Meet Jessi Klein, Author of the Summer's Best Book – and Inside Amy Schumer's Funniest Lines
08/13/2016 AT 10:25 AM EDT
It was time for her book tour, and Jessi Klein was worried. She'd won an Emmy as head writer for Inside Amy Schumer (see her hilarious "Last F---able Day" episode, link NSFW), but that didn't mean the world knew her.
Would anyone schlep to bookstores to hear her read from You'll Grow Out of It, her collection of comic essays? "I was like, oh god, do I have to read to one cricket and one tumbleweed at all these places?" Klein says.
She didn't. Published in July, You'll Grow Out of It is a word-of-mouth hit, the kind of book that makes women of all ages (and some enlightened men) laugh out loud in public and press copies on their friends. Klein's take is feminist--there are chapters on the tyranny of thongs, the unfairness of the Miss/Ma'am thing, and "natural" childbirth vs. epidurals (her all-caps advice: GET THE EPIDURAL).
And then there's her poodle-wolf theory: women are poodles if they "inherently radiate femininity" (Angelina Jolie, Sofia Vergara) and wolves if the effort shows (Tina Fey, Jennifer Aniston). Klein counts herself as a wolf, which – along with her startling honesty about things like breakups and humiliation – is a huge part of her appeal. "Honesty in terms of like, having had my heart broken and looking like a mess – I find that to be easier than ever posturing that things are going okay," she says.
Klein, 40, is now juggling new-found fame and motherhood: she and her husband, TV executive Michael Engleman, have a 13-month-old son. "This has been a crazy year because of the move to L.A. and the baby and finishing the book," she says. Her friend Amy Schumer's book, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, is out next week, but when asked if they compared notes Klein says: "Not a ton. We're usually just texting about The Bachelor."
The pair met on the standup circuit, and when Schumer – whom Klein describes as " Amazing ... hilarious and shockingly generous" – landed a pilot for Comedy Central, she asked Klein to come on board.
Schumer is based in New York, so the two don't get much time to hang out these days. As Klein jokes: "I have not been on the boat with J-Law!".
The big question is whether Schumer is a poodle or a wolf – and Klein laughs: "Full wolf! But she can poodle it together with the best of them."