By: Jonathan Van Meter
Teterboro Airport is located just twelve miles from midtown Manhattan in that uniquely unlovely part of New Jersey that gives the state a bad name. But it is the place one must go to if one is lucky enough or rich enough or famous enough to fly private. On a Thursday morning in late April, I meet Amy Schumer and her entourage in a lounge there to board Schumer’s rent-a-jet as she heads off on tour for the weekend, and as she walks through the lobby toward me to say hello—in yoga pants, a plaid flannel shirt, and an orange ski hat—her younger sister, Kim Caramele, who is trailing behind her, peels off and takes a seat on a sofa far across the room. Schumer sits down facing me and then suddenly notices her sister in self-imposed exile. “Kimberly! It’s weird for you to be sitting over there. We’re not doing an interview.” Kim walks over to introduce herself, and as she is saying hello to me, Amy says, “Shut up! I’m being interviewed!”
This reminds me of a famous Don Rickles gag. One night Rickles was having dinner in a swank restaurant with a pretty lady when he ran into Frank Sinatra and persuaded him to come say hello to impress his date. “Hello, Don. How are you?” said Sinatra as he dutifully dropped by their table, to which Rickles barked, “Can’t you see I’m eating, Frank?!” I bring this up to point out that, while the subject of much of Schumer’s stand-up material is radically, shockingly modern, in some ways she has more in common with the comics of stand-up’s golden years than she does with those of her own generation. Indeed, just after Joan Rivers’s death in 2014, Schumer gave a hilarious and moving speech in which she essentially said that Rivers was the reason she got into comedy. “I carried her with me for as long as I can remember,” she said that night onstage, choking up.
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