‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Writer Jessi Klein Talks Women in Comedy
It’s undeniable that some of the best comedians in the game right now are female, and with blockbuster movies like Snatched and Rough Night, you might assume that it’s a pretty good time for women in comedy. But Inside Amy Schumer head writer and author Jessi Klein respectfully disagrees. “I don’t think it’s great, but I’m trying to get zen about it,” she recently said by phone. The comedian’s latest attempt to shift the balance includes a new series of comedy shorts for the retailer Loft, in which she sends flowers to herself, dismisses a plant gift from a friend, and attempts to dress for a garden party. Here, Klein gets candid about female comedians, book club, and of course, The Bachelor.
You dedicated a whole chapter of your book, You’ll Grow Out of It ($15; amazon.com) to The Bachelor. What did you think of the most recent season?
Well, I have intel from people around L.A. who’ve told me they’ve seen Nick with Vanessa. I’m like, “That’s interesting because it seems like they had very much broken up already when they appeared at the end of the show.” I’m not sure what’s going on with those two.
Were you Team Vanessa or Team Rachel?
To be honest, I was Team Shark at the beginning—Shark all the way. If I was going to go on The Bachelor, I would be in a fish costume at the beginning, 100 percent. And I genuinely thought she was funny and charming. I got written out of the bracket pretty early. My husband and I watch it together, and it pains me to give him credit, but he picked Vanessa on night one. He knew.
Are you excited to see Rachel as the next Bachelorette?
I’m very excited about that pick. I’m just worried that there’s not a man they would have on the show that would be good enough for her. She’s way saner than any of the women they’ve ever had on. We’ll see if that creates a rip in the fabric of our universe.
What are you reading right now?
I’m trying to adapt a book of essays for TV called Meaty by a writer named Samantha Irby ($12; amazon.com). It’s about this woman’s amazing life story growing up in Chicago—both of her parents passed away in her teenage years, but she’s really funny. It’s very intense but truly hilarious. Most of the other books I’m reading are for kids under three years old. My kid really loves the pigeon books by Mo Willems. I could recite a lot of books about this pigeon by heart.
I’m not currently in a book club. I’ll let that be an open invitation to the universe to let someone invite me. I’ve never been asked, sadly, which is maybe a bad sign.
Will you ever write another book?
I’ve started to try to organize my thoughts. I had to let some time go by. After childbirth, there’s a reason you forget how much it sucks, otherwise, you would never have another child. I’m not having another child, but I might write another book, which is very much like having a child, in a sense. It’s your baby.
Would you ever consider returning to stand-up?
I’m kind of dying to do stand-up again. I was talking to another female stand-up comedian I know who had a kid and she said the first year is just a wash in terms of your own life, and that very much turned out to be true. But I feel ready now. I’ve lived enough of another chapter that there’s new material to do.
Who are some of your favorite comedians right now?
Ali Wong does really amazing stand-up. Phoebe Robinson is great, too.
You’re pretty active on Twitter. Do you enjoy social media?
I want to get off of it because I realized I was getting really addicted. I think we’d all be better off if we spent a little less time at this point in our lives on Twitter. It’s okay to check—I think it’s a decent tool—but it can start to become corrosive to your brain. As I writer, I think there’s a lot to be said for thinking [laughs]—not looking at your phone and being comfortable with letting thoughts come in and out of your head without them coming off a feed.
Many people are saying that it’s a great time for women in comedy. Do you agree?
For the most part, no. Women get trolled and harassed online in ways that can be really intense. But I think there’s a lot of amazing women doing really incredible work and dealing with some not ideal circumstances with a tremendous amount of bravery, so I’m all for that.
Watch Klein’s ad campaign for Loft above.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.