In a new podcast with The New Yorker’s David Remnick, Amy Schumer talks candidly about her evolution as a comic, as well as weighing in on the presidential election and how political correctness can threaten comedy.
Explaining that her comedy used to be focused more on just getting laughs, Schumer acknowledges that her style has changed over the years. “I used to play a character, really, kind of a deranged white rich party girl, maybe Republican. I don’t know. But I do have an agenda now,” she explains. "To make people laugh and feel better.”
When Remnick asked Schumer about people who don’t "get" her comedy, Schumer responds that she is impressed that so many people do get it. "If someone doesn’t get what I'm doing or misinterprets something ignorant... well, that’s not someone I would ever want to have a conversation with or have them be in their audience,” she explains. "If someone hears that I support Hillary Clinton and that makes them not want to come see me live — well good, then don't."
Schumer goes on to say that “loves” Clinton and plans to be involved in her campaign, and remains unfazed when Remnick points out that Clinton has historically shied away from making a big deal about feminism.
“Well, that's smart!" responds Schumer. “Because that scares off men and women alike, because they don’t know what that word means. But when she’s honest and she’s just firing stuff off, you’re like: 'Oh she’s a badass.'”
Schumer also weighs in on the effect that political correctness is having on comedy. Recently, comics like Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have lamented that PC culture is killing comedy, and Schumer somewhat agrees with these criticisms, adding that the minute she feels afraid to say something she thinks is funny, it’s like she's "dead in the water.”
Yet Schumer acknowledges that it is important to change with the times. Responding to criticisms that some of her comedy has racist undertones -- in particular, her controversial joke that "nothing works 100 percent of the time except Mexicans” -- she explains that the punchline wasn't meant to be racist, it was meant to be about her own character’s stupidity. Still, she says she wouldn’t do that bit anymore.
"I wouldn't do any of my old jokes now, because they feel stale and because I have a bigger audience now and people are lookng to me," she concludes. "And I have become in some ways a role model. So I have more responsibility. But I didn't then."
Listen to the full, fascinating interview over at WNYC.
Watch Amy Schumer tackle rape in a high school football town, sexual assault in the military and yes — the numerous rape and drugging accusations against Bill Cosby — in two minutes of sketch and stand-up comedy.
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