Best holiday gift-giver of 2016: Amy Schumer.
At a very young age — long before she was selling out Madison Square Garden or starring in blockbuster films — Amy Schumer learned about the sting of heartache.
Her father, Gordon, once owned a successful furniture company, which meant Amy was born into relatively well-off circumstances on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. But things took a dramatic turn long before she reached her teen years.
When Amy was just 9 years old, Gordon Schumer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was life-changing in more ways than one.
To make matters worse, the diagnosis coincided with her father’s business failing, according to Huffington Post. Unable to cover the overwhelming medical costs, the family went bankrupt. The pain and instability that ensued helped mold Amy’s comedy for decades. The storyline of her 2015 film “Trainwreck,” for instance, was largely autobiographical; her on-screen dad (played by actor Colin Quinn) really did live in a senior center with multiple sclerosis.
“It’s the most painful thing in the world to just watch this person that you love ultimately just digress and kind of decompose,” Schumer told NPR in 2013. “And it’s too heavy and you have to find a way to laugh at it.”
It’s clear Amy’s father has made an enormous impact on her life. And this week, she was able to thank him in a very big way.
On Dec. 19, 2016, Amy announced that she bought back her father’s farm — a property the family was forced to give up long ago due to the bankruptcy.
On Instagram, Amy shared an adorable video of her much younger self on the farm, about to run away into a towering maze of corn.
“My dad was taunting me because I wanted him to come with me,” she wrote in the caption. “We lost the farm when we lost everything else. But today I got to buy it back for him.”
Although Schumer’s act is an admirable one, it’s also a harsh reminder that she’s definitely one of the very lucky ones.
The comedian’s millionaire status means she’s, of course, more able than most to open up her wallet to help her aging parent. But, put in historical context, Schumer is even more privileged than many might realize.
A new study by The Equality of Opportunity Project found that half of 30-year-olds won’t make as much money as their parents at the same age, Time’s Money magazine reported. It’s a dramatically different figure than Americans born in 1940, who had a 92% of out-earning their parents.
Most of us won’t have the luxury of buying up old properties for our parents, to say the least.
But Schumer’s gift is a beautiful reminder that giving back to the people we treasure most — regardless of the price tag involved — may just be one of the best ways to spend our money.
And it never hurts to keep things light either — especially when life gets the most serious.
“I love to laugh,” Schumer told “CBS Sunday Morning” in 2015. “I seek laughter all the time. I think that’s something that also comes with having a sick parent is you don’t know what’s going to happen, and so I’ll be like, ‘I’m psyched my legs still work.’ And I want to, like, experience all I can and make as many memories as I can.”