Have you seen this face?
Amy Schumer is having her day in the news. If you haven’t seen publicity for her TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, or for Trainwreck, the movie she stars in and co-wrote with Judd Apatow, then perhaps a friend has pulled up “Milk, Milk, Lemonade” on Youtube and told you, “You have to check this out!” Or maybe you saw that Time magazine named her one of the most influential people of 2014. My Twitter feed is full up with retweets from Schumer, because every culture writer worth her snuff has been publishing think pieces about Inside Amy Schumer. While the show has always been smart, funny, feminist, and filled with celebrities, the recent rising fame of Amy Schumer has resulted in a deluge of attention for the show in the media.
Last week #girlyoudontneedmakeup was trending on Twitter and Instagram (and possibly other social media sites that I’m too old and not cool enough to know about) which references a clip from last week’s episode of Inside Amy Schumer, that went viral, reaching over 2 million views in a week. Most of her other clips are hovering around the 100,000 mark, nowhere near 2 million.
It’s damn catchy and I think it’s one of the best parodies I’ve seen from Inside Amy Schumer, in a show that does parodies well.
If you haven’t seen Inside Amy Schumer, you can get a taste by watching any number of the dozens of sketches posted on Youtube. However, the best way to understand the full breadth of Schumer’s talent is to watch a full episode. In every 22 minute epiosde, there will be a huge variety of material from stand-up, to interviews on the street, to music videos, to sketches. Amy features in every segment and showcases a broad range of acting chops and comic ability.
Raph wrote briefly about Inside Amy Schumer last year, and I agree with his statement that: “As with most sketch shows she has hits and misses, but her stand-up pieces and street bits are all very strong.” Further to that, I find myself more critical of the sketches because they tend to run longer than the other segments. If a sketch is floundering, I get mad that it’s wasting my time when I could be watching funnier bits.
One downside of such critical acclaim is the intense scrutiny from the media on every single element of the show. I saw a thinkpiece that was angry about the exact words Schumer used to introduce a trans woman. I saw an article that said Inside Amy Schumer isn’t feminist enough (as if the show has any responsibility besides being funny.) I saw one that said the overt feminism should be sneakier. Unfortunately, that critical attitude has seeped into my attitude towards the show. Where once I viewed it as an above-average sketch show, I now view it as an “important voice in comedy.” That is a pretty high standard to live up to, and in general, Inside Amy Schumer does. But last episode, there was a sketch where Amy’s boyfriend made “sounds with his body” as his living, and I couldn’t understand what was funny about it. Before it, there were sketches about female body image, slut-shaming, rape culture, and now just a sketch with funny noises. But at the end of the episode, there are outtakes from the filming of that sketch. Schumer is busting a gut at the actor, Kyle Dunnigan, who is making the “sounds with his body.” I watched the sketch again with less expectations, and just allowed myself to laugh at this fool. It was actually pretty funny the second time around. Sometimes a sketch has to be a “important statement,” sometimes it doesn’t, but it always has to be funny. It was my fault I couldn’t laugh a white dude in his 40’s making fart noises.
Today, my Twitter feed is blowing up again with calls to watch Inside Amy Schumer.
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) May 5, 2015
Below a preview clip of tonight’s episode. It’s a 22 minute length sketch called “12 Men Inside Amy Schumer”, a parody of the 1950’s film 12 Angry Men. In the sketch, 12 men argue about whether Amy is attractive enough to be on TV. Alan Sepinwall has an excellent interview with Amy Schumer about the upcoming episode, where Amy says “I’m more proud of it than anything I’ve ever done.”
With all the publicity the last two episodes have generated, tonight’s episode is perfectly timed to pull in hundreds of thousands of viewers who watched “Girl You Don’t Need Makeup”, “Milk, Milk, Lemonade”, and “Last F*ckable Day.” What better time to fingerblast her audience with an episode she is so proud of, an experimental episode that looks more less like a representative sample of the show is and more like a manifesto of what the show can be.