Amy Schumer Is Paving the Way for a Feminist Comedy Movement

By Lauren Wachspress || Contributing Writer

Amy Schumer’s fame has skyrocketed since her summer box office hit Trainwreck. The rise to fame has been more of a gradual process than many people initially realize. Although Schumer has been acting and doing stand-up for over a decade, her recent popularity is at the forefront of a trending smart feminist comedic movement. Schumer is honest and uncensored, and her humor is comparable to that of Broad City’s. Comedy Central, the host of both Broad City and Inside Amy Schumer, infamously warns viewers to hide their moms before some of Amy Schumer’s more racy skits. Nevertheless, we should all watch Schumer’s show with our friends and moms. There is something important being said with Schumer’s comedy. Her self-deprecating humor is much more than it appears on the surface.   

Her show includes stand-up, interviews, and of course, short sketches. The comedy is absurd, yet relatable, and somehow carries you from the realistic sphere with dramatized aspects to an outlandish ending. Sketches include topics from sexting and dating to mom computer therapy, where a therapist helps Amy approach her mother’s computer questions with “a spirit of generosity.” The exaggerated truths in these skits are hilarious often because of their uncomfortable relevance to today’s society.

In her “Football Town Nights” spoof, we see a frustrated new football coach explain to his players that rape is not an option. Who else other than Amy Schumer could make a critique of our society on such a sensitive topic without being blatantly offensive? The players bombard the coach with a million scenarios, trying to find some situation where rape is okay. Their questions are preposterous, but Schumer is highlighting how some of our society unfortunately thinks about rape. The skit continues to gradually escalate, as all of her sketches do, until a player gets injured and finds out he may never rape again. His parents sob over this tragic news.

Schumer’s use of offensive topics is a recurring theme in her work. She takes the offensive things in society and mocks them in a way that magnifies the irrationality while highlighting the stupidity of chauvinistic people. Her skits “Celebrity Interview” and “Last F***able Day” focus on the media’s portrayal of women. In the former, Amy plays a hot actress being interviewed on a talk show who is both super attractive but slightly nerdy. She is creating a caricature of famous female women who essentially have to be it all. In the latter skit, Amy is more overt with her critique of the media’s obsession with the perfect woman. Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette are having a celebration in the woods for Julia’s last f***able day of her career, which is exactly what it sounds like: a day when the industry decides a woman is no longer hot. She moves from young roles to playing the mom and other ridiculous things. When Amy questions when that day comes for men, her compatriots only laugh in response. Despite the inappropriate connotation of this day, Julia maintains that it’s something to celebrate. Now she can enjoy ice cream and be as crude as she wants with her personal bodily functions. There is no more need to fret over aesthetics, so to her, it’s actually a relief. Through comedic relief, Schumer turns a misogynistic part of our culture into a release from the burdens of feminine upkeep.

Whether she’s singing about the part of her body “where poop comes out,” as she does in her “Milk Milk Lemonade” video, or fake falling in front of Kim and Kanye on the red carpet at the Time 100 Gala, Amy is always making a statement. In fact, she made an emotional address with her cousin, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, against guns after a devastating shooting during a screening of her movie Trainwreck. Schumer’s public call for stricter gun control and more funding towards mental health again demonstrated how intelligent and socially-informed she is. She is not afraid to bring up controversial topics, and yet she isn’t looking for shock value. Schumer says what needs to be said to make her viewers question our society, all while providing us with a good laugh.

Lauren Wachspress is a contributing writer. Her email is lwachspr@fandm.edu.

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