Amy Schumer is an interesting duck, and I think I’m safe from being sexist when I say “duck” since everything about her is so adorably ducky. Except, that is, her material in Amy Schumer: Mostly Sex Stuff (2012), which starts off with an animation of two unicorns rough riding and only gets more disgusting. Taste in comedy is probably the most subjective, individualistic trait there is other than music. It runs the gamut from plain puns to gross-out, swear-laden awkwardness that goes way beyond “funny because it’s true” to “funny because it’s deranged.” As far as I know, she’s closer to the latter end of the spectrum. Then again, I’m not a modern woman. If modern women actually are as sexually active, judgmental, and disgusting as she presents herself, then I’m just going to pack up and go back to the fifties when women had the decency to lie about such things.
That said, she is rather charming. Her act, to a great extent, relies upon the contrast between her cute baby-face and the foul, dirty things coming out of it. Your preference for her will increase in direct proportion to your egalitarianism. Because, honestly, there aren’t any decent comics out there today that aren’t filthy—and I mean so filthy it’d make Lenny Bruce blush—so the only difference is that Schumer has a much talked about vagina and the others probably don’t. So, in the early moments there was a basic, patronizing instinct that girls ought not to say such things. But that was quickly broken and thrown aside by the torrential, mechanical erosion she laid down with her jokes about AIDS, HPV, and circumcision. It turned out very well.
I’ve got a few complaints. First of all, she uses verbal stumbles more than you might expect from a professional comedian. Perhaps this is another bit of latent sexism, but I find her high heels distracting like she may fall and injure herself. Those high heels lead to a second distraction, which is my complete inability to look away from her well-tanned and shapely legs (aided in large part by a rather short skirted dress). I’m a guilt-ridden 21st century man, so I’d like to be more comfortable in the knowledge that I find her funny because of the material rather than more puerile motives. Feminists, please give me some slack, you can’t complain that chauvinism led to women’s sexualized style in clothing and concomitant objectification and then rap my knuckles for wanting to disarm such objectification by de-sexualizing clothing and say, “Oh, well, you’ll just have to get over it.” [Jason humbly steps off of his box and returns it to the corner of the stage.]
I said it was attrition that got me round her filth, but upon reflection that may not be accurate. The real turning point may have been either (a) her expression of being a comedian being no less difficult for her woman-ness or (b) her consistent proof of same through example. Yes, her material is dominated by a distinctly vaginal theme, but the rudeness and reckless abandon with which she addresses it does not imply that anything should change. She isn’t actually complaining, she’s telling jokes. What is autobiographical and what is fabricated so as to shock and awe my dainty, puritanical ears is as difficult to distinguish as it is unnecessary. “Life is hard as a woman but at least I’m getting some material out of it”, is her mode. Or, more accurately, “Life is hard, but at least…” because she is a woman and sexual material by non-homosexuals is necessarily differentiating, but her focus is on the joke, not “Society.”
Oh happy day, you thought you were buying a DVD for an hour of material, but instead got a bit more than that. Amy was a part of two roasts, of Charlie Sheen and Roseanne Barr. She rocked them both—savage, she was savage. It’s some of her best material. There’s also a Pre-Show bit with her and her sister. It’s short, but pretty funny. Some good extras.
It’s available on Amazon. If you’re a stand-up fan, then plug yourself in and cool out. Ha, ha, haha, ha… But seriously.