It feels wrong admitting that I absolutely love Amy Schumer. Among allegations of her stealing other comedians’ work, making constant sexually degrading jokes, and not being the nicest person in the world – there certainly is a lot to hate. Yet when I watch her, whether that be clips on Youtube, her Netflix Leather Special, or even the films she stars in (everyone needs to watch Trainwreck), she always manages to make me laugh. So much so, I even have a signed copy of her autobiography (which I got by making her laugh – but that’s a story for another time). Simply put, Amy Schumer is my guilty pleasure, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I won’t excuse the stealing of jokes, that’s never okay, but there’s just something about her presence on stage that always gets me going with laughter, but again, a comedian’s work should never be exploited by another comedian. It’s a huge shame about those few occasions when it’s been pointed out because when Schumer is at her best is actually when she’s originally talking about her body. It’s a whole lot of sex jokes, innuendoes, and psyching the crowd out, but it just works because Schumer capitalises on what men have been doing in comedy for years, while turning the tables. It’s a huge f-you moment when a man says “I don’t like her comedy because it’s always about sex”, but they’re rallying male comedians who talk about the same subjects, and Schumer loves to exploit this and bring it to our attention. Sure it’s crude and uncomfortable, but she weaves it with such comedic timing and self-awareness (always aware of her weight but celebrating it with body-positivity), that it’s genuinely hard to hate. I’d go as far as to say that Schumer exposes toxic masculinity and sexism and mocks it all the time. Frankly, Schumer doesn’t care if it’s making you uncomfortable, as long as she’s making people laugh.
Although I agree, sometimes those jokes bring us stiflingly close to Schumer and familiarise us a bit too much with her body. While wearing leather, she won’t hesitate to hike a leg up or talk about how sweaty she’s getting under her clothes, but that’s at the same time that’s part of the charm. Sure the gag can go on for a bit long, but in a comedic circle that’s been celebrating d**k jokes since the rise of comedy (pun unintended), it feels like a statement about the longevity of male comedians telling the same jokes over and over again. At least with Schumer, it’s a one-hour special broken up by different stories along the way.
There’s so much more to Amy Schumer though, in general though, she’s just a wild woman always at the forefront of sexual humour but in a starkly positive I-have-no-shame way that’s refreshing. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s mesmerising to see what people will tolerate with male comedians, but slam Schumer for doing its female equivale. Whether wittingly or not, she’s always been great at exposing toxic cultures in comedy (as well as being part of them occasionally as well). While it’d be a stretch to call her a feminist by any means, I do have a lot of respect for the comedy she writes when she stays away from being offensive. I can’t excuse everything she does, but when she does the right things and tells the right jokes, she absolutely slays in.