“I get labelled a sex comic. But if a guy got up on stage and pulled his dick out, everybody would say: ‘He’s a thinker.’”
Amy Schumer is bold, unapologetic and unabashed in her opinions and uses her comedy and humorous sexual undertones to smash existing patriarchal stereotypes about women not being funny and empowers women by asking them to embrace themselves for who they are. While she started out as one of the trailblazing comedienne icons, she slowly lost her sheen as soon as she started using overused jokes and indulged in alleged plagiarism. She lost relatability and people simply hated her recent shows. However, it is important to unpack the hatred that Schumer received instead of jumping onto the bandwagon blindly.
Amy Schumer loves talking about her vagina, poo, unshaved legs, body image, “Chris Pratt’s ass” and the Kardashians. While they were incredibly funny in the beginning, it started getting somewhat boring after she turned almost every set towards these topics which somehow never made sense. For a woman whose raunchy sense of humour in Inside Amy Schumer and Trainwreck amassed her immense praise, it was a big letdown to see her overusing the same jokes in her Netflix specials which have terrible reviews, albeit from men.
Schumer, who found her calling in comedy came into the spotlight due to her unique and pioneering ideas and jokes which left a satirical commentary on feminism, sex, patriarchy as well as the rape culture, however, she was vehemently called out for her ignorant and racist jokes where she objectified black men. Schumer has always voiced her annoyance regarding the stereotypes regarding the female body. She has always been very brazen, saying how she is “a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. You will not determine my story — I will. I will speak and share and fuck and love and I will never apologize to the frightened millions who resent that they never had it in them to do it.” She has also emphasized how young girls lack “good role models” as a certain body image is ingrained in their minds as the perfect body type which is far from the truth.
Schumer is inspirational as she often has wise pieces of advice and is unapologetically herself and constantly redefines femininity. “The best advice my mother gave me was to ‘be a lady’,” she once said, added: “But I never really knew what that meant, and obviously didn’t take to it.” However, she cannot be forgiven for her problematic jokes and must be called out for it. On her 40th birthday today, as we take a look at some of her shows and films streaming on Netflix, here’s to hoping that Schumer shall be back with a bang with a sensible and incredibly humorous set of jokes that shall tickle our funnybone.
Amy Schumer’s films and shows on Netflix:
I Feel Pretty (Marc Silverstein, Abby Kohn, 2018)
Renee Bennett has body image issues and deals with low self-esteem. She withholds herself from applying for her dream job as a receptionist at corporate headquarters as she believes that she does not fulfil the prerequisite of being beautiful. However, she hits her head to wake up as a totally new version of herself who believes she is beautiful. Oozing confidence and charm, she saunters into the real world and bags the position, falls in love and keeps earning high praise at work from the CEO as well as others until it gets to her head making her turn cocky and lose grip of reality.
It is humorous and charming and touches on important issues, including standard body image, body dysmorphia as well as the definition of beauty. While the plot falls flat gradually, the central character of Renee Bennet played by Amy Schumer is the star of the show and shoulders the weight of the film alone, dropping in jokes sporadically to make it as entertaining as possible. However, while it is supposed to be empowering by hinting at the importance of body positivity, it makes one wonder if making plus-size jokes throughout the film is the way forward.
“My only real goal is to come here to this office every day and help people feel the same way I feel when I step off that elevator, that this is the only place to be.”
Snatched (Jonathan Levine, 2017)
Emily Middleton gets fired and dumped which serves as a joy kill. However, not wanting to let go of a pre-planned and nonrefundable trip to Ecuador, she persuades her mother, Linda to join her on this adventure trip. Although everything is planned, trouble arises when Emily accepts a drink from a handsome man and later the mother-daughter duo accompany him for sightseeing where they get kidnapped while the man escapes. While the kidnappers demand ransom from Emily’s brother Jeffrey who is back home in the United States, the dynamic duo manage to escape, hiking through forests, beating tapeworm infestation and alien trails with the kidnappers pursuing them closely.
It is endearing to see the mother-daughter duo have a unique take on the popular genre of road-trip buddies finding themselves embroiled in unwarranted action. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn have wonderful chemistry as the loud duo whose luxury trip turns into a classic escape adventure comedy; Schumer had insisted on casting Hawn much to the studio’s chagrin and even threatened to quit the project had they not cast the veteran actress. However, the script and humour somehow fall flat towards the end. Although we are rooting for Linda and Emily to get back home safely, the missed jokes and flat humour is easily recognisable.
“Oh, not you. It was me. Can you kind of beat it? Cause you’re a distraction.”
Amy Schumer Growing (2019)
In her live stand-up comedy set performed in Chicago, Amu Schumer exposed herself and her personal growth while joking about topics such as marriage and pregnancy. She provided vivid imagery via nuanced jokes and did not hold back from using anecdotal humour to drive home the truths about pregnancy. She spoke of the positives and the negatives.
While the reception was widely negative, it is understandable why most of the hatred was showered by white men who probably felt offended by her candour. However, Schumer cannot be let off the hook either. She spent more than half of her set talking about the same topic which, after a certain point, gets somewhat exhausting, especially when you are streaming a live show. While her jokes are aimed at smashing patriarchal stereotypes, embedded in crude humour, it somehow loses its sheen and seems repetitive after a certain point of time. Unlike comediennes like Hannah Gadsby, Tiffany Haddish, Chelsea Perretti or Iliza Shlesinger, Schumer fails to hold the audience attention.
“I’m fucking pregnant! Here’s the thing, you’re pregnant but like, you don’t change your… I hate women who start acting really precious. You don’t stop being you, you don’t stop working or drinking.”
Amy Schumer: The Leather Special (2017)
In this 57-minute-long episode, Amy Schumer’s pre-recorded show at the Bellco Theatre in Denver which aired during her world tour, the comedienne jokes about love life, relationships, dating as well as sexuality and womanhood. She talks about how all good comedians have a “leather special” which they regret late into their careers for having worn leather. Using ambiguous jokes with heavy sexual undertones, she tries to empower women and free them from the shackles of regressive stereotypes.
Schumer wants to call out the chauvinist culture and toxic masculinity but does she succeed? Admittedly the reviews of the show are inexplicably bad with most of the thumbs-down coming from men, but her jokes are honestly not very funny. The negative reaction to this special made Netflix get rid of its rating system. The comedienne’s audience has been divided over the aggressive and suggestive content and she had garnered controversy for seemingly having plagiarised certain jokes from deceased comedian, Patrice O’Neal. Honestly hypocritical of her, don’t you think when she criticises other comediennes for their crude, male comedian-like jokes when she does nothing different?
“This past year, I have gotten very rich, famous and humble.”