The female comic takes on one-night stands, sexting, and porn
On her new Comedy central series, “Inside Amy Schumer,” recently renewed for a second season, there isn’t a topic comic Amy Schumer shies away from. Over the past few weeks, she has talked about anal sex, gangbanging, facials (not the nice, expensive kind), refers to herself regularly as a slut with HPV, and talks graphically about large penises.
She does this with a dimpled smile, her golden blond hair pulled back in a slick ponytail, delivering the zingers, deadpan. While other female comics talk about sex and dating, they don’t do so as unrelentingly as Schumer does. Her first comedy special was called, “Mostly Sex Stuff,” and dealt with her affection for the morning after pill, Plan B (she calls it Plan A), her demand that she receive oral sex (“I’ve become a climber”) and her dislike of swallowing. Not juice.
It’s hard to underscore why Schumer is so important and revolutionary. With her bubbly, non-threatening good looks, she breaks down the old-fashioned Madonna/Whore trope with the delicacy of a sledgehammer. While she is covering the same ground as Lena Dunham and “Girls,” she does so in a way that is more universal—removed from the confines of a specific universe (white hipster Brooklyn) Schumer’s an every woman. She is your sister, your best friend, the girl next door, the girl you slept with on a one-night stand, and the girl you bring home to mom. The idea of a good girl not doing certain things, and a bad girl doing the other (dirty) things is destroyed, systematically, one filthy joke at a time. She’s the sluttiest of her friends, but she’s also someone’s girlfriend; she has lots of sex; she is not ashamed of it. She has HPV; but then, so does everyone who has sex. She talks about how a female friend, now that she has a boyfriend, has suddenly cleaned up her act and behaves as if her slutty past doesn’t exist, and promptly calls bullshit on it. Schumer understands that the more society knows that all women can do whatever they want in the bedroom, the less power society has to judge them. If everyone is a “slut,” there can be no good girl / bad girl dichotomy. They will be simply “women.”
It’s not surprising that Schumer’s best bits are the raunchiest. The skits deal with things that women who are in the dating pool deal with but nobody ever seems to talk about with such graphic honesty: sexting, bad sex, and one night stands. The clips depict incongruous situations, and push simple ideas to their most extreme conclusions.
In one of the first segments, “One Night Stand,” traces the aftermath of a one-night stand from both the woman and the man’s perspective on a split screen. While the guy goes about his day as if nothing had happened, playing video games, eating spaghetti out of a jar (then masturbating to the old woman on the jar), the woman, played by Schumer, goes from Googling and Facebook-stalking him to planning their life and eventual death together, all before 3 p.m. The skit pokes fun at both men and women. (Men, are literally, pigs). But she’s harder on women for being so gullible—women do overthink every sexual interaction, no matter how small or fleeting. Guys aren’t just jerks; sometimes, we are simply insane.
In another clip, “Sexting,” Schumer is wearing a cat sweatshirt and eating pasta out of the bowl while watching an old romantic movie when she starts getting perverted messages from a guy she’s dating. Unversed in the art of turning 50 Shades of Grey into texts, she responds with things that make no sense and are completely unsexy. “I want to hug your penis,” “Tell me what all my remotes do.” “Hold me.” His responses are dirty and direct (and oblivious to whatever she types): “I just finished on your hair and head,” reads one. It’s funny because for a lot of women, it’s true. Our sexting repertoire is limited. And most of the time, we aren’t the vision of beauty you are thinking of when you jack off to us.
Schumer regularly upends conventionally accepted pieces of wisdom, as dispensed by men. Men with exceptionally big penises are gods in porn; in real life, they are unicorns, beautiful to look at, terrifying to experience. Facials are no fun—for porn actresses and for girls you actually know. And by the way, both types of women have value. Women aren’t scared of anal because it’s dirty and bad, but because it hurts. But you can stick a finger in.
In her universe, men, feminists, and catty girls, are equally fit targets. In a skit, “POV Porn,” she tries to get her friend into porn by showing her “porn for women.” Schumer then takes a scythe to that cloying term which invokes images of soft, gauzy lighting and gentle fucking featuring non-models that one might describe as “real,” but who are honestly kind of homely, and at the same time, illustrates the sad reality of actual sex for many women.
The clip shows the point of view of the woman as she’s having sex. It starts with Schumer convincing her friend that this porno is different, because “it feels like real sex” —an oft-used feminist argument for porn. But instead of those gauzy romantic images, the clip is of man shot from an unbecoming angle while thrusting away on top, sweaty and unconcerned with the woman underneath him. Pan to: a shot of the bedside table with a photo of family members, and shot of two hands on the bed, the guy moving her hand aside like a piece of lint. Then, a glimpse of his back as he rolls off and is done, peacefully sleeping, her unsatisfied and watching TV. If the sex in Lena Dunham’s “Girls” is so bleak because it’s between self-absorbed neurotic narcissists in their 20s, the sex in Schumer’s world is so mundane, as to be exactly on the nose.
On “Inside Amy Schumer,” she says what we’re all thinking, but for whatever reason no one has really said out loud, on camera, for the world to hear. I am woman, hear me. Just hear me. And laugh.
“Inside Amy Schumer” airs every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. on Comedy Central
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