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Expecting Amy: Making a Baby and a Stand-up Special Simultaneously

Amy Schumer had a tough pregnancy, but she’s a comedian and a really funny one, so even through Hyperemesis, you’ll laugh and enjoy Expecting Amy, her new 3-part docu-series on HBOMax.

The show follows Schumer through her pregnancy and as she builds a Comedy Special for Netflix, and the similarities between the two gestations is fascinating.

Growing a Baby and a Stand-up Special at the same time

As her baby grows, Schumer tracks his progress with the What to Expect When You’re Expecting App, we get to peek at the ultrasounds along with her, and we watch her belly expand.

At the same time, we watch her refine her stand-up set, making appearances at a small comedy club in New York night after night, and at bigger venues around the country, each time iterating the jokes until she feels they’re ready for the big show.

“I’ve Never Seen this Story”

Schumer draws on her life to create the jokes she tells so well, so this time it’s all about being pregnant, having hyperemesis, and even the journey to her husband Chris Fischer getting a diagnosis on the Autism spectrum. With a little bit of activism thrown in.

While her general goal in life is to make people laugh, she felt that the story of her pregnancy and her baby’s birth might be helpful in some way. “I’ve never seen this story,” she said. And the response has been “really cool.”

She’s heard from other Moms who’ve been grateful she did the show, since telling all pregnancy stories helps normalize talking about problems and issues we’ve all faced.

I was grateful to be able to watch the show with my sons, both of whom were born by C-section, just like Schumer’s baby. The birth scene was a revelation to them. I’d never thought about it, but the concept of a c-section was just foreign to them, whereas for me it was shorthand.

A Raw, Personal Story

Remember what it was like being pregnant? There are incredibly emotional ups and downs we all go through, and Schumer goes through all that on camera. Besides having a professional film crew around, both she and her husband used their iPhones to capture moments in their lives, giving the show an especially intimate feeling.

Asked whether she felt at any point the narrative had become too personal, and if she had felt the need to pull back in the editing process, she said that whenever she was worried about some event being too personal to film, she and her husband came up with a kind of a mantra: “We might not even use this.”

Saying that gave them permission to film everything and treat it all like a first draft, without self-censorship in the moment. After all, it wasn’t live and if they didn’t want to include in the final version, they wouldn’t.

Once they began the editing process in collaboration with filmmaker Alexander Hammer, his input shifted the way they felt about some of the footage. He convinced Schumer to keep some scenes in the show, like some scenes of the couple fighting, that were very raw and personal, because he felt it really told the story. And Schumer agreed.

A note about Nausea:

Schumer spends a lot of time in this series vomiting. A lot. Because she was really sick. Hyperemesis is no joke. She was hospitalized a couple of times in the course of the show because she was so dehydrated, and tried probably every medicine known to science, but to no avail.

I spent quite a bit of time either avoiding looking at the screen while she was throwing up, or feeling so sorry for her as she did so. Poor thing!

That said, if you have a problem seeing that kind of thing, maybe this is not the show for you. It’s certainly not my favorite thing, but I love Amy Schumer enough to watch. For me, seeing her process was fascinating, and I’m a sucker for a birth story.

Expecting Amy is now available to stream on HBOMax. Photos courtesy of HBOMax, used with permission.

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