Life struck me as several cuts above “meh” but never made me jump out of my seat.
That line from her hit show may have once been the easiest way to identify Amy Schumer and her brand of comedy, but heading into the third season of her Comedy Central sketch comedy series—which just picked up a Peabody Award—the foul-mouthed and baby-faced comic is growing up as her star is rising.
While Schumer has long been known for mocking her active sex life and taking on third-rail topics in her stand-up routines, this season of "Inside Amy Schumer" leverages that controversial material to target hot button women’s issues from restricted access to birth control to the depiction of aging women in the media to sexual assault perpetrated by school athletes. While the subject matter can get heavy, Schumer’s playful touch ensures that the humor is never weighed down.
The growing popularity of the show and its star has paid off with an impressive array of guest appearances, not only from comic personalities like Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus but also notable actors like Paul Giamatti and John Hawkes. Perhaps because of this wealth of guest talent, Schumer—who's always appeared in every sketch on the show—takes an obvious background role in some of the season’s most bold and impressive productions. Additionally, the look of the sketches has taken a major leap this year, beautifully adopting the style of a variety of media, from rap videos to classic cinema.
Of course, the increased strength of the sketch content of this multi-format series, can make the other bits seem a bit weak. Schumer's man-on-the-street interviews have lost a bit of their shine and the stand-up segments can feel a little shoe-horned in, though, the “Amy Goes Deep” interview segments are still fresh and interesting thanks to Amy’s quick wit and some fascinating subjects. It is, however, exciting to see the show attempt to break format in this season’s third episode, with the majority of the running time featuring one extended sketch (in which Schumer’s appearance is brief) that goes uninterrupted by any of the other segments. It’s a bold choice for the show and it pays off brilliantly by showcasing some of the series’ smartest writing and best filmmaking.
With an increasing number of accolades and a summer blockbuster on the horizon in Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck" with Bill Hader, Amy Schumer is on the verge of crossing over from cult phenomenon to household name, but the potential for breakout stardom hasn’t kept this unique comic voice from continuing to test boundaries and challenge viewers. "Inside Amy Schumer" has never been afraid to speak its mind, but it’s great to see that, a few years in, it’s still finding new and interesting ways to do it.
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