Photos courtesy of Movie Star News and Warner Bros.
When comic Amy Schumer does the talk-show circuit, promoting a new movie, book, or cable special, she makes sure that she comes to the set with scads of new material. Whether you find Schumer disturbingly hilarious or hilariously disturbed, she is not a performer who wants to show up, sit on the couch, and appear staid and reserved. She gained fame for her tell-all monologues — where she reveals secrets that used to be classified as too embarrassing to share with the public, or even with a really good close friend. Schumer has become an A-lister by portraying herself as a naturally smart but C+ student who knew that stacking up life experiences would count for more than getting good grades and being a good girl.
When she guests on late-nigh shows, like Jimmy Fallon’s or Seth Meyers’s, her discussions can get downright raunchy. When she pops up on afternoon talkfests, like Ellen’s chat program, she is a tad more palatable. However, on all the shows — whether they are a.m., p.m., or any time in between — she will make sure to bring up her personal hug. Yep, Amy Schumer, who is lauded for being shocking, hypersexualized, and wild and crazy, has a deep, abiding love for all things plush. In fact, she has a pack of pandas, bears, bunnies, and some unidentifiable creatures, all piled up on her bed, on her bedroom chairs, and in her dressing rooms.
“My boyfriend, Ben, hates them! He thinks they are disease-ridden,” Schumer told her talk-show celebrity hosts. “He looks at them and thinks they are carrying the plague or some other communicable disease. He is always begging me to get rid of them, but that is NOT going to happen. I love each and every one of them.”
Jimmy Fallon nearly fell out of his chair when he saw the snapshots of the hug that Schumer keeps on her phone. In fact, Schumer has even commissioned a portrait artist to capture the assorted animals. “I know that things can deteriorate over time, and in case anything ever happened to the animals, I want to have them preserved,” she explained. “I don’t think it’s weird at all. People commission portraits of their pets, their family, and their treasured possessions. What’s wrong with having your stuffed animals done as a painting? Why do people think that’s so ‘funny’?”
When a woman who has made millions of dollars, and has gained millions of followers on social media, by being outrageously funny questions the laughs that she gets when she talks about her collection, you know you’ve entered uncharted territory. Schumer did, indeed, hire the modernist visual artist Sandro Kopp to memorialize her critters. Kopp is German but resides in the Highlands of Scotland. He is the on-again, off-again boyfriend of Academy Award–winning actress Tilda Swinton.
Kopp skypes with his clients and then bases his photos on what he perceives through this digital communication. Schumer’s stuffed animals are mostly flea-market finds, having had prior lives before coming into her world. He did an oil painting of her favorites — the ones that line her bed — and she has not shared it with any of her followers. Here is a standup comic and actress who will reveal the most intimate details of a one-night stand, but she won’t release the painting that she now hangs over her bedroom’s nightstand. That’s quite telling!
Many of the stuffed animals that comprise Schumer’s hug have been with her since childhood. Talking about them with Fallon, she wryly said, “They helped me get through a very tough divorce.” Jimmy giggled and then said, “You’ve never been married! Why do you always joke?”
And it’s true: Amy has never wed, but she did go through a heavy, emotionally crushing divorce. Her parents separated when she was 13 years old, and her mother, who taught American Sign Language, signed the divorce news to her daughters. Mrs. Schumer had had an affair with Amy’s best friend’s father and felt that she wanted to pursue that relationship to its natural conclusion. Having a husband would not permit her to follow her heart. Amy’s dad, Mr. Schumer, was an alcoholic and a onetime skirt chaser. He also was living with multiple sclerosis. Watching her parents go their separate ways deeply impacted the young teen, and her stuffed animals presented a comforting sounding board. So, yes, the stuffed animals were not there to witness a bust-up of Amy’s own marriage, but were there when her folks upended her home life.
Talking about her boyfriend Ben Hanisch and his career as a furniture designer, Schumer revealed that it is like a “real-life version of Carrie Bradshaw and her furniture maker boyfriend, except that my leg weighs about twice what Sarah Jessica Parker’s whole body weighs!” Hanisch has developed a truce with the band of bears that dominate Amy’s life: “I am 100 percent genuine in my devotion to them. Ben has had to learn to accept that, and he is trying, but he does worry about the germs.” The critters are named Mouser, Bunny, Panda, Penny, and Pokey. A new member joined her most-favorite club when Ellen DeGeneres gifted her with a stuffed animal/stuffed doll hybrid (sort of like a Billiken) on her afternoon show. DeGeneres and her staff thought that the new addition resembled Schumer with her peaches-and-cream complexion and her rounded cheeks and face.
Grabbing the critter/creature and hugging it to her bosom, Amy Schumer looked like a woman at peace. It’s hard to believe that she’s the very same tough-talking, hard-living, fast-witted actress who makes movies that make many parents blush. All at once, she became a little girl once again. And it’s courtesy of a plush pal.