong set of very simple portraits.”

The 2016 Pirelli Calendar is bound more similarly to a book and celebrates the purity of intellectual beauty. Check out a behind-the-scenes look from the shoot, below:

 

Lena Dunham, Amy Schumer Slam Hollywood’s Sexism Problem, and It Gets Pretty Nasty

Lena Dunham

Photo via The Hollywood Reporter

The Hollywood Reporter gathered this year’s crop of Emmy-contending comedic actresses for a roundtable discussion and, sad to say, the conversation highlighted how sexism still permeates the industry.

“The way women are spoken to in social media is truly shocking. It’s how you imagine people screaming at prisoners in Guantanamo.” Lena Dunham said as she and Amy Schumer, Gina Rodriguez and more talked about the amount of rape threats and death threats they receive on Twitter.

Someone even wished Amy Schumer would get ovarian cancer.

Moving beyond the terror of internet trolls, the women touched upon the institutionalized discrimination faced in the industry. Dunham recalled how one man who worked on Girls made fun of her weight and said he hated his job because a man was not in charge. Tracee Ellis Ross, star of Black-ish, said working on a show run by four women (Girlfriends) set up false expectations of the industry.

There are hardly substantial roles for women in Hollywood, let alone roles for women of color. Michelle Rodriguez echoed this, and explained why she would never play a role to reinforce negative stereotypes. “When you compromise, you don’t do your best work.”

Feminism has emerged as a strong force in the entertainment industry as of late. Shonda Rhimes has created an incredibly successful television empire where straight, white, and male is not the default. But that doesn’t mean the struggle’s over by any means.

As comedic actors, lots of these women weaponize irony and humor in the fight (Schumer wrote a whole sketch of men arguing whether she was attractive enough to be on TV), but there are still long strides to be made with women in Hollywood.

Schumer ended with a sound resolution: “Let’s never apologize for anything.”

Check out the full interview at  The Hollywood Reporter.

Comedian and Cancer Survivor Tig Notaro Knows How To Tell a Good Story

Comedian, actress, and writer Tig Notaro gained a following in the comedy world for her goofy, sometimes self-deprecating, all-the-while engaging yarns about her family, growing up in Mississippi, a gentleman’s comments about her "little titties," and her experiences at hotels in Mexico. This was the sort of material fans who attended her live "Tig & Friends" show at LA’s Largo Theater back in August were probably expecting.

What casual (or not-so-casual) comedy fans were not expecting was Notaro beginning her set by saying, “Thank you, I have cancer, thank you.” She then proceeded to recount her diagnosis of Stage Two breast cancer, the most recent in a laundry list from Hell: a breakup, the sudden passing of her mother, a battle with a bacterial infection. Her candor and humor (often self-deprecating—one of the most oft-quoted one-liners of the night is “You have a lump.” “No, doctor, that’s my breast.”) brought the audience to attention. Ed Helms called it one of the best he’s ever seen. Louis C.K. called it "masterful."

Notaro says she’s grateful for her audience at the Largo that night. “Thank you for being exactly who you are and for being at that show,” she says. “Every person in the audience was the perfect person to be there.”

Notaro is now cancer-free following a double mastectomy and is preparing for a lot of writing in the months ahead. She’s got a number of projects in the works addition to her standup, including an upcoming book via Ecco, appearances on This American Life, working on a new television show with Amy Schumer, and a short film, “Clown Service,” about a lonely woman who hires a birthday party clown to cheer her up. And today, the Largo set will be available on Louis C.K.’s website, with a portion of the proceeds going to charities in the fight against breast cancer.

Notaro took some time out of her crazy schedule (the day before a cross-country move) to talk about the after-effects of that night, moving to New York, working for Xena: Warrior Princess, and feeling like a badass.

Let’s talk about the Largo show. What was the turning point that made you decide that you were going to open up to everybody like that and that was the time and place you were going to do it?
I had been working on a piece—I was going to work this material out possibly for This American Life before I was diagnosed with cancer. And then after I got diagnosed with cancer, I just couldn’t stop writing. I had this show set up, so I went on stage and I went for the material. I was recording it that night just so I could reference the material and see if it was in a good place to send to Ira Glass. I felt like I did have something that maybe he could use.

What has the response to that performance been like so far?
People have been nothing but positive, and I’m just blown away at how supportive and positive everybody has been. Not that I thought everybody would be a jerk to me because I had cancer, but they really lifted me up during this time, and the performance was something that the audience and my peers really have been so supportive and vocal about, which feels nice.

How has the Largo performance impacted your comedy? Have you found yourself changing your style or anything as a result?
I haven’t performed since that night. I had surgery; I literally got diagnosed, did that show, and then I’ve been dealing with doctors and being cut open and healing. So I haven’t really been doing anything. I just got my bandages off, so it’s still all very fresh. But I imagine this will change me forever as a human and as a comedian in turn.

You’ve dealt with a lot lately, good and bad. How do you use comedy to relate to what’s happening?
The only thing I’ve really written is what happened at Largo. I haven’t really been doing anything. The material from that night—there’s probably only a couple of bits from that night that I will continue with. The rest of it was kind of time and place. But I have no idea. I’m curious and there’s no way for me to know until I get on stage again what this has done and what’s coming. It’s really an interesting time because certain things seem ridiculous to talk about, certain topics in comedy. But it’s exciting and it’s completely unknown to me until I get out there and start again.

It’s so ridiculous but I feel like a badass. I feel like I can deal with anything in the world. It’s so cliché to talk about turning bad things into good, but every bad thing that’s happened to me has turned into something great and I didn’t see that coming at all. At first, I just thought, "Oh my gosh, I’m just going to be beaten into the ground."

It’s almost a literal interpretation of the old cliché about how tragedy plus time equals comedy.
Absolutely, and I talked about that in my show that night. And I talked about how I didn’t have time. I was just on stage talking about tragedy. Time was not something that had really passed that.

Was there a moment in the show where telling your story clicked, where it felt like the right time?
I’m not sure where it was, but there was definitely a moment in time where it felt like there was definitely a special moment that was happening. But I’m not quite sure when that was.

What advice would you give to people going through the same things you’ve gone through in the past few months?
I
t’s mind-numbingly painful, but pushing through was what now makes me feel like a badass and be able to see these positive things that have come from it. It’s so worth it, but it’s a rough journey, to say the least.

What, for you, are the most important rules of telling a good story?
I think being the most personal and true to what happened, because it feels like even if you exaggerate on that, as long as it starts with that nugget of truth to begin with. I feel like that’s so necessary to spring from truth regardless of where it ends up going.  My “No Moleste” bit, that’s a truth. Every time I check into a hotel room, I hang a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door. That’s true, but I exaggerate beyond there.

You recently landed a book deal with Ecco. What will that look like?
I think anything I want, is my understanding. I meet with my editor next week in New York, but I think anything I want. I’m going to write about these four months of hell that I went through, my childhood, my mother. I think my comedy career, all that kind of stuff is definitely going to end up there.

What are your hopes for the change of scene with your impending move to New York?It’s gonna be a whole new world. Everything in my life right now is New York-centric. My job working on Amy’s show takes place there. Ira Glass from This American Life wants me on the show regularly and he’s out there, and my publishing company is out there. I think I have a lot of writing ahead of me. I have a lot of stand-up to work on. I think it will be a nice change of pace. I have so much writing coming up that it’s just blowing my mind to think about. Everything is just writing, writing, writing. I’m anxious to be knee-deep in all of that.

You’re involved in so many different disciplines of comedy—writing and directing films, acting, stand-up, as well as this new book. How do you go about approaching each of these?
I do most of my writing on stage. I’ll have a concept and work it out in front of the audience, whereas I haven’t started writing the book, so I can’t imagine how that’s gonna happen, but I’ll probably do that from home. It’s such a solitary thing, writing a book, whereas with stand-up, you’re right there in front of everybody, working things out. I’m writing on Amy Schumer’s TV show, which I’ve been doing over the phone and email, and I’ll be in the office, and that’s so collaborative. They’re all very different things.

I was looking through the bio on your website and it says you were once an assistant on Xena: Warrior Princess. Please, please tell me more about that.
I was the world’s worst assistant. I’m still friends with Lucy Lawless and, I don’t know. They claim they kept me around because I was entertaining to hang out with, but certainly not because I was good at my job. I answered phones and I would take Lucy’s daughter to amusement parks when Lucy did photo shoots, or her sister would be in town from New Zealand and I would take her out to lunch. It was a good job for the time and it was kind of silly too, but I’m glad I had it, for sure. But it was so long ago, almost fifteen years ago that I worked there. But she’s still a friend. 

Photo by Ann Johansson