Amy Schumer Helps Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette Celebrate Julia Louis …

22 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

“Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Don’t Rape”: Amy Schumer Criticizes Rape Culture With ‘Friday Night Lights’ Parody.

Amy Schumer is arguably Hollywood’s hottest comedian of the moment — so its fitting that she kicked off the third season of “Inside Amy Schumer” with cameos from three superstars. In the lead-up to Tuesday’s Season 3 premiere of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, critics have been competing to lavish the show—which features Schumer in a winning mix of sketch, stand-up, and interview formats—with the most glowing praise.Tuesday’s premiere episode, titled “Last F–kable Day,” featured guest appearances from Jemima Kirke, Method Man, Amber Rose and Amber Tamblyn in “Milk Milk Lemonade”, plus Josh Charles in “Football Town Nights.” The highlight, however, came when Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus helped Schumer raise awareness about sexism in the titular sketch.

That might not be the catchphrase of Friday Night Lights’ Coach Taylor, but it is the catchphrase of Football Town Lights’ Coach Thompson—head coach of the Bronconeers. The scene opened with Schumer going for a hike and stumbling upon the trio dining in a meadow. “Hi, are you lost?” Fey asked Schumer, who called the three actresses her “heroes.” Dreyfus then told the comic, “You look familiar. Coach Thompson is the new football coach in a small town and his new code of conduct for his players involves no raping, ever. “What if it’s Halloween and she’s dressed like a sexy cat?” asks one of the players. “What if she thinks it’s rape but I don’t?” asks another.

She gets invited to join them at a party being held in Dreyfus’ honor. “In every actress’ life the media decides when you’ve finally reached a point when you’re not believably f—able anymore,” Dreyfus explains to her. “You know how Sally Field was Tom Hanks’ love interest in ‘Punchline,’ than like 20 minutes later she was his mom in ‘Forrest Gump,’” Fey said. This is not a topic Schumer has shied away from—perhaps the best skit from last season, “A Very Realistic Military Game,” uses a female video game avatar to demonstrate how tough it is to report rape in the military. Are you that girl from the television who talks about her p—y all the time?” The Comedy Central star joined the women at their table and immediately noticed the decadent spread. “Is it someone’s birthday?” she asked.

The season premiere of Schumer’s show aired the same night she made headlines for taking a fall in front of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at the Time 100 gala. My Slate colleague Amanda Hess identified the mechanics of this skill in her review: “Schumer’s sketches … resist the obvious target and find humor in surprise.” Right on. Before I jump into why it was such a blunt-force mess, I have to acknowledge that Bailey Jay, the self-identified transsexual who Schumer interviewed, seemed more or less fine with the often wildly invasive lines of questioning that the host pursued. Jay may be totally comfortable with prurient queries about her genitals and sex life, but that’s exactly the kind of scrutiny that the majority of trans women are fighting against.

During a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival on Sunday, one audience member found Schumer’s sketch empowering and asked the comic how she approached such sensitive topics in comedy. “You can maybe look at that scene and think we’re making light of something serious, but we really are trying to educate, but that’s not always clear,” Schumer said at the panel. They try to look young, but then they end up looking like a purse that melted in a car accident.” Fey added, “They look like when a kid draws a face on its hand.” “What?

The actress added that the end of the sketch initially included statistics about campus rape convictions, but the writers cut it so it wasn’t “too heavy-handed.” “Our hope is that people will laugh at that,” Schumer said of the sketch. “They’ll think it’s funny and that maybe they’ll think, ‘Oh no, I can’t — I shouldn’t film it.’ Maybe something will get in there and actually help the culture. […] First of all, rape is good fodder for comedy because it’s the worst thing in the whole world. Presenting Jay as simply a trans person rather than a trans porn star is misleading in terms of what sort of experience the interview is trying to represent. From that initial misstep, the segment stumbles down all the roads prominent trans voices like Laverne Cox and Janet Mock have patiently and not-so-patiently asked cisgender folks to avoid when discussing trans lives. “Did you ever think about snipping off … your penis?” Schumer asks with characteristic (and here tone-deaf) bravado, playing right into the genital fixation that is the bane of many trans people’s existence. But Schumer and her team do know when they’ve gone too far with an idea, as evinced by their choice to not do two sketches this season: one about baby coffins and another set in a “Dirty Dancing” abortion clinic (though they said the latter might happen one day.) And then, regarding Jay’s husband: “What was it like to watch him enter this situation. … I’m assuming he’d just been straight before?” To her credit, Jay quickly clarifies that her husband, being with a woman, remains straight, but Schumer has already reinforced the false connection between gender identity and sexual orientation that we all need to get past.

Finally, there’s much talk of Jay’s being “gorgeous,” an interview theme that only makes sense if you are somehow working on the notion that trans people normally aren’t, and one that sets up a damaging division between those who have the resources, luck, and inclination to be conventionally attractive and “convincing” and those who don’t. Again, Jay does attempt to explain that her relatively positive life experience might be the result of an unfair beauty bias, but the interview editing and Schumer’s cavalier attitude cause any nuance to get muddled in innuendo that Joe Biden might enjoy women like Jay. So brilliantly styled to look like one of those culturally appropriating pop videos that spoof hip-hop videos (think “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift or “Hard Out Here” by Lily Allen), the song begins with Schumer rapping with a bit of glee about how her booty is en vogue.

The most dispiriting thing about all this is that you get the feeling that Schumer wanted to do something good for the trans community with this segment—but unfortunately, the care and insight she typically brings to feminist issues just weren’t present here. In one glorious, disgusting, and fetish-skewering shot, a chorus line of backup dancers bend over in bathroom stalls and begin popping their bums as Schumer repeats over and over, “This is where my poo comes out.” She then begins chanting, “This is what you think is hot,” in repetition until it finally builds to a question: You think this is hot? But I am not convinced that the larger viewership is sophisticated enough on trans issues yet for that kind of subtle comedy (after this, I’m not even sure that Schumer herself is), nor do I think that this sort of segment allows for the nuance required in these discussions right now. After the episode aired, director Nicole Holofcener explained its relevance. “This sketch is funny, but it’s funny because it’s so tragically true,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “The fact that Amy can be so challenging and political while being shamelessly hilarious is her true genius. But to imagine that it says anything about trans women more generally is absurd—and, worse, suggests that we are still in urgent need of reevaluating why, exactly, we want certain things “illuminated” in the first place.

It’s not stupid humor; it’s humor that really shows us who we are and how insanely screwed up our culture is.” How did Schumer feel about working with Arquette, Fey and Louis-Dreyfus? “I got to listen and worship them,” she said. “We made each other laugh all day long.” OK, it’s not really a surprise. Drew Goddard and Steven DeKnight are stepping down as showrunners and will be replaced by Doug Petrie and Marco Ramirez who worked closely with DeKnight and Goddard on the first season. It stars Josh Charles as a Texas town’s new high school football coach. (Schumer stars as his wife, whose wine glass gets bigger and her Connie Britton drawl get thicker as the sketch goes on, y’all.) Charles tells his teenage squad that he’s going to be doing things differently. Marvel’s Daredevil, starring Charlie Cox, Rosario Dawson and Vincent D’Onofrio, premiered on April 10 and brought not only a much-needed update on the classic blind superhero, but it also added a new superhero costume to the TV world. There’s also a danger when comedy gets preachy, which in lesser hands is exactly where the night’s marquee sketch, “Last F**able Date,” could’ve gone.

Come talk about your pussy over here!” (Schumer is nothing if not self-aware of the misconceptions about her comedy.) As it turns out, the group is gathered to toast Louis-Dreyfus’s Last F**kable Day. What follows is brilliance—a screed on the state of Hollywood that you’d imagine these women gathered have been raging to get off their chests for years. Another bit mocks the hoops women must jump through to attain birth control—Schumer’s character is forced to ask her doctor, her boss, her boss’s priest, a Boy Scout, and everyone on her social media network to approve—while all a child has to do is walk up to a counter and ask for a gun to be given one. “Remember, that’s your right,” the little boy is told.

By the time it’s done, you’re convinced that Schumer might just be able to fix the world, once she gets us all laughing with her. (That is what a Peabody gives you, right? And any feminism is so deeply rooted in authentic experience and acute observation, and laced with such irresistible humor that the messages it sends are universally received. But beyond that, it points out injustices or hypocrisies or hilariously ridiculous points of view that we’re probably all well aware that we’re guilty of having, and have been looking for a way to confront. Whereas it used to be that we idolized actors we wanted to be, now the ultimate score for a celebrity is to be someone we want to be best friends with.

She repeated a bit on Ellen—and for good measure, it’s one of her best ones—about going to Los Angeles to film her upcoming movie, Trainwreck, and confusing everyone in Hollywood by not conforming to their body ideals. But it’s more that she confronts sex, and mocks sex, and normalizes sex in a way that a female comedian hasn’t been allowed to do without being ghettoized as the raunchy sex comic.

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