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Nerdette

Power Up: Amy Schumer And Aidy Bryant

Let’s be real: life can be hectic sometimes. You don’t need to tell that to Amy Schumer and Aidy Bryant, who have been traveling the country to promote their new movie, I Feel Pretty

So who better to try out our new project, Power Up, than two of the nation’s top female comedians? For Power Up, we're asking fascinating people to explain how they set themselves up for success in an exhausting world. 

Knitting? Bowling? Researching the presence of alternate dimensions? 

“I literally will say to myself out loud in the mirror, like, ‘You got this, bitch,’” Schumer tells Nerdette host Greta Johnsen. 

Schumer and Bryant also talked to Greta about what drew them to their new film, which is now in theaters. Below are interview highlights. 

We also want to know how YOU power up. Record yourself on your phone and email the audio file to nerdettepodcast@gmail.com.

Power Up: How Aidy and Amy recharge their batteries

Aidy Bryant: At least for me, and I actually think for Amy, too, although my job is to wear wigs and scream, I am kind of an introvert. Like, I’m not exactly comfortable at a party. It does not give me energy. It drains me in a major way. And so even though a big part of my job is being out there and doing shows, interacting with people, I need time alone — 100 percent. And that is when I think the best and I feel creative.

Amy Schumer: I literally will say to myself out loud in the mirror, like, “You got this, bitch.” You know? “You’re doing the best you can, bitch.” Or a quote I heard that I love is, “Love yourself like you’re your own mother.” Be gentle to yourself. And also realize that this, how you feel right now, isn’t forever. This is a feeling that will be replaced with another feeling. 

Bryant: Similarly, I feel like I go to, “Where does my value come from?” Like if I’m feeling low, what about me is valuable? And it’s always my writing, my mind, my comedy, my timing, my friends, who I am as a friend, and to my family and to my partner. And it’s never like, “Oh! The width of my arm! The shape of my butt!” It’s always the things that I’m so much more proud of, like my accomplishments and the things that I can do with my brain.

Schumer: But people like to keep women feeling bad and afraid, because nobody likes a confident woman. That’s very scary to people — a woman who actually likes herself.

Why they signed on for I Feel Pretty

Greta Johnsen: I feel like this is a really interesting movie, because in a lot of ways it has some similar tropes. You have a woman who kind of hates herself, hits her head really hard, wakes up, and all of a sudden thinks she’s super hot. Often those stories involve an actual, physical transformation. I’m thinking of She’s All That. But with this she looks exactly the same, and then you really do end up with a message that it’s just all about confidence. 

Johnsen: What did you guys think when you came across this project? 

Schumer: I was so into it. And it’s funny because it was pitched to me in a way of like — I’ll get offended by some things that get pitched to me. So my manager and my agent were like, “So. We. Got. This. Script?” And they said the premise and I said, “Oh my god, I love it.” And they described the scene where I would be revealing to my friends my new look, and it’s me. Still. 

It made me laugh so hard. And I think I have felt that way before. You kind of walk in a room the first time getting hair and makeup and you do that slow, makeover-show reveal, you know? And everyone’s like, “Yay?” Like you look the same. 

But this message, it’s like all the work I’ve been doing — standup or whatever — I just want to humanize people. We’re all disgusting. And it’s all about how you feel. And that’s exactly what this script was saying. 

I thought this might not work at all. This will either work or it won’t, and it might totally not work. But I really think it did. 

Schumer and Bryant in a scene from 'I Feel Pretty.' Photo Credit: Mark Schafer; Motion Picture Artwork © 2017 STX Financing, LLC. All Rights Reserved; Courtesy of STXfilms

Schumer: And you said yes because of the money?

Bryant: Yeah. I’m here for money and thanks.

Johnsen: [Laughs] Cool. Paid gigs are really important so that’s a good message, too.

Bryant: No, honestly I am here for cash, but I will say that I felt the same way that Amy did, that this was a movie that I would’ve wanted to see when I was 14 or 15. And I think it’s a radical message that I found later when I was in college. But I wish so deeply that it would’ve crossed my path — with the idea that, “Oh yeah, confidence mostly comes from your brain.” Not the width of your thigh. And that’s where you’re going to do the work and that’s what the movie is about. And, to me, that’s a great message to put out there.

Schumer: This movie’s what we can do right now. This is the message we’re saying. But we definitely think about what we’ve gone through. And if I were a person of color and I saw this premise, I’d be like, “Oh, is it hard for you? Oh you don’t feel included in Hollywood?” And I think that’s really fair. And we both just really want to do our part. 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. Click the “play” button to listen to the entire conversation, which was produced and adapted for the web by Justin Bull.

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