Stand-up comedy may be a male-dominated world, but right now one of the biggest names in the business belongs to a woman.
Returning to Las Vegas this weekend, Amy Schumer is quickly becoming one of the industry’s hottest acts, thanks in part to her scene-stealing performances on the “Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne” and the “Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen.” Fresh off her own Comedy Central special, “Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff,” Schumer brings her highly successful “Amy Schumer’s Slaughterhouse” back to the Riviera Casino & Hotel Nov. 30-Dec. 2.
“The idea behind [‘Amy Schumer’s Slaughterhouse’] is that for comedians, you want to kill. That’s your goal; you want to say, ‘I killed,’” Schumer explained. “So the idea behind ‘Slaughterhouse’ is that no one will get out alive.”
The show, which showcases “comedy’s most lethal ladies,” stars Schumer and features comedienne Jackie Monahan as the opening act. Examiner.com caught up with Schumer before one of her recent Vegas performances to talk about the show, her sky-rocketing career and, of course, what she likes to do when she’s in town.
“I like to hike at Red Rock,” Schumer said. “Jackie and I like to stay at the Encore and go to the spa. We workout, so we’ll find a yoga class. I like to box, too, so I’ll find a boxing teacher—an ex-fighter—who will train me. And we write. We do girl stuff during the day. We talk about how our moms could have done a better job, then we do the show at night and sometimes go out after and drink and dance. Sometimes we just come back to the hotel and watch episodes of ‘Glee’ and drink chamomile.”
Since part of Schumer’s draw is how she shocks audiences with her edgy material, it shouldn’t come as any surprise to hear how active she is in order to maintain her unsuspecting, cute, girl-next-door looks.
“If I’m getting ready to do something on TV, I try to clean up my act,” Schumer said when asked about her eating habits. “If I didn’t have the constant dread of being on television, I think I would be obese—like for real obese. As soon as the roast [of Roseanne] was over, I was drinking and eating pasta, then I found out I was going to do ‘The Burn with Jeff Ross’ two days later. So if you see that episode you’re like, ‘What happened? Was she stung by bees everywhere?’ So I try to cool it on the bread and the drinks, but then you’re like, ‘My body wants this bread; I should listen to my body.’ I tend to eat pretty healthy, though, and I workout—I workout hard. I would love to not have to do those things.”
Like everyone else, though, Schumer admitted to having her fair share of guilty food pleasures.
“Tomorrow we’re probably going to The Capital Grille, and god, they have this Coconut Cream Pie…. But really, you can justify things anywhere, especially during the summer. Like, ‘Well, I’m at a baseball game. I have to have a hot dog.’ You can say that every day. It’s like, ‘I’m never in a bagel place!’ Really, with every type of cuisine I can find an excuse to let the s@#t hit the fan.”
When asked what some of her favorite Vegas restaurants were, Schumer did have a couple of recommendations other than The Capital Grille.
“I went with Robert Kelly to the Peppermill once—that place is the best. No judgments there, and the menu is sort of like an encyclopedia,” Schumer stated. “The food is really good at the Encore, too. And actually, the Riviera has a steakhouse in it (R Steak & Seafood) that’s great. My filet was amazing. It’s really good. The atmosphere in there is dog s@#t, but the food is pretty incredible. It’s kind of nice, though, that it’s not such a scene—it looks like a prison cafeteria, but you get a great steak.”
While Schumer loves to make fun of the classic Vegas resort, in all seriousness, she said that the Riviera is her favorite place she’s played in Las Vegas.
“I just love the history,” she said. “I’m a comedy lover, so to see all those posters [of the classic acts who’ve performed there over the years], it’s just very cool—you feel like you’re a part of history. I hope they never take those down, not that they’re jumping at renovations over there. They’re not redoing a thing. It will just fall apart one day and they’ll be like, ‘We’re closed.’”
For those who saw Schumer’s Comedy Central special back in August, the comedienne said fans can expect to hear some of the same material during her Riviera shows, though “hopefully there will be less of that than more.”
“I taped that special at the end of June, so that’s not a long time to develop a whole new hour,” Schumer stated. “But I do have a bunch of new stuff that I’m really proud of. And I’ve been enjoying reading my roast jokes that were cut [from the ‘Comedy Central Roast of Roseanne’] because they were maybe a little too offside for TV.”
Like Roseanne, Schumer is paving the way for future female comics in the business, especially with her female-driven “Slaughterhouse” show. But one has to wonder, why aren’t there more female comedians making a name for themselves?
“I want to be like, ‘Cause the bookers are keeping us down!,’ but it’s not like that,” Schumer said. “There’s just a ton more men who keep fighting and doing it. I think women get weeded out. I remember reading this big article about female politicians and can you balance family and the perfect career and it’s like, no. The women who are doing the best in stand-up—people like Margaret Cho, Kathleen Madigan—they don’t have kids. Guys can go on the road and come back and see their kids during the week, but women can’t. So it’s like, okay, do you want to do this and die alone? And I’ve felt that pressure. You’re 31, what do you want to do? And it’s like f#@k, I want to keep doing this and I want to meet my full potential and I want to inspire other women to do it. And I hope to have everything one day—I’m still delusional enough to think that someday I’ll be able to balance it all—but it’s not on my mind or to-do list right now. I just want to do this. And I think that’s honestly why there aren’t more women in stand-up comedy. That may be offensive for some people to read and they’ll go, “Oh, but what about…,” but they won’t be able to think about anyone. It’s just a lot harder [for women].”
Given all of Schumer’s recent success, it should come as no surprise to hear that the comedienne is currently working on her own television series for Comedy Central, “Inside Amy Schumer.” The half-hour series will feature a mixture of “sketches, man on the street stuff, stand-up and hidden camera work” and will premiere in May after “Tosh.O.” While the show is definitely keeping her busy, the former “Last Comic Standing” finalist assured fans that she doesn’t plan on leaving stand-up anytime soon.
“It’s like an abusive relationship,” she joked. “I want to keep doing it forever. I plan to do it forever and keep getting better. I want to become really, really great at it, and I’m doing the work to do that, so there’s no reason that I should not do that unless something bad happens.”
At the rate Schumer’s going, it won’t be long before Comedy Central’s roasting her.
“Amy Schumer’s Slaughterhouse” runs Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at 10:30 p.m. inside the Riviera’s Starlite Theatre. Tickets range from $43.99-$65.99. Guests must be 18 years of age or older to attend the show. For tickets, click here.