Recently, several friends recommended that I watch Inside Amy Schumer. They talked it and her, Amy Schumer, up quite a bit, claiming that she was funny, insightful, and a feminist. Someone even showed me this video that she recently aired, “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” which played on the boy-band phenomenon and men telling women when/if/how much make-up they should wear. It’s decently funny, and I’ve heard a lot of hype about her, so I decided to give the show a try.
It’s trash. It’s basically what happens when you give a white, privileged woman carte blanche to act like a raunchy dude complete with awkward pauses, inappropriate passes, sketches that seriously needed to be edited, and rape jokes. The show is divided between sketches, interviews, and snippets of Amy Schumer’s standup, which is awkward, unfunny, and provocative just to be provocative. Her worst moment came when she claimed every woman that’s been to college has been raped and then pointed to a woman in the audience and said, “I can tell you’ve been raped.”
Remember all those really awkward sex scenes/talking about sex scenes in Bridesmaids where the characters stepped on each others’ words, gave awkward chuckles, and kept pigeoning their heads? That’s basically what happens during all excruciating 20+ minutes of each episode.
Of course, there are some mildly funny moments coupled with solid social commentary. Pairing a spoiled first class passenger with actual disaster victims was funny (to a point) as was having a woman learn her boyfriend has AIDS, coming to terms with it, and then having him dump her because she has a gluten allergy and he’s a foodie. There are moments like that almost exclusively within the sketches that can either genuinely make you laugh or at least make you laugh in spite of yourself.
However, I’m not necessarily sure what’s so “feminist” or “groundbreaking” or even “funny” about the show. Is it seeing a woman call herself a slut repeatedly? Is it seeing a woman sitting on the couch in her pajamas eating plain spaghetti? Is it getting to witness women when they have no one to impress, not even themselves? Is it the “novelty” of when a woman does gross, insensitive, inappropriate things – just like a man? But I know these things. I’ve seen these things. Hell, I’ve done these things, and since I have a group of female friends, I’ve seen others do them. And I fail to see what’s feminist about falling on tropes about the slutty, slovenly, or insecure woman – especially when doing so is often at the expense of other women, queer people, and women of color.
Despite all that, I’m not necessarily going to fault Inside Amy Schumer for being sophomoric, lazy, and crude. There are numerous comedies, sitcoms, movies, and faux bands (almost all male-centric) that have made millions off doing the exact same things. So, go on, Amy Schumer, slut it up, be crude and racist and bigoted and make people laugh. You won’t be either the first or last comedian that made her livelihood doing so. But people that watch Amy Schumer: stop telling me she’s a visionary. Stop telling me she’s the new Roseanne Barr or reminds you of Lucille Ball or Betty White. She’s just another privileged white comedian making money off the backs of more marginalized groups. Which, at least to me, doesn’t make her funny. It makes her a butt.