Amy Schumer and Lena Dunham are both used to having hate flung at them on the internet like so many piles of monkey poo, taking a moment to process it, then going back to their cool, creatively fulfilling jobs and not really caring what some dumb egg said about them on Twitter. Schumer in particular is still recovering from her most recent dance with online controversy, after being dragged into the debate surrounding comedian Kurt Metzger—who has been a writer on Inside Amy Schumer—and his, let’s say, failure to come through as an ally after rape allegations surfaced at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater in New York.
Since then, Metzger’s made an earnest effort to learn why what he said was shitty, and the online mob has largely put away its pitchforks for the time being. Meanwhile, Schumer sat down—over Skype, as Schumer’s currently busy shaming hecklers who yell “show me your tits!” at shows in Sweden—for an extended interview with Dunham for Dunham’s weekly Lenny Letter, an e-mail newsletter that features interviews with interesting women.
The interview opens with an interesting tidbit for your next feminist comedy-themed trivia night: Namely, that Dunham and Schumer met when Schumer auditioned for the part of Shoshanna Shapiro on Girls. She didn’t get the part, of course—it’s hard to imagine anyone but Zosia Mamet as Shosh at this point—but she did leave an impression. “It was clear Amy wasn’t meant to play an innocent Juicy Couture lover obsessed with emoji — even if her Meatpacking District club lingo was the funniest shit I had ever heard,” Dunham writes. “But when she left the room, the vibe was very ‘Someone give that lady a show, STAT!’”
The interview itself is extensive and wide-ranging, covering Schumer’s recent pushback against being labeled “plus sized” by Glamour magazine and her pro-gun control efforts with her second cousin once removed, Senator Chuck Schumer. (Another little bit of trivia for you.) The interview then goes into depth about the Metzger controversy and Schumer’s role in it; the exchange goes on for several questions, but you can read the gist of Schumer’s thoughts below.
At first I was like, fuck Kurt. It’s been years that he’s been doing this. He’s one of those guys, like a lot of the guys that I’m friends with, who are degenerates. Kurt was saying this awful stuff, and in previous years, I would be like, “You’ve got to shut up.” He’d be like, “All right.” Then it would kind of go away. This time, it was just so bad. But also, why are these women treating him like he raped someone? He’s not Bill Cosby; Kurt has never raped. What he was saying was horrific, and he was being a troll. He can be an Internet troll. The fact that I had to answer for it … I was like, “Ugh, why this week?”
I do understand that [Kurt’s actions] would come back to me. I can see myself thinking that if I heard somebody on someone’s staff was doing that. I’d be like, “I wonder how they are going to handle that.” I get it. I get it, and I wasn’t even resentful of the connection. I was resentful of the lack of trust. Like, “Have I earned any good will with you guys? Do you believe that I feel that rape victims should be shamed on the internet?”
Everyone’s like, “No, we want to focus on the guy who said the mean thing.” It’s like, no, let’s focus on protecting women from these situations and getting these rapists to stop the raping.