In case you missed it (and many of you no doubt have) comedian Amy Schumer has been on a bit of a roll lately. Her show on Comedy Central, Inside Amy Schumer, is already in its third season, her standup gigs have been selling out and she stars in a new romantic comedy which is just coming out. (Trainwreck.) But she’s still not some international giant of the screen in any sense, though her star seems to be on the rise. Unfortunately for her, she attracted the early and favorable attention of a number of feminists who (and this is a quote) were eager to embrace her as the new, fresh comedic voice of feminism.
I suppose that was a great idea except that they seemed to only be looking at a few snippets of her work shared around on feminist social media. The full body of work is rather different, and when the feminists found out about that the long knives came out quickly.
Amy Schumer has responded to a piece in the Guardian which scrutinized racially insensitive jokes from her stand-up special and recent stint hosting the MTV Movie Awards. In it, author Monica Heisey mused about whether a Schumer backlash would be inevitable given her sudden ubiquity.
“While there’s no denying that Schumer is an incredible talent, the material that doesn’t make the next morning’s feminist Facebook shares doesn’t fare quite so well under scrutiny,” Heisey wrote…
Last month, in a piece for the Daily Dot, Anne Thériault argued that Schumer had essentially been granted a pass on jokes that were insulting to minorities because the culture has been so eager to embrace her as the new, fresh comedic voice of feminism.
“… while her work is being called subversive and transgressive, the truth is that many of her jokes aren’t as enlightened as they might seem,” Thériault wrote. “Take, for example, a bit where she says, ‘I used to date Hispanic guys, but now I prefer consensual!’ No matter how you parse this joke, it’s racist and awful. It’s not a smart critique of rape culture. It’s a white woman blithely saying that all Latino men are rapists.”
I’ve been watching Schumer for a couple of years now and I could have told them that she’s making fun of feminists. And “bros.” And racists. And whites and blacks and Latinos and pretty much everyone else. But most of all, Schumer makes fun of herself. One of the fundamental premise points in many of her bits is that she’s either too ugly or too untalented or too fat or whatever. I recall one skit where the network did a viewer survey to determine if she was too ugly to be on television. A series of men are shown responding about how she is something of “a beast” and she’s not funny and the show is no good, but a couple of them admit they would probably still sleep with her. When she gets the results, her only response is to say, “Okay, but a few of them said they would still [expletive deleted] me, right?”
The first season of her show was rather choppy and weak, I thought, but in the second two seasons she’s really hit her stride. Her standup specials are offensive to pretty much anyone in the mood to be offended, but as with most pop culture fare I don’t care about her being offensive or what her politics may be. I’m just interested in whether or not she’s funny. As far as I’m concerned, the shows usually make me laugh.
Schumer isn’t quite on the same level as Daniel Tosh in terms of non-stop, intentionally offensive material, but then again Tosh gets old pretty fast. Schumer spaces various styles out and does a lot of sketch work on her shows, not just standup. But the bottom line is that we’re seeing yet another example of The Progressive Pause in comedy here as the Social Justice Warriors get ready to throw the comedian under the bus. They’ve listened to her material and taken their pause to see if it’s safe to laugh. The general conclusion is that it isn’t. Too risky. Too offensive. Somebody might be upset.
Frankly all they’re doing is making me want to consider spending the cash for a ticket to see her film in the theater rather than waiting for it to show up on Netflix.
In case you have any interest or aren’t familiar with her style, here’s the official trailer for the new film. (Safe for work language and no nudity, but definitely a bit on the adult side in terms of the humor.) As mentioned above, this is just a typical character for Schumer, who spends most of her time making herself look stupid, hopeless, clueless or all of the above.