The acclaimed creator and star reflects on a new series that dives deep into the power of emotional trauma
It’s been a very eventful few months for Amy Schumer. Apart from sharing emcee duties with Wanda Sykes and Regina King at the slap-tacular Academy Awards, the former star of the Emmy- and Peabody-winning sketch show Inside Amy Schumer just recently got back in the series game on Hulu/Disney+ dramedy Life & Beth.
Also the writer and/or director of most of the 10 episodes, the comedian-actress plays the title character, a personally and professionally successful wine distributor prompted by several major shocks to try to reconcile with her past... shown in frequent flashbacks to her teen years. Co-stars include Susannah Flood, Violet Young, Kevin Kane, Laura Benanti and Canadian Michael Cera.
Disney+“I think that Beth’s definitely based on a side of me,” Schumer says, “and I think one of the things that surprises people is that I actually am an introvert. And I think so many of us have these conflicting sides of ourselves. I, as myself, feel supremely confident... and also, I do consider myself as someone with really low self-esteem. I just think we’re all hopefully evolving and trying to become the best versions of ourselves, so I wanted to show that dynamic.”
Along with her own character, Schumer notes, “We wanted to also show a sort of more sensitive man. The toxic masculinity that we’re all raised with hurts everybody, so I thought it was a really great opportunity to introduce sort of a gentler character.”
Disney+Brampton-born Arrested Development star Cera maintains he was all for that, reasoning that “I don’t think that the show being driven by a woman has any real effect for me on the approach to a scene or anything. Amy’s talent is inspiring and invigorating, and it makes you want to meet her at her level, which is a good thing. As soon as you meet Amy, being invited to work with her kind of eliminates any intimidation. You just feel included and excited.”
Schumer explains Life & Beth came in large part from a desire to expose her “most vulnerable, darkest” self. “I always want to share that stuff because it also helps alleviate my pain about it, and it is sort of therapeutic. I’m careful about what I share about other people and always make sure that they greenlight it; whatever I’m writing, whatever I’m sharing, I make sure that it’s OK with them.”
Disney+“But in terms of me sharing stuff about myself, I’m sure I’ve shared more than some people would have cared for me to. I think it’s helpful, and it feels really great and powerful to feel like you might be making somebody laugh and feel better about themselves.”
Life & Beth streams on Disney+