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Comedy Central’s series Inside Amy Schumer is a mix of traditional stand-up comedy, sketches and on-the-street interviews that in its best moments produces genuine laughs. Schumer first appeared on television in 2007, placing fourth in the fifth season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing. Since then, she’s established a relationship with Comedy Central that has included the broadcast of two specials (in 2010 and 2012) as well as her appearances on several of the cable network’s celebrity roasts.
The first two episodes of her new series focus a lot on “I’m a slut, isn’t that hilarious?” jokes in the stand-up segments, which aren’t the strongest (neither are the street interviews, which feels like a Jay Leno-type ploy. Her one-on-one interviews with a model and a stripper also lack real interest), but the scripted sketches are well-written and well-performed. The opening vignette, a play on the infamous “2 Girls 1 Cup” scat porn video, may turn some viewers off, but it’s a good litmus test for whether folks will want to hang on, as Schumer never backs down from discussing the weird, crass and graphic side of sexuality.
In her best sketches, the focus is on female versus male perception (in one, after a one-night stand, Amy’s character goes looking for wedding cake, while the guy answers her phone call with “who is this?”) It sounds familiar and a little derivative, but Schumer is likable with great timing, and the sketches work. It doesn’t hurt, either, that some of the bits feature established comedians like Michael Showalter (in a hilarious turn as a man attacked by owls) as well as some talented “I know that guy from somewhere …” actors like Homeland and Generation Kill‘s Marc Menchaca, Jon Glaser from Girls and “that Chase Bank guy,” Michael Torpey. It has collected some notable talent in the director’s chair as well: Neal Brennan (Chappelle’s Show), Steven Tsuchida (The Sarah Silverman Program) and John Lee (Delocated, on which Schumer recently had a recurring role).
The series was developed by Schumer, Daniel Powell and Jessi Klein, with Klein serving as the head writer with Tig Notaro, Kyle Dunnigan, Kurt Metzger and Gabe Liedman. Though most of the sketches about sex and relationships mirror Schumer’s stand-up, one of the better bits (about training the elderly not to be racist) deviates from those topics and barely features Schumer at all. Not that that’s a good thing to do regularly, because Schumer is dynamic and engaging.
Inside Amy Schumer will resonate mostly with female viewers, but there are plenty of things for men to get from it — and learn from it — too (like women’s general “meh” response to receiving dick pics). “I don’t really like them,” Schumer says to the model, who replies, “but they’re hilarious.” “Well, right, that’s the problem,” Schumer says with a laugh. In its scripted segments, the series is stylishly produced, and its wit is dry while its tone is bubbly. Not every segment is a hit, but the ones that are deserve to be quoted, repeated and discussed.