Why I brought Amy Schumer on the plane with me
Last week I was on a flight from Duluth to Minneapolis. This is my favorite leg of any trip because my fellow passengers are always friendly and chatty despite being crammed in like sardines. I always do some of my best reading on airplanes because my phone is not distracting me, so I was engrossed in my new copy of "The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo" when I was tapped on the shoulder.
I looked up to find a middle-aged man staring back at me. He spoke with a southern twang when he asked, "Is that book any good?" This question got the attention of his friends who, noticing the photo of partially naked comedienne Amy Schumer on the cover, broke out laughing. They asked what he would be doing reading a book like that and he replied, "She's funny, that's the girl who tells all the dirty jokes."
I couldn't help but laugh listening to this exchange. The gentlemen continued to discuss more specific jokes told by Amy Schumer, but I will spare the details.
"The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo" is Schumer's autobiography. I enjoy reading autobiographies by other female comedians like Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. The authors share funny stories like their worst dates or most embarrassing moments along with how they got into the comedy business and got over their personal challenges. These books are usually pretty short with colorful cover art and don't look particularly impressive on your bookshelf. However, I would argue that I have gotten just as much, if not more, out of reading these celebrity autobiographies as I have from "Romeo and Juliet" or "The Scarlet Letter."
When I was reading "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" by Mindy Kaling, I was struck by how intelligent she was and how many failures she experienced before getting a job as a writer on "The Office." When reading "Bossypants" by Tina Fey I was saddened by the adversity she faced being a female in comedy and how she had to deal with the people who say women can't be funny. And while reading "The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo" I was inspired by Amy's persistence as she performed endless nights of stand-up in small clubs before getting her break. I was also taken aback by Amy's honesty as she described all the times she felt worthless and the ways she picks herself back up.
These books and these women have been valuable to me as a teenage girl because they are people I admire admitting to having realistic and relatable problems, as well as empowering solutions. "Romeo and Juliet" is the story of a girl who kills herself after losing her love, but Mindy, Tina and Amy talk about why you should love yourself first.
When I am watching these women perform their comedy on TV, my parents often ask me to turn it off due to the "colorful" language and "tasteless" jokes. It's true that they sometimes say things that I would not want to listen to while in the same room as my family. But these jokes are some of the more relatable ones I've heard. These women deserve crazy respect for pouring their hearts out to make the rest of us feel a little happier. I think we could all take a page, pun definitely intended, from their books.
The southern men next to me on the plane laughed at Amy Schumer's raunchiness, while I returned to reading about all of the different restaurants she waited tables in just a few years ago. I smiled at the way she made these adult men laugh. Tina Fey would be proud.