Either Amy Schumer is the most modest woman in show business — or else she needs to have her hearing checked. Consider the facts: The 32-year-old's surprise Comedy Central hit, Inside Amy Schumer, is entering its sophomore season with a rabid following. Like Schumer herself, the series — a kinetic mix of sketches, man-on-the-street-style interviews and her live stand-up — is at turns racy, shrewd and deliciously warped, saved from actual wickedness by an undercurrent of chipper naïveté. (It's no surprise that Schumer cites Shirley Temple as a major inspiration.) She is also touring the country with her wildly popular stand-up act — while simultaneously writing and starring in a Judd Apatow movie, slated for release next summer. And yet, when asked about becoming the next big thing — Kristen Wiig comparisons come to mind — she balks. "Um, I hear myself referred to as the next Kristen Wiig zero times per week," responds Schumer, adding, "but I would love that to be true. Hey, I'll take Paula Deen's career if it means money is coming in." Here's why Schumer's stock is about to soar.
TV Guide Magazine: When did it hit you that people — that is, a lot of people — were watching Inside Amy Schumer?
When the ratings first came in, [Comedy Central] was like, "Oh, um, 3 million people watched last night." I was like, "What?" It sounded like an accident.
TV Guide Magazine: Now that you're going into Season 2, is there any pressure to live up to expectations?
I don't feel any pressure to deliver. Maybe I should. Before we went back into the writing room for this season, there was that moment of, "Oh, my God, I don't have anything else to say. What if this season sucks?" But then we got in there and it was so much more exciting, because this time we knew what we were doing.
TV Guide Magazine: Plus, there's a new addition to the writing staff: your sister, Kim Caramele, four years your junior.
We have a very similar sensibility — my whole goal since she was born has been trying to make her laugh. I wanted her for Season 1, but she had a job and a husband and a life in Chicago. When we got renewed, she was my first phone call.
TV Guide Magazine: Upcoming guest stars include Josh Charles, Zach Braff, Parker Posey, Rachel Dratch, Janeane Garofalo and Paul Giamatti. Someone's popular!
Strangely, a lot of those people are my friends. But with Paul Giamatti, I ran into him on the street and begged him. He plays God — I have a herpes scare and he appears. That's kind of my highlight.
TV Guide Magazine: Our scheduled time for this interview was 8:40am. Is that any indication of how overextended you are these days?
I'm like Scarlett Johansson in Her — every ounce of my energy and mind are being used from the second I wake up. Right now, I'm in L.A. — later today, I'm flying to Milwaukee and then sleeping in Detroit. I'm writing this movie and editing my TV show, all while trying not to have massive weight gain and remembering to shower. If you smelled my hair right now, you'd say, "Good luck with one of those things."
TV Guide Magazine: Speaking of the movie: It's called Trainwreck. How did that project come to be?
Judd and I go to the same Crunch gym. [Laughs] Just kidding. He heard me on Howard Stern and he keeps up with New York comics, so that's why we first had a meeting. We eventually landed on a story about a girl whose self-destructive habits are catching up with her, and she's thrown off by falling in love and hitting rock bottom.
TV Guide Magazine: If it's a hit, are you prepared to be ultrafamous?
No way. That part I cannot even think about right now. Especially considering the way I go out in public, which is not appealing to anybody — and when you're famous, they take your picture.
TV Guide Magazine: What's an average fan encounter like for you these days?
They come up and say, "I'm sorry, I don't want to be this guy, but can we do a picture?" And I say, "Yeah." And they say, "I don't really know how to work this." And I say, "You just press this part," and they say, "Can we do another one?" and I say, "Yes, sure."
TV Guide Magazine: Your humor can be pretty raunchy. Do you ever get resistance from people who want you to be more ladylike?
I encounter that every day. It makes some people angry, because they want everybody to fit into their idea of what a girl is supposed to be. I don't let it slow me down. Every day I get a tweet that says, "I usually don't think women are funny, but you are." What are they basing that on? In the stand-up world, if you kill and people laugh, then you're funny — no question about it.
TV Guide Magazine: You were on the reality competition Last Comic Standing in 2007. Is it weird that everyone is treating you like an overnight success now?
I've been doing stand-up and auditioning for around 10 years, but I guess that's how it is — people have never heard of you, then you do something they like and it's as if you just appeared for them out of thin air.
TV Guide Magazine: Your ex-boyfriend Anthony Jeselnik had a show on Comedy Central that was canceled just as your star began to rise. Does it feel as though you're living a Taylor Swift—revenge-fantasy song?
Having a TV show canceled is too fleeting for the kind of revenge I wish on my ex-boyfriends. My show will go away too someday. I'm looking for more long-term vengeance — something that will last.
Inside Amy Schumer premieres Tuesday, April 1 at 10:30/9:30c on Comedy Central.