‘Inside Amy Schumer’ Still Entertaining, Not As Clever

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Inside Amy Schumer 

We’ve seen this before. Success, fame, and notoriety throwing off the game of one of our beloved comedians, taking them from average Joe’s and Jane’s and catapulting them into the spotlight. Over the past few years, Amy Schumer went from a fourth place finish on Last Comic Standing to a headliner of her own box office smash, Trainwreck, and viral sensation with her sketch comedy show Inside Amy Schumer.

As we enter the shows fourth season on Comedy Central, we now live in a world where Amy Schumer is not just your every-girl who gets high and farts during sex. She’s an Emmy winner. She’s become an advocate for gun control after a shooting at a showing of Trainwreck. She’s inked a $9 million book deal for Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo. She’s best friends with Jennifer Lawrence. She is not regular. And it’s affected the show that arguably got her started.

The format of the show remains the same, with Schumer splicing bits of her stand up with pre-recorded sketches and interviews. However, in seasons past, Schumer was likely to be standing outside in the New York City cold interviewing random people she finds on the street. She’d candidly ask them about what it’s like to be catfished, whether they’ve ever fallen asleep during sex, or even if it’s considered depressing or empowering to sit alone on your couch with a tub of ice cream. The voice of the show was perfectly clear: they were telling you exactly what it was like to be the average woman in America. With season four, Schumer is struggling to maintain that voice because she is no longer average. She can’t meet people on the street because she’ll be recognized or hounded for autographs and photos, a topic she has publicly expressed to have a major distaste for. Now, Schumer is meeting with her schwanky comedy friends in a bar – the camera is glossier, the clothes are better, and the glasses clink louder. She’s still talking about the same things and finding the funny, especially when she talks to the gross comedy guys she’s known for years, but we sometimes feel a wall of separation.

As far as the pieces with her stand up, Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo which was directed by Chris Rock, originally aired on HBO in October 2015. While Schumer doesn’t take pieces from her Live at the Apollo show, the content generally remains the same, with Schumer riffing on her time as a newbie in the spotlight and poking fun at the differences between men and women. In addition to these portions of her stand up, the sketches are what make up the bulk of the show. And the sketches are where Inside Amy Schumer are at its best, even if its season four best doesn’t quite reach the heights of seasons prior. The season opens with an episode titled “The World’s Most Interesting Woman in the World” and Schumer proves capable of performing to the lofty title with a cringeworthy Besty Ross rap in the vain of the Broadway sensation Hamilton, with Hamilton creator Lin Manuel-Miranda sitting in front of her. Schumer stuffs the episode, and the rest of her season, with her famous friends like Miranda, Liam Neeson, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Selena Gomez among others. Other sketches like the football players with a regular person fantasy league (which features a slew of retired football players) and the skit where she’s considered “brave” for taking off her clothes are standouts, but nothing touches the commentary of her episode long “12 Angry Men” parody or the “Last Fuckable Day” sketches from the previous season. Some of the smaller sketches were Schumer reverts to being the “regular girl” like when she’s sitting with a group of women discussing how willing they are to sacrifice their lives for a natural childbirth, for example, are more effective because Schumer is directly relating to women and their place in society rather than showcasing her famous friends.

Inside Amy Schumer in season four is the show at a crossroads. Schumer is no longer the underdog getting short shafted (literally) by the guys in her life, she’s the winner opening up for Madonna’s tour in Madison Square Garden and writing a buddy comedy to star in with her BFF Jennifer Lawrence. TV, especially sketch comedies on TV, are inherently connected with the internet and the responses they generate. While the show isn’t unfunny, it’s not resonating the same way with audience of the internet. If the world’s most interesting woman in the world wants to remain that way, then she must reconsider how to balance the show’s David spirit with her celebrity’s Goliath presence.