'Girl, You Don't Need Makeup' is the best Emmy-nominated feminist satire of the year
Inside Amy Schumer was nominated for eight Emmys Thursday, and its most viral sketch was among the honorees. “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” a music video in which a One Direction-style boy band tells Schumer she doesn’t need makeup until, oh yeah, she totally does, was nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Thank you, Emmy voters, for recognizing that feminist satire is award-worthy!
The bit aired during the episode, “Cool With It,” and took on a new life after it was posted online in April. Schumer started a hashtag, #GirlYouDontNeedMakeUp, encouraging fans to send in their own no-makeup photos to stick a big, metaphorical middle finger up to modern beauty standards.
According to Kyle Dunnigan, who earned an Emmy nod for the song’s music and lyrics, the whole project was a big group effort. “I wrote the music to the song, but the concept came from [Inside Amy Schumer writer] Kurt Metzger,” he tells EW. “The writing staff had so much to do too. I think everyone contributed a line.” Together with producer-musician Jim Roach, who co-wrote the song’s music and was also nominated for an Emmy, they pieced the track together mostly over the phone.
Roach had worked with Schumer and Dunnigan before on previous projects, and once approached, he signed on immediately. “It was a joke within a joke within a joke, which is why I loved the song so much,” Roach tells EW. “Kyle gave me a laundry list of lyrics from the writers. He said, ‘We need to make this a well-done hooky pop song.'” With overused corny pop chords, they did just that.
“I naturally write very cheesy music,” Dunnigan says. “I listened to that One Direction song with the same message, and downloaded the main songs from *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and One Direction. I got kind of into it, singing ‘Bye Bye Bye’ all the time.”
Despite fan theories, the dudes in the video are, in fact, not part of a real group. “People want that boy band to put out an album,” Dunnigan says.” It’s not far off. We could write all the music and go Milli Vanilli all on it.”
But the vocals are actually from only two guys, one being Roach. “I hate listening to myself sing, but when I look back on this, it works because it’s juvenile. My voice lends itself to nasally, okay-sounding boy band music. When the episode aired and it was everywhere, I was mortified. Then it gets nominated for an Emmy and it’s the irony of ironies. It’s the first song I put out with my actual voice on it and it gets nominated for an Emmy. Life is weird like that.”
See all of EW’s Emmy Coverage.