Currently touring in New Zealand before making her return to the United States, stand-up comedian, actor and author Amy Schumer has left America with a parting gift for the holidays, “The Last Noelle,” that was part of one of the last episodes written for her Paramount Plus series, Inside Amy Schumer.
That Christmas sketch nicely rounds off a year that I am comfortably claiming as Schumer’s return – The Summer of Schumer– a diverse period signaled by everything from her co-hosting gig at the 2022 94th Academy Awards to new episodes of her Emmy Award-winning series, Inside Amy Schumer (now at Paramount Plus series rather than its former home, Comedy Central), an all-together too brief acting gig as part of the Martin Short, Steve Martin, Selena Gomez Hulu series Only Murder in the Buildings, and her own, new Hulu series, Life & Beth in which she stars, and acts as writer, director, and executive producer. Along with hosting one of this year’s best Saturday Night Live episodes, she also joined the cast of Jerry Seinfeld’s long-awaited Unfrosted: The Pop-Tart Story for Netflix.
Such a busy return to peak Schumer is reminiscent of the 2013 to 2016 period where she ran the hysterical and historic Inside Amy Schumer show at Comedy Central (tell me her piss take on the classic “Twelve Angry Men” isn’t, quite possibly, the funniest sketch filmed in the 21st Century, right next to her “Last F—able Day” co-starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Patricia Arquette and Tina Fey, which generated millions of YouTube hits), penned the exploded surreal biographical The Girl with The Lower Back Tattoo, acted in several episodes of Lena Dunham’s provocative Girls dramedy at HBO, starred in and co-wrote the sex comedy Trainwreck with director-writer Judd Apatow, and capped the year with a role in playwright Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower on Broadway.
That is a long list of stuff, right?
All that, and still nothing kills like Schumer’s bold brand of stand-up – lacerating stuff that goes beyond mere sardonic self-exploration into trashing the system of White guy patriarchies, overt and covert racism, the male gaze and how it relates to female issues of weight and shapes, and the manner in which we, as people, value and devalue our worth. There is, of course, her drive to comedically de-construct her own origin story and what’s become of her personal life – marrying a chef (Chris Fischer) whose life on the spectrum is primed for Schumer humor. There is also the fact of having a child – a boy, Gene, who originally had the middle name Attell, in honor of comedian Dave Attell, until she realized that “Gene Attell” sounded like “genital” – born by caesarean section because of her endometriosis (Schumer had her uterus removed) – all of which happens to be raw comic fodder.
If audiences find Schumer’s comedy of the body and mind uncomfortable – good. That’s the point. Life is messy. The body is messy. Schumer is messy.
Along with what she has executed during the most recent series of Inside Amy Schumer – harsh mellowing sketches and rude, smart and considered punchlines on White privilege, abortion rights, big pharma, workplace harassment and antisemitism, the comedian’s most recent stand-up bits have been some of the most succinct sets of cultural and socio-political put downs ever.
“My preference would be that none of these scenes held up and were completely irrelevant. Unfortunately, they are relevant,” Schumer told The Hollywood Reporter of her too brief five-episode season of Inside Amy Schumer and its rips on antisemitism (airing the same week that Kanye West’s rants first made headline news), racism, micro-aggressions against the trans community and Elon Musk.
Going back to the power of 2015’s “Last F—able Day” and its look at agism and how men look at women over 40, there is the giggle-snort semantics of her 2022 Inside Any Schumer’s series sketch, the talking- advertisement stylized “Colorado”
“When they were starting with the trigger laws [after Roe], I remembered Texas was the first state with the abortion ban after [six weeks], and then there was a hurricane in New Orleans. And I remember reading that the people from the colleges there were being bused to the colleges in Texas and I was thinking, ‘God, I hope none of those girls need abortions.’ And then I thought, ‘Wow, is that going to affect where women choose to go to college? What is this going to affect?’ [After Roe was overturned], I had this idea for it to be a part of a state ad.”
The just released last episode of 2022’s Inside Amy Schumer – like her stand-up – couldn’t be more ripped from the headlines than if she was shooting a nightly news segment. Along with elements of self-medication the age of big Pharma, there is everything from a true crime podcast serial parody on crypto currency obsession and a sketch that looks at corporate greed that lacerates Twitter’s newest and goofiest ever boss, Elon Musk (“I feel awful about it. It’s sickening and it’s terrifying” Schumer told the Hollywood Reporter regarding her feeling on Musk).
Schumer’s stuff of laceration should be (if memory serves from her stand-up earlier this year) part and parcel of the just-lensed stand-up special that she filmed for Netflix due out sooner than later. Can’t wait. Nobody does it better than Amy Schumer, inside and outside.