Kim Caramele is Amy Schumer’s sister. She’s also the most exciting new voice in comedy. The sisters share their love story with the Beast.”>
Kim Caramele is talking me through the shelf that houses her most prized possessions. Theres the Emmy and the Peabody that she won for her work as a writer and producer on Inside Amy Schumer, the hit Comedy Central sketch show that bears the name of her older sister.
And next to those trophies: a tiny wind-up figurine of an obese meerkat that poops. Caramele, who lives in Chicago with her husband and their three-legged dog when shes not working with Schumer on the show, can barely contain her laughteror even, really, her pridewhen she talks about the figurine.
After all, that pooping meerkat represents one of the most meaningful moments in her career. She (Dumpy the Frumpy Meerkat is a lady) played a starring role in the first sketch Caramele ever wrote when she joined, at Schumers request, the writing staff of Inside Amy Schumer for the shows second season.
The sketchs premise: Amy is offered a voice-over gig in an animated movie described as Charlies Angels, but with meerkats. To Amys delight, Jessica Alba and Megan Fox complete the trio. But shes horrified when she finally sees her character: Dumpys vagina is exposed because she doesnt wear pants, she cant control her bowels, and she says just one word: Worms!
Schumer was on a stand-up tour when the shows second season was about to debut, and would show the meerkat sketch to the audience during the set. Hearing people laugh when they first saw that fucking meerkat come out, I was just hysterically crying, Caramele says. Amy was standing in the back of the theater watching it with me. She put her arms around me and was like, See? I fucking told you. It was a big oh shit moment for me.
A round of told-ya-so would never be unusual between siblings. But for Caramele and Schumer, and at that moment, it was less a taunt than a symbol of mutual vindication. It meant that a monumental and risky life decision that the sisters had made togetherand for each otherhad actually, and unequivocally, paid off.
Caramele is, in some ways, known by a certain group of people for being Amy Schumers sister.
Schumer often walks red carpets with her, and alwaysalwaystearfully thanks her in speeches. Shes a constant figure on her sisters Instagram, usually labeled with the hashtag #roadmanager, and came onto Schumer fans radars in a major way when Brie Larson played a fictionalized version of her in Trainwreck, which borrowed from the sisters own lives and relationship.
What shell soon be known as, however, is one of Hollywoods most exciting comedy writers.
In addition to writing, producing, and occasionally acting on Inside Amy Schumerwhich launches Season 4 on Comedy Central on ThursdayCaramele helped write and was an associate producer on Trainwreck. She co-wrote that buzzy script with Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence, and is executive producing a mother-daughter comedy with Schumer that starts shooting in Hawaii next month.
The mom in that movie? Oh, just Goldie Hawn, who is returning to the big screen for the first time since 2002 to star in it.
On her own, without the involvement of her sister, she also has two film scripts that are in development and boasts a solo development deal with HBO. Kim Caramele could be the next well, the next Amy Schumer.
Shes a dick, Schumer deadpans when I call her to talk about her sister. Please, make that the headline. She then erupts into laughter and starts the story of why she decided that asking Caramele to work with her on Inside Amy Schumer wasnt something that she just wanted to do, but needed to do.
When Comedy Central ordered a sketch series from rising comedy star Amy Schumer in 2011, Caramele, despite being the youngest of the Schumer siblings (which also includes jazz musician brother Jason) also happened to the most grown up, at least on paper.
She had married the guy she began dating her freshman year of college, and the two were living together in Chicago. She had been working as a school psychologist for a few years, and had just taken a new job in a different school district when Schumer called her to ask if she would move to New York for three months to help her write the first season of Inside Amy Schumer.
Caramele, who had no grand dreams of being a writer but often helped Schumer with her stand-up material, was worried about taking leave from a job she just started, and declined. As a concession, she said that if the show happened to be a hit and happened to get a Season 2, shed consider heading to New York for that.
Isnt that such a Who the fuck do you think you are? thing to say? Caramele laughs. When Season 2 did get picked up, Schumer called her right away. She was like, Guess what, bitch? I was like, Alright.
But right before it was time for Caramele to leave her husband and dog for three months and move to the New York apartment Schumer, by her own admission, freaked out.
I remember being in some airport balling, hysterically crying on the phone with her that I was so scared that I was going to fuck up her life in some way, Schumer says. I wasnt totally sure she could do it. What if Im fucking with her life and it causes any problems in her marriage or she doesnt like writing or she doesnt succeed?
It all sounds like a crazy gambleCaramele was forced to resign from her job to do thisbut the sisters were remarkably self-aware about the entire leap: how it would affect their lives. The pressure to succeed. Even the intimidation factor, and the nepotism clearly at play.
I just felt like this weak younger sibling being toted around, Caramele says. I felt immediately guilty for even being there. Everybody was nice and welcoming, and I felt deeply like I hadnt earned it. Because I hadnt. I was absolutely there because I was Amys sister.
But by the end of the first year, Caramele earned the nickname The Closer because of her ability to perfectly craft the last line in a scene.
In fact, she proved so valuable that when she finished writing for Season 2, she was asked to stay on set and work as a producer. The same thing happened with Trainwreck: She started out just helping Schumer write, but Judd Apatow quickly noted her value and asked her to stay and produce.
Slowly, Caramele started to feel like shed earned her placeand, more importantly, earned the laughs she was getting. Nobody was self-preserving in their career enough to feel like they had to laugh because I was Amys sister.
The pressure she internalized the most, however, stemmed from the fact that her sister was vouching for her.
I didnt want to put her in a position where she would have to feel bad about firing me, Caramele says. Or having a conversation with the other executive producers about, Hey, Kims nice, but get her the fuck out of here.
In reality, working together has made the sisters closer. Caramele is meeting up with Schumer on tour this weekend to punch up the script and I cant fucking wait, Schumer says. Weve had tough lives. So we really needed each other. Maybe after my book or something that will make more sense to people.
The siblings grew up on Long Island. When Schumer was 12 and Caramele was 8, their father was diagnosed with MS and was moved to an assisted living facility. His company went bankrupt, and the family was forced to downsize. Soon after, their parents divorced.
For so long, the sisters have been each others lifelines, be it hardship growing up or more recently, when Schumer was thrust into headlines, devastated, when a shooting killed two people during a screening of Trainwreck.
In fact, Caramele attributes Schumers insistence that she walk all red carpets with hereven the recent Golden Globes, during which nominee Schumer had a boyfriendto a lifetime of Schumer wanting her sister to be by her side, even back in high school when Schumer was the cool senior 3 years older than Caramele.
It was never, Sorry guys, my sisters here, Caramele remembers. No, it was fucking, Heres Kim, fucking be nice to her. Its always been like that. It doesnt feel any different now when were on a red carpet together and shes like, Youre doing this interview with me.
Because people know only a few biographical details about Caramelechiefly that shes married and settled down with her husbandand because Trainwreck applied that titular adjective to the Amy character, people often have the assumption that Caramele and Schumer fall on opposite ends of that spectrum.
Superficially, sure, Caramele agrees.
I got married because I happened to meet my best friend and fall in love pretty young, she says. But I never thought I was going to get married. Amy and I grew up very similar in that having a husband isnt anything we ever dreamed of or played at as kids. That just happened to be how it worked out for me.
Theres a scene in Trainwreck where Amy apologizes to Kim for a fight they had. Amy had criticized Kims life choices, for settling. The anger stemmed from Amy thinking she cant have that life herself.
I think that [scene] comes from some part of myself for sure, Schumer says. We grew so close our whole lives. So there is a little bit of a feeling of abandonment when she found someone and was like, I want to share my life with you. I was like, I thought we were sharing our lives with each other. This is real subconscious shit, you know?
That is the part of the movie that Id say is the deepest revelation I had for us, she continues. But as for the idea that their temperaments are yin and yang as far as whos wilder goes? Its nothing like our relationship. Shes even sillier and darker than me. And we hang out hard.
Caramele is mortified any time Schumer wants to talk candidly about her sex life. But personal things are otherwise all fair game. Caramele likes to shock people by casually mentioning something dark about her life in a small-talk setting, just to see how others react.
On the last season of Inside Amy Schumer she fought passionately for a joke in the sketch Museum of Boyfriend Wardrobe Atrocities, where the little girl at the end would walk away from the pile of Crocs at the end of the exhibit and yell, Goodbye shoes, calling on the Goodbye Jews line from Schindlers List. The pitch got a firm no from the rest of the room.
Where Amy really likes to spend time and unpack a lot of things, I use comedy more like Chinese throwing stars, Caramele says.
Its certainly getting her attentionand attention on her own.
I used to always think, Oh, I got this job because Im Amys sister. But Im starting to learn that studios dont want to throw money away for the sake of appeasing somebody. And maybe people think they can make money with me and thats why Im being hired.
She had the grand realization when she was hired to write a Ford commercial that Saturday Night Lives Kate McKinnon was starring in. She was on set when news broke that she was writing the mother-daughter movie with Schumer. People were like, Oh, youre Amy Schumers sister? Caramele remembers. They didnt know that I was. That kind of blew my fucking mind.
What is it like, then, to have a conversation about her careerher very exciting, very busy careercircle around the awkward idea that shes stepping out from her sisters shadow, when shes been successful in her own right?
I dont look at it as a shadow at all, she says. I think a shadow denotes some negativity. Really every experience Ive had working with Amy has been really positive.
And what is it like for Schumer, the person who insisted that her sister come to New York to try comedy writing and, after being initially nervous that she could be blowing up her life is, barely more than two years later, seeing her back out on her own?
Nope, Schumer laughs. I want her to feel like she needs me and I want to keep her in a little tower and shed have to climb in and out by my hairthats how much she needs me.
Kidding aside, Schumer says she worried for Caramele more than anything. Shes so busyshe has more work to do than me, Schumer says. She loves writing and we love writing together and its really fun, Schumer says. Theres no dependence on me. But there hasnt been for a long time.
Then Schumer pauses.
And I would actually like to get a lot of money back from her, she continues, laughing. Im like, Hey, remember when I bought you an Invisalign? Actually, I like paid her student loans. I did a lot of stuff, and now shes got a lot of money and I want it back. Can we change this article to be about her giving me back my money?