Amy Schumer on how she's raising son Gene to be a 'really strong feminist'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
Amy Schumer (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
Amy Schumer (Photo: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Amy Schumer’s son Gene is just 14 months old, but she already knows one thing about how he’ll turn out.

“I know I want to raise him to be a really strong feminist,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment. “I mean, I was pregnant with him when I got arrested [for protesting ahead of] the Supreme Court confirmation [of Brett Kavanaugh, whom several women accused of sexual misconduct]. He’s gone to some protests with me here.”

The comedian and actress says Gene, whose dad is Schumer’s husband Chris Fischer, is also going to grow up learning about the Black Lives Matter movement, which she supports wholeheartedly.

Schumer’s arrest and her pregnancy experience — frequent morning sickness and all, because of a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum — are documented in HBO Max’s new, three-part show Expecting Amy. Viewers see her throw up, deliver stand-up sets at various venues (sometimes throwing up right afterward) and, in one of the show’s most tender moments, react to the news that she’s expecting. It is intensely personal, funny and sweet.

The show, like Schumer, is outspoken. There’s no holding back, and that’s by design. The Trainwreck star and her husband taped, by her estimate, 90 percent of it. They didn’t even know if they’d ever use the footage, which means there was never any pressure. It wasn’t until they showed their family project to director Alexander Hammer, who edited Beyoncé’s Homecoming, that they realized they had a show in there. The “genius filmmaker” turned it into something they’re “so proud of,” although watching back some of the scenes was... uncomfortable.

“Hell yeah,” Schumer says. “Alex would send us cuts, and I think he thought we’d be like, ‘That’s too cringey. I’m too ashamed,’ but we just said, ‘Let’s keep it all in.’ I’m not proud of every moment in the doc by far, but if we’re gonna really do this, we’re gonna really do it... It was like, ‘Let’s show all the ugly, embarrassing stuff too.’”

It was worth it to Schumer to tell a story that she hopes will entertain and maybe even help viewers.

“For some people, I hope it’s just interesting to see a documentation of a comedian forming a special and how I form my jokes. And then for some people, it’s like an inside look into somebody being diagnosed with autism or a difficult pregnancy,” says Schumer, who revealed in 2019 that her husband had been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. “I also think it just shows how strong women are and what we go through, like the pain and the discomfort and the shame that we’re supposed to feel about physical things we go through that we can’t help. I think all of those things could be really important takeaways, so there's a lot of different aspects to the doc that I hope are helpful to people.”

Besides, Schumer has never been one to avoid the awkward conversations. She’s known for her jokes about vaginas and periods, subjects which continue to make some people uncomfortable.

In a new campaign for Tampax, Schumer went out and asked people where they first learned about the menstrual cycle. It’s the first in a series of videos meant to educate people about periods, to get them talking about something perfectly normal that somehow makes some squirm.

“My periods are really painful, and my mom’s were too. She would really complain about it, and she wasn’t ashamed, and so I wasn’t ashamed,” says Schumer, who suffers from endometriosis. “I think we get a lot of that from our parents. And I remember in classrooms, being like, ‘I have to go to the bathroom. I have to change my tampon.’ I just never felt any shame about it.”

Schumer said she learned all about periods and sex after watching a certain ‘90s TV staple.

“I remember watching 90210 with my mom and asking if people could have sex with their clothes on,” Schumer says, “and she turned off the TV and turned to me and told me all about everything. It changed my feeling about myself and about 90210.”

So young Gene can expect some serious honesty from his own mom.

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