Amy Schumer on her controversial jokes: ‘I just think that’s selective outrage’

amy cover

Amy Schumer covers the June issue of Vanity Fair, which VF has just released crazy-early. I spent much of 2015 trying to give Amy Schumer a chance, but at the end of the day… I’m not really into her. It’s not an overexposure thing (although she is overexposed) and it’s not a sex-comedy thing, it’s just… I’m tired of her shtick. While she’s had some interesting things to say about sexism, towards the end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016, it felt like she was a one-trick pony, if the pony could only joke about “doing anal.” Anyway, Amy is promoting the new season of Inside Amy Schumer, her wildly popular Comedy Central skit show. The piece is a half-decent read because Schumer gives VF access to everything, from her apartment to the writers room to her friends and family. You can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

Her closest girlfriends: “It’s all my friends from high school—these girls, these monsters. They’re afraid I’m going to forget about them. So, like, they keep buying me things, to remind me of them.” She said that she had made sure to introduce them all, seven in total, to Jennifer Lawrence, her newest friend. (The two had made headlines vacationing in the Hamptons with Schumer’s girlfriends over the summer.) She also said that a chunk of her afternoon that day had been devoted to wrangling tickets for the entire group to the premiere of Lawrence’s final Hunger Games movie, which was taking place the next night. “I was like, ‘I have to bring all my friends from high school.’ They”—Lawrence’s people—“were like, ‘Are you serious?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, if I go and don’t bring them, it’ll be an issue.’ ”

Her crazy schedule: “I love all the things that I’m doing but that all my time is accounted for? I’m not Joan Rivers, where I’m like, ‘A full calendar is happiness.’ I would love to do nothing, like waking up and not knowing what you’re going to do that day. The other day I was so overwhelmed I left work an hour early and I just went and watched Labyrinth on my sister’s couch. It was a big deal in our house growing up. It holds up. I mean, the movie’s weird, but it just felt so good to just lay there, while it was still light out, and watch a movie.”

The controversy around her old joke, “I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual.”: “With that joke I remember thinking, Who should I use? Like, it’s a formula. I got the wording of ‘consensual.’ I thought, You know what? Latin guys will be best. Because you can’t say black guys. I could have said white guys, I guess, but the choice was, like, arbitrary… I just think that’s selective outrage. It’s like, Well, wait. What about the jokes I made about AIDS and the jokes I made about black people? Those were O.K.? I’ve made a lot of jokes about white people. People feel how they’re going to feel. I was just kind of like, I’m a comic. Like, can we just skip this thing where I become famous and then you guys look to burn me at the stake for something? Is there any way we can skip that?”

[From Vanity Fair]

Her explanation for that Hispanic joke makes no sense, right? She couldn’t say “black guys,” but “Hispanic guys” made perfect sense? Some believe that Amy has and may still have issues with racial humor, and in this section of the VF piece, she does come across as somewhat tone-deaf.

Elsewhere in the interview, she cries in front of the VF reporter when talking about the shooting at a theater playing Train Wreck. She comes across as the “realest” there, talking about how she wishes she had never written the movie and just wanting to do something to honor the victims, which she has already done by advocating for stricter gun laws and making donations to charity. What else? She says very little about her boyfriend beyond the fact that she’s in love and he’s not all about her career. So… are you still into Amy Schumer? What’s sort of striking here is that this cover interview should have come last year, when Schumer was getting all kinds of attention. Giving her the cover now makes it seem like VF is late to the party.


Photos courtesy of Vanity Fair, WENN.

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65 Responses to “Amy Schumer on her controversial jokes: ‘I just think that’s selective outrage’”

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  1. Locke Lamora says:

    She got real old real fast. I never really was into her, but I found her mildly entertaining. Now, not even that.

    • tacos and tv says:

      Agreed. And her comment about the hispanic joke really is racist. I mean, let’s call a spade a spade.

    • joan says:

      Her show has been praised for its social consciousness, so she’d have been wise to go that way instead of sticking to sex sex sex [except for her brave gun control comments].

      But that’s what her audiences have liked so far, so it’s understandable.

  2. Samtha says:

    I want to like her…but I don’t really find her funny, at all.

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      Exactly how I feel. Theoretically I want to like her and support her but I just cannot.

    • Meredith says:

      Her show has always reminded me of Key and Peele, in that they’re both pretty hit or miss, and kind of overhyped. When the sketches are good, they’re great, but more often than not, the sketches just aren’t that funny. I tried to like her show, like I tried to like Key and Peele, but I just can’t get into it.

  3. kri says:

    I was never into her in the first place. She’s obnoxious without being funny. Meh.

  4. CornyBlue says:

    ” I thought, You know what? Latin guys will be best. Because you can’t say black guys. I could have said white guys, I guess, but the choice was, like, arbitrary… I just think that’s selective outrage. It’s like, Well, wait. What about the jokes I made about AIDS and the jokes I made about black people? Those were O.K.? I’ve made a lot of jokes about white people. ”
    This is such a white person thing to say. I joke about everybody and only some people get offended lol lol I am an equal opportunity joker____like shut up Becky goddamn

    • Alexandra says:

      I am surprised she didn’t say: My Hispanic friends thought the joke was hilarious.

    • Sam says:

      It feels like she’s trying to be Lisa Lampenelli with that joke. But the thing with Lisa is that you’re supposed to laugh at her. You’re not supposed to take her seriously. Her persona is of an unattractive white woman who extols the virtues of minority men because she thinks they will be more accepting of her. The Lisa on stage is not a positive person and you’re not supposed to like her. She’s a classic insult comic, and it’s not who she is in real life, apparently.

      The problem with Amy is that she’s spent so long cultivating a fan base among “socially conscious” people that now, they’re holding her to their standards. She has mainly an audience who are sensitive to things like racism, privilege, etc. And they aren’t as accepting as racial humor coming from a white woman. This feels very much to me like a “you make the bed, you sleep in the bed” type of thing.

      • CornyBlue says:

        I cannot grasp how racial humour is a thing. I know people may not get this but even in humour form it has a very negative impact on people specially teens who consume this.

      • Sam says:

        Racial humor CAN be funny. But the problem is that it largely comes from the wrong sources. Most racial jokes are made by white people about minorities. That’s called punching down, and its a bad move. I’ve seen minority comics do hysterical routines about their own races, and it’s pretty great. One of the best routines I ever saw was from an Arab comic (his name escapes me, sadly) who did a whole piece about walking through an airport. It was hysterical. Dave Chapelle is hysterical. I remember his bit about fried chicken when he stood up and said, “Black people and fried chicken is a stereotype. But it’s a stereotype that’s kind of true; most black people do love fried chicken. But it’s because that stuff is delicious and we have good taste and all you people who don’t eat it are stupid for missing out.” He owned it and turned it on its head.

        So I really worry about white people doing racial humor, but I differ from you in that I do think it can be funny, when its done the right way and comes from the right people.

      • Bobo says:

        Agreed. The woman wants her cake and to eat it, too. It’s okay for her to rage at things that offend her, but flip it around and people are being hypocrites. Yeah…you too, Amy.

        I loathe Lampanelli and her squawking parrot persona, but she’s unapologetic about it, which I like. Amy twists everything she does into some sort of social awareness. It’s weird and phony.

      • Carol says:

        @Sam Yes, I agree with you. I’ve seen Margaret Cho talk about her Asian upbringing, her parents etc. and its hilarious. But Amy Schumer’s Asian jokes are just plain awful. They are not funny in the least bit and I find them so offensive. I will say Amy can be funny on her TV series.

    • perplexed says:

      I didn’t understand her explanation at all. I tried and I tried, but I don’t understand what she was trying to say.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      +1. She sounded pretty dumb in that last paragraph.

  5. Dana says:

    Oh God. WHY? Just go away.

  6. paranormalgirl says:

    I can’t with her. never could.

    • meme says:

      me neither. she’s not funny.

    • Esmom says:

      Ditto. Her schtick seemed old to me almost from the get go. And I’m sorry but her reasoning for picking Hispanic guys is incredibly lame. I don’t get offended by that stuff usually but this seemed extra offensive to me.

  7. Guest says:

    Maybe I’m a hipster who just hates everything and everyone remotely popular.
    But yeah. I just don’t get the intrigue. I never do.
    I don’t find her funny. The same way I don’t find Jennifer Laurence endearing and relatable.
    Maybe I’m cynical. Whatever the case is, ugh.
    By the way, just because you aren’t picking on a black guy doesn’t make a racist statement any less of a racist statement.
    I know I’m all over the place with this, but one more thing. Why can’t these people take criticism? Why is it every time someone is called out for something its some type of ——shaming?
    Why can’t it just be, your a human and as a human everything you do will and can be judged. Nobody likes it, but it happens.

  8. lucy says:

    Amy, we’re just not that into you. She must have the best publicist in the world. It’s not selective outrage, it’s that she’s just not funny. Very one-dimensional.

  9. Alexandra says:

    Isn’t her boyfriend also a fan of blackface? I think I saw once an instagram post of him posing as a PoC for no apparent reason than to make fun of them. Her being tone-deaf doesn’t surprise me. Plus, I can’t stand the fact that she is butthurt for being labeled as a plus-size (although she exaggerated with that label from the magazine greatly), when her stand-up routines revolve around her weight. So she can use that for comedic purposes, but when others talk about it in a respectful manner, she’s all of a sudden, “I AM NOT FAT!” ?

    She is exhausting and I tried to like her, because she occasionally says the right things (like when she called that teenager out for making a sexist joke), but she is way too oblivious to what’s surrounding her and has a lack of responsibility for the things she is saying. Not to mention that I am still not convinced with her arguments on stealing jokes from other comedians.

    And personally, while comedians say that they can joke about anything, as long as the time is right, that joke about Hispanics was offensive as hell and it’s something she should own.

  10. ladysussex says:

    I still love her! I can’t wait for the new season! Comics have it tough, I think, having to walk so many fine lines. I listen to several podcasts of comedians and it’s one of the biggest topics they talk about. You just can’t be funny and walk on eggshells all the time. No matter what you say, you’re always going to outrage someone, especially in these times where it’s so fashionable to be outraged.

    • CornyBlue says:

      If someone’s sense of humour is the caus eof another person’s outrage then that speaks more about the person with that kind of sense of humour dont you think ? Like some gentle ribbing is surely not something that causes uproar but basically implying that Hispanic men are rapists is crossing every line in the sand

      • Melly says:

        I think to a certain extent, there shouldn’t be a line in the sand for comedy. I think it’s healthy to just laugh at stuff and not make everything into some major issue. I also think it’s really difficult for female comedians because there are clearly different standards. A male comedian can make racial/sexist jokes and people accept it. I can list, just off the top of my head, 10 male standup comics who make crude jokes about race/gender/sexuality/etc and I haven’t heard the same outrage that a female comedian gets for making similar jokes.

      • Esmom says:

        Melly, I hear what you’re saying but I think that only holds up if A) the joke gets at some truth that might be uncomfortable and B) it’s funny. Her Hispanic guy joke does neither, it’s just flat out offensive.

        ETA: I meant to add that I don’t necessarily agree that male comics don’t get called out. Remember Trevor Noah and his offensive and unfunny “humor?” He got ripped to shreds for it.

      • CornyBlue says:

        @Melly You have to be kidding me with this. How do you propose people just laugh off a joke which alleges that the Hispanic males are rapists ? Why should anyone ? Also please do not do this ” She has it tougher as a girl “. This is very much a race issue and not a gender issue. If you do happen to know comedians joking about entire races being rapists please list them below so I can not give them any attention

      • Melly says:

        I agree. The joke needs to be rooted in some truth for it to work. I should have been more clear in my comment, so let me clarify. I wasn’t defending her joke about hispanic guys, I was responding to CornyBlue’s original statement that if a joke causes someone to be outraged it is then a bad joke and/or the comedian isn’t a good person. I personally like comedians who are more on the outrageous side. I’ve been to lots of comedy shows (Jim Jefferies, Daniel Tosh, Louis CK, Patrice O’Neal, Amy Schumer, etc) and although they said offensive things (about almost everyone), I still thought it was hilarious. Just one person’s opinion!

        I’m not kidding. As I clarified above, I wasn’t talking about Schumer’s joke specifically. I was responding to your comment that acceptable humor should only be “gentle ribbing” because everything else can hurt people’s feels. I just disagree with you on that. Just to be extra clear, I don’t think hispanic men are rapists and I didn’t think that specific joke was funny. Things can be both a gender issue and a racial issue, they are not mutually exclusive. I was commenting on a double standard I have noticed in the stand-up comedy world. I go to a lot of comedy shows, it’s my idea of a good time. I would recommend some awesome comics, but I don’t think you’d enjoy it. You should probably just stick with Gallagher and similar “comics” because it’s no fun to get all get all wound up.

      • KA says:

        For a joke like that to work, it would need to be (as an example) athletes/consensual, because rape is a problem, and racism is a problem, and the two are only connected inasmuch as some women are more likely to be raped than others, because of their race. Whereas there is a problem when it comes to attitudes to women among some male athletes, and the surrounding organisations.

        All she did was label Latin men as rapists. For zero reason. As a white girl. Jokes about race have to have some truth to them, same as rape jokes. They have to dismantle something nasty and poke fun at it, or you’re just sniggering along with the people continuing the problem. And for a white girl to say, well, I had this joke about consensual, so I needed a group to add in, so I picked a minority who deal with racism but hey so what… yeah, no.

      • Betsy says:

        Was it just one joke? One time? Because comedians frequently go over the line. She’s got other funny stuff. I do not see the point in hating someone for a single bad joke. It’s not like she went off on a drunken rant for ten minutes.

      • KA says:

        No, granted. And I liked Trainwreck a lot, and I enjoy a lot of her comedy.

        It’s more that when you get called out for racism as a white person, and it’s bang to rights, you apologise. And in an unqualified way. You don’t go on to complain that it isn’t faaaaiiiirrr for people to call you on it at all.

  11. Melly says:

    I have loved her standup for a long time. I like the more controversial comedians, and I especially like female comedians who own their sexuality without guilt or apology.

    • Locke Lamora says:

      But is she controversial? I mean, I like quite contoversial comics ( Frankie Boyle, anyone?) and I don’t find her that boundary pushing at all.

    • Sam says:

      But she doesn’t own it. She’s very sensitive about it whenever somebody other than herself jokes about it. She got very pissy when a kid who took a picture with her at some awards show cracked a joke about spending the night with her. She complained he was implying she was a slut. But so what? She cracks a ton of jokes about her alleged promiscuity. If she’s so into owning her sexuality to the point where she can joke about it, why would that bother her? That’s because she isn’t really at ease with it, she just protests that she is.

      • Melly says:

        I don’t know if she’s sensitive about it or not, but she’s always seemed open to talk about her sexuality in her stand-ups and in interviews (particularly her earlier, pre-movie interviews). Maybe she was having a bad day the day of the award show? Maybe that kid was being an ass? Maybe she is sensitive? Who knows =)

  12. familard says:

    She has a team of writers … and publicist.

  13. Coco says:

    Does anyone else think the high school friendships are kinda weird. Like they keep giving her gifts to not forget about them and that she had to bring them all to the movie premiere (not even her own, btw) or there would be an issue. I can’t tell if this is her trying to be funny or if this stuff really happened. Either way, seemed off to me and how my friends and I treat each other. Being a celebrity must be pretty weird sometimes.

  14. iheartgossip says:

    She is awful

  15. Wren33 says:

    I don’t get that joke. Hispanic guys rape or something? Not that I just don’t find it funny. I literally don’t understand what the attempted joke is.

    • Starkiller says:

      I don’t think I get it either-my best guess is that it was some kind of tie-in with Donald Drumpf’s comments about Mexicans (I’m assuming she’s too daft to realise that “Mexican” and “Hispanic” aren’t interchangeable terms)

    • perplexed says:

      I don’t understand the joke either. Even when she explains it, I don’t get it.

  16. Sam says:

    She’s just not that funny to me. She was more than willing to traffic in racist comedy back before she was super famous until she tried it with Patrice O’Neal, who proceeded to get up on television and tear her a new one. It was awesome, and after that she stopped doing a lot of the racial humor. And she’s never really addressed it.

    I also don’t like how she handled the whole thing with that teenage kid who cracked a joke about her alleged promiscuity and she took offense. Honey, you crack those jokes about yourself. You can’t get upset when somebody takes your own material and turns it back on you. That’s called turnabout is fair play. So does that mean she’d take offense at a roast if people proceeded to make slut jokes or fat jokes about her, even though she makes those jokes about herself? I just find her tiresome with all that.

  17. ReineDidon says:

    I want to like a comedienne criticizing society with bravour, it is just not her.
    All she can joke about is sex, sex and her weight. Sorry I need more to keep me interested. Plus she can’t take a single critique. Can’t stand her!

  18. Josefina says:

    What offends me about the joke, as a latín person, is not even the content. It’s that she’s being racist for the sake of it. Throw a racist joke there just so people talk more about you. So cheap, unoriginal and boring.

    Amy, you dont have to care about people. If you want to offend, go ahead. But dont cry when people get offended. You were looking for it.

  19. idsmith says:

    Ok I’ll bite – I like her and find her funny. Not everything she does is funny but I always laugh during her show. There.

  20. Spiderpig says:

    She’s hilarious and really smart and I think it sucks that just because she’s female, she’s expected to be some kind of perfect Social
    Justice Feminist Warrior Icon 24/7. Or that her career and shtick automatically has an expiration date.

    No one ever says this stuff about men, and never about male comedians, who can be overtly racist and sexist, make rape jokes, etc. etc. without anyone raising an eyebrow.

    • CornyBlue says:

      The solution to which should be censoring the male comedians and not to let the female comedians say as much shot as the male comedians lol

    • Sam says:

      Where have you been? Plenty of male comedians get called out for stuff. Daniel Tosh took a HUGE amount of heat for making rape jokes. Andrew Dice Clay was so toxic at one point that a few female SNL actors refused to take the stage with him. So please, it’s false that male comics never suffer any consequences for bad jokes.

      And this is just what she cultivated coming back for her. She built a big following by being a “feminist” “socially aware” comic. She intentionally cultivated a fanbase among mostly liberal, socially concerned people. Those types of people who generally don’t take kindly to bad racial humor or related stuff. Her Hispanic joke is dumb and offensive. It’s not clever, it doesn’t turn any stereotypes around, etc. It’s basically “Hey, Hispanic men are rapists, hehe!” I say let her feel some heat. She made the bed, now go lay in it.

    • KA says:

      A lot of eyebrows are raised about male comedians. And rightly so.

      There’s a difference between expecting someone to be a Perfect Social Justice Warrior, and hoping for them to avoid racist arsehattery, no?

  21. OTHER RENEE says:

    It’s amazing that she gets to make jokes about other people but gets upset when Glamour mentions her name on the cover of their Glamorous at Any Size issue. Ha! Sensitive much?

    My 21 year old daughter keeps trying to convince me how hysterical Amy is and I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. She’s just not funny and I never laugh at her jokes.

    • Lisa says:

      lol, good point. The rules only apply when she’s the one firing away, just like Tina Fey.

      I thought her imitation of Blake Lively was pretty funny, but that’s all I can say for her.

  22. Dizzybenny says:

    I used to like her, but after the copying of jokes from other comedians(please see on Youtube for the proof) thing, I cant stand her.
    She makes jokes that she’s a tramp but if you make fun of it, she gets all high and mighty.
    See ya Amy!!

    • Karen says:

      Trainwreck was one of the worst movies ever. My husband and I could not wait to leave. I had heard about her and was so disappointed. I like smart edgy humor. She is not smart and not funny. Has amazing publicists.

  23. Ashley says:

    I’ve been a fan for years and I think what I’ve realized is that she, personally, is kind of intense and unbearable after a while, but her sketches are pure brilliance, all the time. Amy Schumer as a character is funny, Amy Schumer as a person is kind of jarringly similar to her character, which isn’t such a funny reality.

  24. Tonka says:

    Amy Schumer is the very definition of “selective outrage”. I enjoy the show (usually) but her hypocrisy is getting old. Very, very old.