From her sold-out stand-up acts to her hit Comedy Central sketch series and Judd Apatow film, Amy Schumer‘s career has always been about being a self-described “open book.” Now that she has actually written a book, however, it’s clear we’d barely scratched the surface of this shameless, indomitable entertainer’s capacity to overshare—in the most provocative and engaging way possible. The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo is an alternatingly meditative, sexually explicit, side-splittingly hilarious, heart-wrenching, disturbing, passionately political and always staggeringly authentic ride through the highs and lows of the comedic powerhouse’s life to date. There is too much information and yet not enough, because no matter how graphic or shocking she gets, Schumer never fails to keep you reading, and somehow craving more. Above all, the book proves its writer is more than just a comedian; she’s a gifted artist who is able to appeal to an audience’s sense of humour and also to their deepest sympathies in the same breath. You may burst out laughing or tear up, but regardless you’re sure to devour each page as insatiably as blackout Amy eats crackers with “buttermole”—butter she scoops like guacamole.
To tide you over until you get your hands on a copy, here’s a selection of the most surprising, revealing, or flat-out disgusting disclosures, big and small, that will make you realize it’s not all fun and games in Schumer’s world—all right, mostly it is, though.
1. She has only ever had one one-night stand in her life.
Despite the amplified promiscuity of her onstage personae, Schumer admits she’s more selective about her partners than she cares to reveal publicly. “I’m so sorry to disappoint anyone who thinks I walk around at all times with a margarita in one hand and a dildo in the other,” she writes. That said, her one story of hooking up with a stranger she sat next to on an airplane and whom she deliberately never saw again is described in romance-novel-meets-National-Geographic detail. Her unsparing descriptions of certain body parts “thumping” and/or “smell[ing] like a bowl of ramen” make this chapter both uncomfortably intimate and outrageously funny.
2. She’s actually shy.
Schumer self-diagnoses—”I am, without a doubt, a classic textbook introvert”—who, immediately after a performance or take on set, has to “rush to my trailer or a quiet corner and…meditate. I need to completely shut off.”
3. She comes from a broken family.
“The saddest realization I’ve had in my life is that my parents are people,” Schumer writes in one of her noteworthy moments of hhumourlessgravitas. Her father struggled with alcoholism before developing multiple sclerosis when she was ten. Her account of the day “my dad shit himself at an amusement park” is rife with a dark comedy that exemplifies her skill for harnessing her insatiable wit and humour to process realities that are “too much to digest any other way.” Schumer also divulges her mother’s infidelity that coincided with the breakup of their family, her realization one day that her mother “manipulated me in unhealthy ways,” and the complicated relationship—”one with Fort Knox-level boundaries”—they have today.
4. She is a certified fitness instructor.
Schumer reveals she is a certified kickboxing instructor, and has used that qualification to teach classes in “a lot of other stuff I had never even tried before, like yoga, Pilates, spin, step, and dance. Before you go down the path of thinking I wouldn’t be your first pick for a fitness instructor, let me inform you that my classes were very well attended and fun. I’d have the girls yell out the names of their ex-boyfriends or whoever they were mad at while they threw kicks and punches. What I lacked in physique and expertise, I completely made up for with my likability and motivational yelling.”
5. She has been mistreated and abused by romantic partners.
In one of the book’s most deeply affecting passages, Schumer describes the moment she awoke to realize her high school boyfriend was having sex with her without her consent—”Without asking first, without kissing me, without so much as looking me in the eyes—or even confirming if I was awake.” The chapter is a powerful call to action, urging all women to “make sure they have consent before they have sex with someone.”
Decades later, Schumer found herself in love with a man so abusive he actually “pushed me onto the hood of a parked car” and threatened her with a kitchen knife. “And that’s when I was sure he was going to kill me,” she painfully recalls. After she left their apartment, “it was just like American Psycho, him chasing me and gaining on me at every turn.” The passage reads astonishingly like a work of fiction, which makes her message all the more powerful when the reader remembers this horrifying scenario actually happened. “I’m telling this story because I’m a strong-ass woman,” she explains, “not someone most people picture when they think ‘abused woman.’ But it can happen to anyone…I found my way out and will never be back there again. I got out. Get out.”
6. Her childhood dreams came true when she hosted Saturday Night Live.
Describing NBC’s late-night sketch comedy program as “live performance on meth,” Schumer recalls the blissful mayhem of being selected as one of its hosts. “I’m sure a lot of stand-ups dream of doing that opening SNL monologue. I know I have since I was a little girl. You write, rehearse, and perform the show in one week. That’s all you get. One surreal, supercharged week to live your dream. One week to rush around the crowded hallways in that historic building. Nothing in my career has felt more exciting.”
7. She has dabbled in small-scale crime.
Schumer reveals that as an adolescent, she not only had a short stint as “the worst drug dealer ever” selling pot, but also developed a habit of shoplifting that escalated in magnitude until the age of 14, when she and her sister did a number on a department store that would put Ocean’s Eleven to shame. “We went on a total bat-shit, no-holds-barred spree,” she writes. “What’s this? Dolce & Gabbana has a new perfume? Leopard-print onesies? Don’t mind if I do. Cashmere tops? Seven jeans? Well, I think I deserve to own those! Kim had been eyeing a tank top with a bejewelled dollar sign, and why shouldn’t she have pajama pants with white doily cuffs to go with it?” Spoiler alert: they got caught. Reflecting on the incident and her criminal past, Schumer decides “in the end, getting caught at Bloomingdale’s really corrected my game…Now that I’m all grown up…I’ve graduated on to the next-level hustle—making people laugh.”
8. She’s a lifelong New Yorker.
“I fucking love New York,” she writes. “It just makes sense to me in a way no other place does.” And she underscores to every journalist who has ever stamped this frustrating label on her: “I am literally not a ‘woman in Hollywood.'”
9. She is a fierce advocate for gun control.
On July 23, 2015, Schumer was given the devastating news that a shooter had killed two women, Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson, and injured nine others in a Louisiana movie theater during a showing of Trainwreck. After investigating and learning that the shooter “was not prohibited from having guns, but he was precisely the type of person who should be barred—a person with a dangerous criminal history who abused and threatened family members, and who had contacts with the mental health system,” and that “women in America are eleven times more likely to be murdered with guns than women in other developed nations,” Schumer took it upon herself to take action, working with Senator Chuck Schumer (a distant cousin) and joining a committee for Everytown, a national movement to promote community safety and put a stop to gun violence. She even attended President Obama’s announcement of new executive actions on the issue at the White House. She includes instructions for how readers can get involved and a list of Congressmen who have benefitted from the gun lobby at the end of the book.
10. She is “New Money,” and she’s proud of it.
“I feel lucky to live in America,” she says, where “we use our new money for stupid shit like spa treatments where eels eat the dead skin off of our toes or baby seal fat is injected into our assholes so we look young again.” She was born to a wealthy family that eventually lost its fortune. She climbed back up the economic ladder to make her own success doing what she loves. Through the financial ups and downs, however, Schumer maintained the same scrappy and perennially optimistic outlook. Even today, she confesses, “My favourite people in the world still give me shit and treat me like the Long Island trash receptacle that I am.”
Buy The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo right here.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR US