LOCARNO – “Hello, everybody!” gushed Amy Schumer. bursting into Saturday’s press conference room at Switzerland’s Locarno and applauding herself. “Well, thank you!”
And for the next 27 minutes, sitting beside her sister Kim Caramele, who played straight gal at the conference and takes an associate producer credit on “Trainwreck” – two or more Amy Schumers fielded questions from the international press as she tub-thumped the Judd Apatow-directed “Trainwreck” hours before Saturday’s European premiere.
There was her feted comic persona, the ditzy femme airhead, known from Comedy Central’s “Inside Amy Schumer” and the – one presumes- much more real life person shooting from the hip, and still often very funny, on herself, gun control (well-less funny on that one), working with Judd Apatow, “Trainwreck,” humor and multiple other topics. Schumer was very fast, could answer comically without missing a beat, did not disappoint.
“Trainwreck” played to Europe’s press Friday night to consistent laughter at what will probably be the most-attended press screening at Locarno.
Remarkably then, at the “Trainwreck” press conference, the room was not packed to the rafters. It may be that, just as in the U.S. with “Inside Amy Schumer,” word on Schumer will take some time to grow outside the U.S – maybe until the international roll out of “Trainwreck” at least. Schumer gave ample indication, however, in 27 minutes, of why she is one of the most talked about – and talked-up – comedians in the U.S. This was an Amy Schumer show, low-key, but high-quality, for the initiated.
Sometimes, she was in or out of type — or into another persona — in one and the same answer. “Do you find it sexy getting a laugh?” a journalist asked. “Sexy? Personally, it’s the only way I achieve orgasm,” she drawled. Then more seriously: “No: When people have sex they should focus on what they’re doing.”
When asks two questions: “O.K., cool, so this is a two-part question,” before talking eloquently on the difference between film and TV – the latter, you shoot many more scenes; in film, it was more “relaxing” playing just one character.
When asked a one-part question by Variety: “Thank God, that [other two-part question] was just impossible” before talking cogently about her new movie project, a mother-daughter comedy, which she is writing with Carmele, reworking a Katy Dippold (“The Heat”) draft screenplay for Fox, Paul Feig producing,
The Locarno presser was also part of a larger train of humor, and controversy. Schumer was recently slammed by “The Guardian” for rolling out an old joke on a recent Tweet: “.” In Switzerland, Schumer took time of for ironising of being called a female comedian – “people don’t say: ’He’s a male comedian’”– to explain, as if she had just been forced to perform a crash-course in race relations – that when she used the word “black” “a black person is someone who does not have white skin.”
And sometimes, it was just straight up. How does she feel about being a feminist icon? “I’m proud to be a feminist. I think everybody in this room is proud to be a feminist. I’ve just got an email from Gloria Steinem. I still cannot believe I’m in a position to communicate with her.”
On “Trainwreck”: “I think people were surprised to see it’s a love story. And the film’s about her character finally gaining a sense of self-respect, that she’s worthy enough to be loved.
On gun control: “What is going on in Congress is really frustrating” and the lack of gun control is about “money.”
There were also, just occasionally, times when her multiple personas and desire not to alienate “Trainwreck” audiences may have clashed. “How does she feel about being famous?” Schumer was asked. On this occasion, at least, she did meet a beat. She hesitated: “I feel…bowled.”
Then she was off into the Locarno early evening cauldron heat, leaving journalists with the sense that they might just have caught her before she becomes an media icon. Though, as Schumer had it, “Anybody who thinks they’re an icon must be mental.”