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Amy Schumer unpacks the Oscars slap, addresses backlash over calling Will Smith slap 'traumatizing'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·6 min read
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Amy Schumer is unpacking her Oscars hosting experience.

From Will Smith slapping Chris Rock to getting death threats over the Kirsten Dunst seat-filler bit and how she felt sharing the hosting job with Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, the comedian candidly answered Howard Stern's many questions on the topic on his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday.

Amy Schumer poses on the red carpet wearing Oscar de la Renta during the Oscars arrivals at the 94th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 27, 2022. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
Amy Schumer, on Oscars night, addresses the backlash over calling the Will Smith slap "traumatizing." (Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)

The Life & Beth actress and comedian wasn't so eager to talk about the awards ceremony, which she described as a "s*** show," explaining she didn't want to be seen as "an a**hole who's trying to profit off this awful [situation]," which saw Best Actor winner Smith slap presenter Chris Rock over a G.I. Jane joke.

After all, she already faced backlash for her initial reaction, a day after the show, in which she described herself as feeling "triggered and traumatized."

"People made fun of me for saying it was traumatizing," Schumer told Stern. "I don't think it was traumatizing for me. I think it was traumatizing for all of us."

Schumer said that Rock "is my good friend — one of my best friends. To see your friend get hit?" But at the same time it also involved, "Will Smith, who I've loved. We've all loved forever. I don't remember a time I didn't think: I love that guy." So the violent display was "upsetting for so many reasons" and "upsetting to everyone," including "everyone at home who didn't see what I saw" from the vantage point of co-host. "It was shocking. It was a bummer."

Stern said, while watching, he wondered why Smith was allowed to collect his Oscars having "just assaulted" Rock.

Schumer said for her, "I just thought — maybe this is bad, I was in an abusive relationship years ago — Will Smith must be in so much pain... I felt bad for him too. That's probably not the right instinct but..."

She added that she had "no thoughts of how it affected me or my performance," as all the buzz around the show has been around Smith and not the winners or the fact that three women hosted for the first time in the shows history. "It was just upsetting as a person."

Schumer also talked about having the hair-pulling disorder trichotillomania. She said because of that, she understands how a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith's baldness, even though Rock reportedly didn't know she had alopecia, could be upsetting.

"An added layer [and] another reason I was triggered was because it was about Jada's hair," she said. "Hair loss. Growing up, not anymore, if someone talked about my hair it was like the biggest fear of my life. I'm sure that's a big deal for their family."

Schumer said Rock, who directed one of her specials, actually advised her before she hosted the Oscars, hyping her up for the big night.

"He's the best, I love him so much," she said. "He was like: You're Amy F****** Schumer. He kept ... encouraging me and firing me up," noting how it's especially challenging to be a woman in the industry because women aren't respected for past success and "people act like you've done nothing."

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Chris Rock and Amy Schumer attend the after party for the 2018 GOOD+ Foundation’s Evening of Comedy + Music Benefit, presented by Samsung Electronics America at Ziegfeld Ballroom on September 12, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for GOOD+ Foundation)
Chris Rock and Amy Schumer in 2018. (Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for GOOD+ Foundation)

Schumer also revealed that the reason she used social media to clarify that the Jesse Plemons and Dunst seat filler joke was a bit was because she "got death threats" over it from people upset she "disrespected" Dunst.

"They were so bad the Secret Service reached out to me about that bit," she said. "I was like, 'I think you have the wrong number. It's Amy, not Will,'" she quipped, adding the LAPD was also in touch with her over it. "The misogyny is unbelievable."

Schumer said she actually ran her jokes by anyone she mentioned ahead of the show. That included reaching out to Leonardo DiCaprio about her dig about him dating younger women ("Go ahead," she said was the reply), and King Richard star Smith as well as Serena and Venus Williams for her joke about it being inspirational "that after years of Hollywood ignoring women’s stories we finally get a movie about the incredible Williams’ sisters’ ... dad."

She added that she had no intention of telling the joke about Alec Baldwin and the Rust shooting at the Oscars — which she said during a recent stand-up show in Las Vegas. She explained that she had "evil horrible roast jokes that I can't help [are] in my mind," but she never would have said them on Oscars night — though she would, and did, during her standup in Vegas.

Stern also asked her if she was insulted that she wasn't asked to host the Oscars solo, seeing as how successful she is and how much starpower she has.

"I'm gonna be 100 percent honest: It was totally exciting to me to host with them, and I didn't want to host alone," she replied, but making it clear that producers "didn't offer it to me" as a solo gig.

"It was so fun getting to work with them and getting to do it," she continued. "I would feel comfortable doing it alone. But I just had such a good time with both of them. I just love them. Regina, I have just thought she is so funny for so long. Wanda is my good friend; she's killer... But I know what you're saying. I appreciate that."

She also talked about whether it was competitive with the three of them pitching their jokes and jockeying for time in the telecast.

"I really like collaborating — not to sound annoying," she replied. "And I didn't feel competitive at all. I work really hard and I know I'm going to be funny. I would write things and give out the best punchlines." However, she added, "I think everybody was a little nervous and wondering if we should be competitive — and everybody is bringing their baggage from their career and their life — and the two of them being women of color and me looking like someone that calls the cops," she joked, admitting she looks like "a Karen." But "in the end, it was really a joy."

With all she has going on with her new Hulu show, her upcoming Whore Tour, a guest role in Only Murders in the Building as well as a young son, she said the Oscars hosting job "was a privilege. For a comedian, I wanted to do it," especially after the COVID lockdown. "I feel like I'm 40, I had a my uterus taken out, I'm addressing my endometriosis... I feel like I'm in my prime and I wanted to do it."

However, she quipped that she's "just stopping emotional eating from the Oscars," which took place March 27, and is probably now only thinking about the Smith slap "four times."

"For a while, it was the only thing I was thinking about," she admitted.