Amy Schumer opens book tour for essay collection

FILE - In this Nov. 15, 2015 file photo, Amy Schumer attends the VH1 Big In 2015 with Entertainment Weekly Award Show held at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood, Calif. Actress and comedian Schumer has launched the book tour for her collection of very personal essays, "The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo." Schumer spoke Tuesday night, Aug. 16, 2016, before more than 200 fans at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan's Union Square. (Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK — On the first night of her book tour, Amy Schumer had a lot to talk about besides her book.

Like what is the story with some of those couples on "The Bachelor?"

"They spent literally six hours together, and they don't know anything. They're like 'Will you marry me?' and then on the way out they're like 'What like what religion are you?'" she joked Tuesday as she spoke before more than 200 fans at the Barnes & Noble in Manhattan's Union Square.

And why are so many funny people from Long Island?

"The only way I can describe it is that at one point Long Island tried to secede," she said. Long Island, home to Schumer and Jerry Seinfeld among others, instills a "level of entitlement and overconfidence" that is "perfect for standup," she added.

Schumer's "The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo" is a collection of very personal essays, with stories of sex, childhood, show business and relationships, along with lists of things that drive her crazy (couples who work out together) and things she loves (telling a new joke, scones and sex "because it's pretty great and should be mentioned"). Schumer received a reported $8-10 million for the book, and the investment so far is paying off for the Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books. As of late Tuesday, "The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo" was No. 2 on Amazon.com's best-seller list, trailing only "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two."

Interviewed by Comedy Central star Abbi Jacobson, Schumer said that she intended from the start to write the most candid book she could, drawing upon journals she began as a teenager. Schumer said she had been asked over the years to contribute pieces to magazines, perhaps advice on how to balance work and private life. But she laughed at the idea of advising others. "It's amazing I'm allowed in public. I have nothing to teach anybody or tell anybody," she said.

Schumer described herself as more vulnerable than her edgy comedy suggests. Noting the tattoo revealed for all on the book's back cover, she said it was a "good example" of her "trying to be hard." Her book can be bleak, and even tragic, as she recalls the shooting last summer in a Louisiana theater during a screening of her hit comedy "Trainwreck." Schumer remembered being described by one critic as "melancholy," but she agreed with Jacobson's observation that "The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo" is the work of an optimist.

"I'm not foolishly optimistic," she said. "I'm realistically optimistic. "I think things are going to be ok."

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