Play Ball! Comedian Amy Schumer Plays Not My Job
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
And now the game where bad things often happen to good people. It's called Not My Job. Through a series of televised roasts and stand-up specials, Amy Schumer became one of the country's best-known female comedians, although she hates being referred to that way. So we're pleased to welcome the star of "Inside Amy Schumer," the country's best known girl comedian...
SAGAL: ...Amy Schumer.
SAGAL: How are you, Amy?
AMY SCHUMER: Hold on, let me - where is a well I can push you in when I need one?
SAGAL: I know. It is true though, you don't - I've seen other interviews with you. You really don't like that, so what's it like being female comedian?
SCHUMER: That's not true. I - do you know what? I completely identify as female, believe it or not.
SCHUMER: Yes. I've got all the parts.
SCHUMER: I love being referred to as a female comedian. I don't like when people tell me that they don't like female comedians. That's my only issue with it...
SCHUMER: ...When they go, don't like female comics, but you're funny. And you're like, well, who've you seen? And then they have nothing to follow it up with, and then you realize that they've never met a real woman.
PAULA POUNDSTONE: And the question, though, that people say all the time - what's it like being a female comedian? Like, it's such a strange question.
SCHUMER: I know.
POUNDSTONE: ...I don't know how to - I've never known how to answer that question.
SAGAL: Well, it's like being...
POUNDSTONE: You know, I say, well, I pee sitting down.
SAGAL: Are you funny when you do that?
POUNDSTONE: Oh, man.
SCHUMER: People say, you're the funniest girl comedian. It's like, well, what about just comedian? Do you say, oh, you're my favorite black person?
SCHUMER: Like, you're allowed - sorry, I know you guys don't like to talk about black people on NPR.
SAGAL: No. I wanted to talk to about your show, Amy, because I did not know it. I've sort of had a crash course. I've been watching it all week.
SAGAL: But what's great about the show is - well, could you describe the - it's a sketch show, but there seems to be sort of a consistent theme. You play a variety of characters, and you're very good. But a lot of the characters are about a woman named Amy, and this person Amy is hilarious but not all that pleasant.
SCHUMER: Right, like real people.
SCHUMER: There are all these characters. I mean, I've got a terrible person in me just as much as anybody else, and I think - I like to think I also have a really good person in me. I mean, right now nobody's in me. I'm just sitting here alone.
SAGAL: OK. I'm always interested in how comedians got started. Do you remember the kind of material you did when you started out as a comedian?
SCHUMER: Yeah, and I'm still proud of a lot of my jokes when I started. But they were - I had a joke where I said that my boyfriend is always turning the lights on, you know, before we make love. And I shut them off, and he puts them on. And then, the other day he's like, why are you so shy? You have a beautiful body. And I said, oh my God, you're are so cute, you think I don't want you to see me.
SCHUMER: That was one of the earliest ones.
O'ROURKE: That was mean. That was mean.
SAGAL: I have to ask you this...
SCHUMER: Oh, P.J., are you still here? I thought you were hiding under the desk.
SAGAL: A lot of your comedy is about you as a failed person who dates, you know, you're constantly having these hilarious misadventures with men and failing. Do guys who you are interested in dating, are they nervous? Is it like, like, dating Taylor Swift? 'Cause anybody who dates Taylor Swift is like, I'm going to be a song, aren't I?
SAGAL: And with you, it's like, I'm going to be a sketch, aren't I?
SCHUMER: Yeah. And that's - and I always think that's so sweet that they think they're interesting enough...
SCHUMER: ...That I'll want to write about them. But rarely, that rarely happens now.
SCHUMER: And, yeah. No. You know what - the truth is, whoever I've dated, if I've ever wanted to talk about them on stage, I've asked them first, and I've gotten their permission to tell a story or talk about them before I do it. That's the truth.
SAGAL: Well, that's very nice of you. You did a hilarious bit, I think it was in a stand-up special rather than your show, about dating a guy and going to bed with him and discovering that he was missing a certain part of his anatomy.
SCHUMER: Oh, my God, how are we going to talk about this?
SAGAL: I don't know.
SAGAL: But I'm going to try, and if it doesn't work, you know. All right. So...
SCHUMER: This will be fun. This will be really fun.
SAGAL: This will be fun. So you...
SCHUMER: Hey, I got...
SAGAL: ...And it's a very, very funny bit about how you're like, oh, my God. I mean, you just expect them to be there, and they're not there. The fact that I use a plural will indicate what I'm talking about.
SAGAL: So are you telling me, Amy Schumer, that before doing that hilarious great bit of stand-up, you called up the guy and said, hi, it's Amy, remember me? I was the one who shrieked in surprised, and I was wondering - I mean, did you do that?
SCHUMER: I did not shriek in surprise. I played it very cool...
SCHUMER: ...You know, I'm not a math wizard, but I do know that there were only half of what should've been present there.
SCHUMER: Well, first of all, I played it so cool that I didn't even mention it in the moment. I called a week later and asked, hey, where was this at?
SCHUMER: And, you know, I like hide and go seek as much as the next girl, but it would've been nice to know. And he said, yeah, and we talked about it. And then I wanted to talk about it on stage. And I called and I asked him, and he said, go ahead, as long as I don't say his name and, you know, Ryan, wherever you are...
SCHUMER: No, but he said it was fine.
POUNDSTONE: Was it Ryan Clopnick? Oh, my gosh.
SCHUMER: Yes. You know him? He's great.
POUNDSTONE: Yes. Yes. Onsie - it's my friend Onsie.
SAGAL: Amy Schumer, it is a real pleasure to talk to you. And we have invited you here today to play a game, this time we're calling, Play Ball. It was the first week of baseball season. Thank God.
SAGAL: So we're going to ask you three questions about the House of David baseball team, one of the weirdest teams in the history of baseball. Get two right, you'll win our prize for one of our listeners. Carl, who is Amy Schumer playing for?
CARL KASELL, BYLINE: Amy is playing for Fiona and David Sutherland (ph) of Southbury, Connecticut.
SAGAL: All right. You ready to play?
SCHUMER: Yes. I'll do my best for you guys.
SAGAL: Now the House of David baseball team was a traveling team in the first half of the 20th century. And according to an article we saw at the "Need Supply Co." blog, the House of David team was known and soon became nationally famous because of what quirk? A, every time they got a base hit, they would stop to pray on the base path, resulting in a lot of outs.
SAGAL: B, all the players wore very long hair and are even longer beards, or C, they would line up after the game and apologize to their opponents for winning.
SCHUMER: Those are all pretty good. I'm half Jewish, so I have half confidence here. I am going to say B...
SAGAL: B, they wore long hair, long beards?
SCHUMER: ...The long hair and long beards. Yeah.
SAGAL: You are correct.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
POUNDSTONE: All right.
SAGAL: They had long hair, long beards. Although - and it's an easy mistake to make, 'cause they were called the House of David, and they had beards, but they were not Jewish. They belonged to an evangelical millennial cult in Michigan.
SAGAL: But one of the rules of this cult was you can't cut your hair or your beard. All right. In addition to being credited with staging the first night games in baseball, the House of David team also featured what baseball innovation? A, instant replay. In those days, they just had actors who would come out on the field...
SAGAL: ...And reenact the play in slow motion. B, female players who were required to wear fake beards, or C, performance-enhancing drugs, namely a Vim and Vigor tonic, they also sold up in the stands.
SCHUMER: That's really hard. I'm guessing that these guys like to keep their women in their, quote-unquote, dugout. So let's go C, I think.
SAGAL: You're going to go with C, the performance-enhancing drug known as the Vim and Vigor tonic?
SCHUMER: Yeah. And I need to write that down. That sounds great.
SAGAL: Vim and Vigor tonic. That's with a V. No, actually it was B. They had women players...
SAGAL: ...They were remarkably politically liberal for their time. They had women players, they had African-American players - long for the major leagues did. But as per their rules, everyone had to have a beard, real or fake.
SAGAL: All right. Now this is exciting. You have - it's bottom of the ninth, whatever metaphor you want. You can get this one right, you'll win. The House of David team, at that point again, pretty famous and successful - they put out an offer to Babe Ruth, who at that time had retired from the Yankees. Ruth's manager replied that Ruth would not play with the team. Why? A, because he had died six months before.
SAGAL: B, because of a childhood accident in the orphanage with some hot wax, he could not grow a beard, or C, there was no way Babe Ruth would ever take a vow of temperance?
SCHUMER: I'm going to go with C. I don't think the Babe would take that vow.
SAGAL: You are exactly right. That's what happened.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: The manager told the team the Babe would never give up his beer and his liquor as all House of David players were required to do. Carl, how did Amy Schumer do on our quiz?
KASELL: She's a winner. Two correct answers, Peter.
SAGAL: Well done, Amy.
SAGAL: Congratulations. Amy Schumer is the creator and star of "Inside Amy Schumer." You can watch the second season Tuesday nights on Comedy Central. Please do. It is hilarious. Amy Schumer, thank you so much for joining us. What a pleasure to talk to you.
SCHUMER: Thank you.
POUNDSTONE: Thanks, Amy.
SCHUMER: Thank you so much for having me.
SAGAL: In just a minute, Carl talks to Flipper in the Listener Limerick challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. Support for NPR comes from NPR stations and Progressive Insurance, with insurance for cars, boats, motorcycles, RVs and commercial vehicles at 1-800-PROGRESSIVE and Progressive.com. Angie's List - providing reviews of local roofers, painters, landscapers and plumbers to keep the consumer informed. More at AngiesList.com. And Arizona State University with more that 60 campus degrees, now available 100 percent online at online.ASU.edu. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT ...DON'T TELL ME from NPR.