Chris Pizzello / Invision
Rebecca Cabage / Invision
Mary Cybulski / Universal Pictures
Amy Schumer was riding back from a radio appearance in Seattle the other week when she asked the driver to stop and let her out.
After weeks on the road with the sold-out “Trainwreck Comedy Tour” — a never-ending cycle of plane rides and limos, hotel rooms and backstages — Schumer and her sister, Kimberly, just wanted to breathe fresh air. Outside. With everyone else.
No sooner did the comedian and her sibling/road manager step out in the Pike Place Market area, they were spotted, and surrounded.
“People were like, ‘Ahhh!’?” Schumer said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, right,’ and my sister was like, ‘Oh, right, you’re famous now.’
“So, we got out of there.”
This is what happens when you’re “the biggest deal in comedy right now,” as Tina Fey called Schumer in May, when she presented her with a Peabody Award (and a prolonged kiss, a la Madonna and Britney Spears) for her Comedy Central show “Inside Amy Schumer.”
“Not that I am getting used to it,” Schumer, 34, said of what this new level of fame has done to her everyday life. “But I don’t know. My sister was so bummed out that I was comforting her about it. Because it was everybody, like, asking for pictures and stuff and she was like, ‘Ahh!’
“And I was like, ‘I’m fine,’?” she said, a little wearily.
Schumer stirred the tea she had poured for herself when she came into the room, freshly made up and dressed in a black leather skirt, green top and what looked to be Toms shoes (better for walking from interview to interview).
Would a baseball cap help make things easier? Sunglasses?
“Nope,” Schumer said. “That does not do anything.”
So what works?
“Nothing,” she said. “(The attention) comes and goes, I know. But for a little while it will be weird.
“But yeah, I don’t like it at all.”
It’s likely to get worse before it gets better. Schumer’s new film, “Trainwreck,” directed by Judd Apatow, hits theaters on Friday.
It’s pretty formulaic comedy: Bad girl turns good with the love of a good man, played by Bill Hader.
But it’s smart, and funny, and chock-full of gifted comedians (and Schumer pals) like Colin Quinn, Dave Attell and Vanessa Bayer of “Saturday Night Live,” who were all part of her “Trainwreck” tour.
Basketball star LeBron James makes what you think is a cameo, but then hangs around to deliver some of the best scenes in the movie.
Schumer wrote the script two years ago, basing it on her own life of partying too hard and pushing people away.
“It was really about things that I was learning about myself at the time,” said Schumer, who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and still lives there. “Really real struggles. Things I didn’t realize about myself. I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, these are defense mechanisms.’ And I am afraid to accept love. And I do have trouble feeling lovable. And I feel like if somebody really sees the real me, they won’t like me anymore.
“And that’s stuff I didn’t realize before,” she said. “So I am two years into working on that. I’m not like, ‘I’m so glad I learned that and now I’m fine.’ It’s still a constant struggle.”
In that sense, the film isn’t just a conduit for laughs — it was a way for Schumer to work some things out, and hand the reins to someone else.
“I usually have full control of my TV show, so it was really nerve-wracking to put my trust in Judd (Apatow),” she said. “I would write him frantic, long emails: ‘Preserving who this girl is, is really important to me because people have such a low threshold for women being sexual and selfish and human. And I don’t want people to just dismiss her as a drunk and a slut.’
“And Judd was like, ‘Trust me.’ He delivered. He was good on his word. And so I think it was a trust-building exercise.”
That’s not an issue on her TV show, for which she brilliantly takes on feminist issues like how women fight for the right to use birth control; Hollywood’s long tradition of disposing of women after a certain age; and rape. No sooner do the sketches air than they’re circulated online, getting millions of hits.
And why not? Schumer presents like an everywoman — not too pretty, not too mean — parodying what women have been trying to get across for years.
“Humor is a tactic,” Schumer said. “It disarms people, and I feel like you kind of get to sneak in the back door.”
She credits much of the show’s success to head writer Jessie Klein.
“Meeting her is the luckiest thing that has happened so far, I think,” Schumer said, adding that they share the same sensibilities that are both “politically aware and passionate.”
At the same time, she added, they can tell you everything that happened on “The Bachelorette” last week.
“We have the same references that girls in their twenties have, because we are both stunted in that way,” she said. “But I have a pretty good awareness of what’s going on … People ask if there is pressure for you to be pushing feminism, and I’m like, ‘No! It’s just part of us.’ And you have to keep fighting.”
Schumer recalled a conversation she had with Gloria Steinem.
“She was kind of like, ‘Don’t get burned out. Do what you can do.’ Because it’s so easy to want everything to change so fast that you just get burned out. And I have felt like that a couple of times.
“But I remember her saying that and I’m like, ‘OK, just take a breath and do what you can.'”