Moss Island Top Ten – Inside Amy Schumer

Inside Amy Schumer

Inside Amy Schumer
I asked someone last night if she was going to see Amy Schumer’s new movie, Trainwreck (2015). “I don’t think she’s funny,” my friend said, and my jaw hit the floor.

Schumer’s comedy series Inside Any Schumer (the title works in a number of ways) just finished its third season.  In my opinion, it’s the most consistently funny sketch series since The Carol Burnett Show.  I compiled the following list to send to my friend.

10. Say Fine to the Shirt
Schumer and her writing team embrace cheesy reality shows and zero in on what makes them ridiculous and strangely endearing. Schumer has parodied The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but this send-up of Say Yes to the Dress is my favorite, because it perfectly captures male indifference.

9. Operation Enduring Mouth
A send-up of gender inequality (a mainstay Schumer theme) in action movies. The condescension and obliviousness of Schumer’s male colleagues is all too real.

8. Compliments
Schumer is a keen observer of how women talk to one another. In one sketch, she explored how women tend to over-apologize. Here, she considers how many women can’t accept a compliment (and the tragic results when one does.)

7. A Porn Star Is Born
A parody silent film that explores what the addition of a word might do to a classic. The Artist (2011) won best picture with the same stylistic approach, and this short packs the same emotional arc into 4-1/2 minutes. It’s also a lot funnier.

6. A Very Realistic Military Game
The first Amy Schumer sketch I watched, and probably one of her most divisive. A woman plays her boyfriend’s Call of Duty-style video game and her character is raped. The boyfriend accuses her of doing something wrong, and the game itself asks if she’s sure she wants to report the other soldier, because “he has a family.” Many complain “it’s just not funny,” or that it’s in poor taste. It is funny, riding a comedic razor’s edge. Vital and relevant.

5. Court of Public Opinion: The Trial of Bill Cosby
Schumer has made a few comments about the Cosby case, usually as jokes that make her audiences squirm. Here, she addresses the squirm full-on, as Cosby’s defense attorney in the “court of public opinion.” In my opinion, this is a definitive discussion of public reaction to the Cosby case – Schumer argues that we don’t want to consider he might have done wrong, because it would make us uncomfortable watching his sitcoms, reading his books, or listening to his albums. And we don’t deserve to feel that way.

4. Last F**kable Day
Patricia Arquette, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tina Fey explore how the media and Hollywood Powers That Be define women in terms of their looks and desirability to men. A joyous middle-finger to all of them, and based on discussion boards I’ve read, particularly mystifying to those who aren’t women.

3. Football Town Nights
A perfect send-up of Friday Night Lights that had many Internet commenters asking (again) “What’s so funny about rape?” If you love Friday Night Lights, you’ll treasure this (Connie Britton loves Schumer’s version of her character, drinking endless white wine from bigger and bigger goblets.) Even if you haven’t seen FNL, the athletes’ litany of questions about when non-consensual sex might be OK is worth discussing.

2. The Foodroom
An affectionate parody of Aaron Sorkin, with a nod to Josh Charles’ recently-deceased character from The Good Wife. The music and editing send this sketch over the top – I’ve watched the clip twenty times and it never gets old.

1. 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer (full episode)
or (preview clip)

A 21-minute black-and-white parody of 12 Angry Men (1957), condensed but represented shot-for-shot. The main joke comes from a real place – Schumer told NPR’s Terry Gross that she often reads Internet conversations about whether she’s “hot enough” to be on television. The scenario for the short is exactly that. Jury foreman Jeff Goldblum instructs the jurors: “If we decide that she is not bangable, then she’s going to lose her television show, or be put to immediate death, or both… to be honest, I zoned out during that part.”

The cinematography and the music are wonderful, perfectly evocative. The individual jokes are fast and very funny, but it’s the meta joke that really drives home the message: this is an all-star cast of men who are definitely not hot, yet nobody seems to be questioning that (certainly not the men themselves.)

Schumer never lets herself off the hook. She is “acquitted” by the jury, not because of her talent but because the men finally agree that she might, “without my glasses, after a few drinks” cause them to consider “a few exploratory tugs.”