Amy Schumer’s world has changed considerably since last sitting down with Howard in 2018. For starters, the acclaimed comedian now has an 11-month-old boy with her husband, award-winning chef Chris Fischer. Until recently the trio had lived in New York City, along with comedian and recent Stern Show guest Kyle Dunnigan, but after the onset of the pandemic they packed up and moved to Martha's Vineyard, the Massachusetts island where Chris is from.
“We like fled New York a couple weeks ago, but while we were in New York it was really awful. We were taking him outside less and less and then all of a sudden paparazzi were showing up because I think everyone else left New York and I was like the last person in town.” Amy told Howard on Tuesday's Stern Show.
Howard said he felt for young mothers who were struggling to cope during the outbreak and he wondered how Amy was holding up. “I’m worried, it sucks, but I’m okay,” she said. “After the baby you’re kind of just supposed to be with your family for a while, so I kind of feel like I was used to it.”
During the course of their conversation, Amy’s infant son Gene actually made an on-camera appearance. “Oh my goodness he’s so cute!” Stern Show co-host Robin Quivers exclaimed after catching a glimpse of the little guy.
“He is cute,” Howard agreed before asking about a story he’d read in which Amy and Chris legally changed the kid’s name sometime after he was born.
“It’s so embarrassing,” she said. Her son was originally named Gene Attell Fischer, with the middle name paying tribute to her great friend and colleague Dave Attell. About a month after Gene was born, however, Amy and her husband realized his full name sounded quite a bit like “genital fissure” if spoken too fast.
“You’re like the new parents, just kind of tired and in ecstasy … and I read it and I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” Amy said. “Me, who is like a filthy person, it never dawned on me.”
“That really lets you know what kind of parent I’m going to be,” she added with a laugh.
Amy and Chris eventually changed Gene’s middle name to David, but she told Howard she still feels guilty. “There’s so much wrong with it. It’s just awful,” she said, jokingly adding, “I am unwell. Like, I am not a fit mother or human who should be walking around the world.”
Amy said Dave Attell had been “really moved” by the gesture, so Howard wondered how they went about letting him know they’d decide to change Gene’s name. “I think he found out from the news,” Amy laughed. “It’s a never ending web of nightmares.”
While little Gene may not have started off with the best of names, he did start his life with a few friends in high places. Amy told Howard she’s enjoyed a relationship with Oprah Winfrey since the media mogul interviewed her as part of her 2020 Vision Tour and, while that gig didn’t result in a big payday, it did come with a few perks. “I had so much fun doing it and she was so sweet,” Amy said. “When Gene was born she bought him a library that said ‘Gene’s Book Club’ on it.”
Amy, Chris, and Gene are currently quarantining with their live-in nanny. As Amy explained it on Tuesday, the nanny is a full-time student from the Philippines who was merely working for them part-time until they fled to Martha’s Vineyard. They apparently whisked her away so quickly, it barely left their nanny time to pack a bag.
“We’re her family. It’s like, if she weren’t with us she’d be with her roommates,” Amy said, adding, “It is cool. It’s a way for her to make a bunch of money, and we’re comfortable, and Chris is a chef. It’s a pretty sweet, sweet setup and we’re all working as a team.”
The nanny does more than care for Gene, too. She’s also helping the family film their new Food Network series “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” in which Chris teaches his wife how to navigate the kitchen.
Amy described the light-hearted show for Howard. “I make jokes the whole time. It’s just us being ourselves. So, I’m like trashing him and he’s belittling me,” she said. “We lose focus, and we fight—it’s just ridiculous—and I make drinks, and then we’re kind of like half in the bag.”
“We shot it ourselves. Our nanny is the camera person,” she said, explaining they filmed the first season while Gene was taking his naps.
Howard wondered if she and her husband were considering having any more children.
“I hope so,” Amy said before opening up about how her first go-round was actually trickier than many people realized. She said she suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, a rare condition resulting in extreme morning sickness which sometimes left her vomiting for hours at a time.
“One in three babies die when the mother has it because you can’t keep any food down,” she explained, adding, “If you’ve ever had food poisoning, it’s truly that for nine-and-a-half months.”
Thankfully, things worked out for Amy and Gene in the end. “Seriously, once you meet your baby you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I would’ve been sick like that for 10 years just to meet you for an hour,’” she said.
She said the experience proved to be an eye-opener in more ways than one. “It was really hard for us, but we got through it,” Amy said, adding, “Everything I found out about how women are treated, medically, was really a bummer.”
Fans will soon be able to relive many of the comedian’s pre-natal joys and pains themselves in HBO Max’s “Expecting Amy,” a three-part documentary chronicling her pregnancy, her relationship with her husband, and the taping her Netflix stand-up special “Growing.” Amy likened the doc to repeat Stern Show guest Jerry Seinfeld’s 2002 film “Comedian.”
“I loved [that movie] where you follow him developing the special. So, it’s like, I wanted to make that and I happened to be pregnant,” she said. “We documented everything.”
Amy told Howard crafting material for a stand-up special is “a harrowing, slow process” and testing it out on stage can be equally grueling. “Can you still bomb on stage or are you too famous at this point?” Howard asked.
“No, I still bomb,” she said. “A couple months ago, I went up before Colin Quinn … I just felt like I was giving a lecture and Colin was in the back of the room just bathing in joy. He was just so happy and really enjoying seeing me bomb.”
Howard was perplexed. “Why do comedians enjoy that so much?” he wondered.
“What’s better than watching your friends bomb?” she replied. “It’s the best because you know that they’re up there and they’re just in physical pain.”
Amy conceded it’s difficult to write jokes from quarantine and she’s looking forward to returning to stand-up when the pandemic finally passes. “It’s such a luxury to spend this time with your baby, but, no, I will run away from the house screaming when I can go back on stage,” she said.
However, just because she can’t perform stand-up right now doesn’t mean Amy has pressed pause on her career. “I still have a TV show for Hulu, I’m still doing Zooms, we’re editing this documentary … I’m still, like working,” Amy told Howard, later adding, “I’m going to spread my seed all over this business.”
“Expecting Amy” is available on HBO Max, launching May 27, and “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” debuts Monday, May 11 at 10 p.m. ET on Food Network.