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In Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, Schumer's hour-long HBO special
filmed at the glorious Apollo theater in New York, Schumer expresses
shock at the fact that she's been labeled as a "sex comic." She makes
the understandable assertion that a male comic could come on stage,
whip out his genitals, and still be labeled as a thinker while she has
immediately been branded as a comic who focuses largely on sex and
grossout humor. Her point would have validity if you weren't able to
take all the parts that talk about sex, semen, sex acts, and other
wonders and insights about intercourse out of Live at the Apollo and be
left with roughly twenty-five minutes of material. And considering
Schumer's breakout movie Trainwreck featured a character who was
hellbent on having as many one-night-stands as a weekend would allow
and her show Inside Amy Schumer features a great deal of racy music
videos, I find it pretty appropriate to bill Schumer as a sex comic.
There's nothing wrong with that label, but when a comedian makes an
effort to reject the label and then continues to talk about the content
that makes her earn the label, then something is drearily wrong with
her ability to look introspectively at herself.
Schumer's comedy is as bold as it is repetitive; it's a different kind
of self-deprecation that basks in the sort of revealing and subversive
attitude Schumer is so unapologetic about. If nothing else, she's not
afraid to hide behind any kind of celebrity name or beat around the
bush; she's not afraid to say things that will make you wince every now
and then. Consider how she opens Live at the Apollo, by saying she met
one of her goals this year, which was to take off a pair of underwear
and have them not look like she blew her nose into them. She even goes
on to talk at great length about how semen is under-appreciated and
that Oprah could've easily ended up on a woman's breasts and that
Michelle Obama likely has to clean up Barack Obama's "troops" from
between her legs every week or so. This kind of humor and comedic
brazenness (and honesty) is welcomed, but with that should come the
ability to highlight and make note that your label of a sex comic is a
fairly accurate one even if you say it isn't.
Live at the Apollo is mostly good fun, but the repetitive aspects come
when Schumer, like many comedians and young people today, feels the
need to constantly reiterate her love for food and eating much of it.
These jokes are tired, and are terrible attempts to pander to young
people who go nuts on social media when Jennifer Lawrence says
something at the Academy Awards about simply wanting to know where the
food is. The obsession comedians have when they talk about their
excessive dietary habits are tired, worn clichés of the highest order,
and Schumer noting that she often has two lunches and wants to pour the
entire bag of popcorn over her face while on a date at the theater is
nothing new or funny, despite her acting like it is.
If nothing else, this special showcases Schumer's composure and
charisma when talking about the raciest subject matter. She always
keeps a straight face and never seems to be laughing at her own
material, and at an hour, her stay is welcomed and not overlong or
noticeably underwritten. Her schtick only grows tired and worn if you
recognize that if you prevented her from talking about sex and food,
her material may struggle to fulfill the length requirements of a
Saturday Night Live skit.
NOTE: Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo will air throughout the entire
month of November 2015 on HBO.
Directed by: Chris Rock.
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