After completing the first season of Inside Amy Schumer, the show’s head writer wasn’t sure whether a second season would be greenlit.
"It’s terrifying. It’s really scary,” Jessi Klein says. “You can kind of get better at handling that anxiety, and I think I have gotten better at it, but you know, there’s always a little part of me that feels like, ‘Oh God, am I just going to sit here and the phone is never going to ring again and do I have any talent and do I have anything left to say?’ That gloom and doom is always a cloud that’s [in] the corner of the horizon.”
The show of course did end up getting picked up for a second season — there have now been four. But during that time, Klein harvested her feelings of uncertainty for a book of personal essays.
Klein is coming to the Dallas Museum of Art to talk about You’ll Grow Out Of It as well as her success in the comedy world. The book covers subjects from dating to the pressures that come along with giving birth “the right way.”
Klein says “Get the Epidural,” which appeared as an op-ed in The New York Times, is the essay she is most proud of. “I was really proud of writing something that I felt like could make a difference in the way women think about their pregnancy or labor,” says Klein, who is the mother of a 2-year-old.
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Klein has a real knack for writing for women. She wrote for Saturday Night Live for one year and says the job was tough because it was so competitive, but one skit did land on air. “Brownie Husband” was a riff on a Duncan Hines commercial, where Tina Fey is seen eating chocolate molded into the shape of a man. Klein says she was inspired by the outlandish brownies commercials featuring women who look like they are having sex while eating the chocolate.
The fact there are women in comedy seems to always be a topic of conversation. Questions about how they work, what they’re writing and talking about, and whether they are taking over the industry are constantly posed to women comics and writers. Schumer is one woman who has chosen to actively engage in this conversation, but Klein says she’s more eager for it to become irrelevant.
“I would love for there to be a day where the gatekeepers of movie studios and TV networks don’t think about whether a story is too female or if men will like it. I would love for that to be the reality. That is not currently the reality,” she says. “And part of the reason that isn’t the reality is because there haven’t been enough female writers and directors and executives in places of power to kind of make that so. I think the more that we have, the closer we get to that day coming.”
Hear Jessi Klein speak Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. Tickets are $20 to $40 at dma.org.