Category Archives: Comedy

Why I Was Disappointed in Amy Schumer’s HBO Special

Everyone that knows me well is aware that I have an obsession with Amy Schumer. I have been following her career for years between her Howard Stern appearances, her comedy central roasts/ special/ series, and now all of the other million things she’s been doing since Trainwreck has made her a household name.

I was so excited for her HBO special, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo, particularly because I remember during one of her first Howard Stern appearances she mentioned that performing at the Apollo would be one of her dreams come true. However, within fifteen minutes I was already disappointed.

Amy-Schumer-Live-at-the-Apollo-2015

Speaking generally, the most unfortunate aspect of the special was that 90% of the material was regurgitated from either Inside Amy Schumer, her previous special Mostly Sex Stuff, or from talk show appearances. For example, that whole “hot girls in LA” bit was on her show, except she used the city of Miami instead.

I was not only expecting more fresh and exciting material, but I also thought that now that she is a big star and preaches feminism, she would stop slut shaming herself so much. It seemed like the majority of the material was making fun of how much she sleeps around. When, in fact, on Howard Stern she revealed she actually has only had one one-night-stand in her life. I understand that all comics are performers and make up a good portion of their material, but when one’s onstage persona contrasts so drastically with the message she sends on her show and in public, it is troubling to me. In a recent interview she explained that now that she is more famous she is going to retire the “dumb blonde” persona, and her SNL monologue made me hopeful that was really happening. She also made a moving speech earlier this year about how she didn’t have a lot of confidence in college and slept with a guy who used her, but then made light of the same subject in her routine. Although she kind of made up for it when she later described how stupid it is that men think women don’t enjoy sex just as much as they do, I still would love to see a female comic other than Sarah Silverman just talk about something other than sex.

amy-schumer-live-from-the-apollo

The biggest issue I had with the special was the beginning: when Amy talked about her body. She called herself fat so many times, and in so many different ways, that I was genuinely wondering if this was the same person who cried when speaking about her body image issues in a video I saw just earlier this week. I don’t know if she realizes that when she (who isn’t fat at all, by the way) calls herself a “tub of lard”, women who look like her, or are bigger than her, will feel bad about themselves. The whole bit felt like a defense mechanism.

And lastly, when Amy was describing how she tried binging and purging to lose weight for her movie, she lost me entirely. I have a sense of humor and know she was joking, but I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for years and it’s truly a disease and not funny at all, and especially not something a woman should make light of. The punch line, that her body told her “no bitch, we keep food in”, wasn’t even funny and didn’t get much of a laugh. I have actually heard jokes about bulimia that have made me laugh, like when Lena Dunham called herself “the laziest bulimic in the world”, but Amy’s definitely didn’t land.

I am not giving up on Amy Schumer yet, primarily because the way she delivers such witty and perceptive social commentary on her show gives me faith in her comical genius. I just hope that fame hasn’t made her lose her creative edge.

amyschumerliveatapollo

Advertisements

The Laughing Skull Open Mic Night: My Experience

Recently I ventured to The Laughing Skull in midtown Atlanta for their open mic night. Not only was the experience humorous and entertaining, but it also made me realize how vital it is to support new creative talent.

Laughing-Skull-Lounge

I saw well over 10 amateur stand-up comedians- some funny, some not so funny. However, I still have the upmost admiration for anyone brave enough to bare their soul to an audience of strangers.

Below is my evaluation of the performer I found most intriguing. Hopefully this gives you an idea of what to expect if you choose to check out an open mic night at a comedy club near you…

You wonder if Brian Edmond stumbled onto the stage by accident. Perhaps he awoke from a nap, threw on a black t-shirt and jeans from his pile of dirty laundry, took a wrong turn on the way to his dealer’s house and somehow found himself holding a microphone in front of an audience. Edmond is waiflike, unshaven, and emblematic of every stereotypical hipster you see smoking a cigarette outside of a coffee shop. His vacant eyes scan the now uneasy audience. When Edmond finally speaks, his voice is unsurprisingly monotone.

Edmond kills the tattooed elephant in the room by addressing his appearance. He acknowledges how strange it is that he is so skinny even though he smokes a lot of weed. You quickly realize that Edmond isn’t here to tell jokes; he is here to have a conversation. Edmond mostly speaks with his head down and his mouth pressed closely against the microphone. When he looks up, his glossy eyes aren’t searching for laughter. He’s just making sure we’re listening. The irony of a stand-up comic who doesn’t care what anyone thinks is what starts to make this set funny.

The first few minutes of Edmond’s hazy thoughts and observations are about his drug use. He fidgets with the microphone and tells us a story about his friend who smoked too much and thought he had a collapsed lung. He explains that he couldn’t take his friend to the hospital, because that would be absurd. Would the doctor give him “magic” skittles and tell him they are “collapsed lung pills”? He lets out a flimsy laugh and we laugh too, if not at the story then at his dry delivery.

As Edmond starts telling us he is an Uber driver, his body language becomes more casual and relaxed. He recalls a young man who got into his car and gleefully remarked that he’s never had a white driver before. In fact, most of his passengers are racist, and one man even asked him to run over a black guy in a parking lot. Edmond surmises that the concept of Uber is actually just inherently racist, and we all laugh because he is probably right. However, Edmond doesn’t mind working for a company designed to put minority cab drivers out of work, because being an Uber driver means driving around hot, drunk girls. One time a girl begged him to take her to get food, and he said sure, but only if she would have sex with him first. It is only because Edmond appears so physically fragile and nonthreatening that we don’t feel guilty for laughing.

Edmond looks vaguely relieved when he is cued to wrap up his set. He just started getting the hang of things, but still isn’t completely comfortable. He mumbles a “thank you” to the audience, turns around and waves without making eye contact, and then saunters offstage. You feel as though you just went on a date with someone who didn’t appear to have prepared at all and was wholly uninterested in you. Logically, you shouldn’t want to go on a second date. But, then again, there was just something about him that piqued your curiosity.

%d bloggers like this: