Friday, September 5, 2014

Amy Schumer and Feminism

People often judge me for the following facts:
  1. I rarely find comedy funny.
  2. I rarely find women funny.
No, I'm not cold-blooded. I enjoy laughing just as much as the next guy. And no, I'm not sexist. In fact, I'm quite the opposite of that. Women just choose far too often to make jokes that fit inside the box they've been placed in by our culture and media. I became so fed up with female comedians saying exactly what society expected, that I was very hesitant to watch a clip from Inside Amy Schumer, a sketch comedy show on Comedy Central. However, my sister gave me very little choice and I was presently surprised to discover that she is quite clever and hilarious.

The difference between Schumer and other comedians is that all of her sketches have an underlying feminist message, if not outwardly in your face about it. I would have to agree with Willa Paskin, who argues that "Inside Amy Schumer has become the most consistently feminist show on television, a sketch comedy series in which nearly every bit is devoted in some capacity to gender politics." The feminist tone in her sketches is so powerful, because she uses an on-screen satirical persona where she is the opposite of a feminist and rather an insecure, slutty, self-hating woman. This persona is what drives her feminist messages home.

Some of my favorite sketches are the ones where her and her girlfriends are talking. She uses the setting to hit hard on ridiculous habits too many women have. The following two sketches are based on real-life behavior, only blown up to insane and hilarious proportions, to accentuate the "humble" way women are encouraged to behave. Both videos also end in dramatic exaggerations of how it feels when somebody changes up the dialogue.

"Compliments" - aka the sketch about women's inability to take compliments.

"I'm So Bad" - aka the sketch where female food shaming is more important than their other despicable behavior.

Not all of her sketches are about small behavioral habits. Many of them get into some serious topics of double standard. Take, for instance, her sketch "A Very Realistic Military Game," which starts with her boyfriend switching accounts, feeling confident that she would ruin his rating, followed by his scoff at her decision to play as the female character. Her boyfriend warns her that the game is a more realistic version of Call of Duty, but we don't understand what exactly that means until her character is raped by a commanding officer (which, of course, her boyfriend doesn't believe).

"A Very Realistic Military Game" - aka the sketch that succinctly, clearly, and hilariously explains the injustive that women face in the modern world.

The last clip I'll share with you is "The Foodroom," a parody of Newsroom's creator Aaron Sorkin. This sketch is spot on in regards to many aspects, including sped-up dialogue, manufactured crises, and, most importantly, Sorkin's view on gender. As Amy so eloquently puts it in the sketch, "A woman's life is worth nothing unless she's making a great man greater."

"The Foodroom" - aka the sketch that features the only and only Josh Charles

So yes, I have finally found a comedian that inspires me. To make funny content that carries the weight of a message in a more serious piece is what I consider pure genius.


  1. If you want to see a really funny female centered show I recommend Broad City.

    1. Already seen every episode, I'm a big fan of Broad City. But thanks for the recommendation, Walker!