Amy Schumer has performed standup in front of sold-out crowds, produced her own sketch show, directed comedy specials and starred in films.
But writing, she says, is her favorite: “I love to lose myself in it.”
While pregnant with her are Gene Fischer, who turns 3 in May, Schumer, 40, flipped through old journals and visited places where she spent her childhood. And she thought, “I’d really like to examine that time in my life, the teenage years when these big moments happen for you that can traumatize you or change you, and how that affects you as long as you let it.”
The result is Hulu‘scomedyLife & Beth” (now streaming all 10 episodes), which Schumer stars in, writes, executive produces and sometimes directs. She estimates the series is about 50% autobiographical. “A lot about me personally was reflected, but then I took liberties with the other characters ,” she says. Beth is Schumer’s middle name, and like Schumer, the character has a younger sister and divorced parents. Her onscreen dad also falls on hard financial times, just like Schumer’s did.
‘Nothing too brutal’:Oscars co-host Amy Schumer reveals how far her jokes will go
The 50 best TV shows to watch on Hulu in March 2022: ‘The Dropout,’ ‘Life & Beth’
She says writing about her trauma offers “therapeutic benefits” and allows her to really process what she went through.
At the time, “you just keep movin’, keep growing up, and you know the things that happened to you,” she says. “But I wanted to really give it the time and attention that I feel like I never did, to just be more gentle with myself in general and feel a little less guilty or ashamed, because I did have a rough time.”
The series splits its time between the life of adult Beth – a wine sales representative living in New York in an unsatisfying relationship – and adolescent Beth (Violet Young). The teen Beth struggles with the awkwardness of growing up and a mother (Laura Benanti), who bounces between romantic relationships, imparting wisdom to her young daughters like “Men want to feel needed, so the best way to flirt is to ask for help. ” And telling Beth, “If you put in just a little bit of effort, you are such a pretty girl.”
A big event in the series premiere acts as the catalyst for Beth to reexamine her life.Schumer. “She goes from not expressing any of her feelings from her to really saying what she wants, and that feels revolutionary for her.”“She’s forced to make some changes and evolve,” says
Adult Beth ends her relationship and decides to move back to Long Island, where she grew up. She reconnects with her childhood friends and becomes charmed by farming life after meeting John (Michael Cera), the very direct and intriguing groundskeeper of a Long Island vineyard.
Schumer says the “Arrested Development” actor was her “dream” castmate, even if his texting habits leave something to be desired. After exchanging phone numbers at the Tony Awards in 2018, Cera says he ignored the “Trainwreck” star’s messages because he didn’t recognize the number.
“Apparently it was Amy, but I only figured this out years later, so I just ignored them,” he says. “And then Amy texted me, I don’t know, a couple months before we did this show, and she was like, ‘How come you never responded to me?’ And, I was like, ‘Who is this?’ And she goes, ‘It’s Amy.'” Schumer propositioned Cera with the role and sent scripts, which he thought were “amazing.”
In writing the role, Schumer borrowed “a whole lot” from her real-life husband, farmer, chef and James Beard Award recipient Chris Fischer, whom she Wednesday in 2018. There is no mention of John having autism in “Life & Beth,” but Schumer says “he’s most likely on the spectrum.” Fischer was diagnosed a few years ago at 39.
Schumer spoke about Fischer’s autism diagnosis in her 2019 Netflix standup special “Growing.” “Once he was diagnosed, it dawned on me how funny it was because all of the characteristics that make it clear that he’s on the spectrum are all of the reasons that I fell madly in love with him,” she said in the special. “He says whatever is on his mind about him. He keeps it so real.” Similarly, Cera says Beth is attracted to John’s tendency to be “very direct and honest.”
Schumer says her husband loved serving as the inspiration for John and visited the set daily in upstate New York and Long Island. “He would bring our baby, and it was very sweet and supportive,” she says. “And we wanted him there to make sure that we were making the farming look accurate.”
While Schumer borrows from her personal life, she doesn’t subscribe to Oscar-nominated screenwriter/author Nora Ephron’s belief that “everything is copy,” or potential material.
“Everything would be a good copy, yeah, but there is a line if you want to continue your personal relationships,” Schumer says. “It doesn’t seem worth it to me to write an essay that’ll burn a bridge or ruin someone’s life.”
Seth Meyers talks Vladimir Putin, Cardi B and his new book about being scared
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism