I love Amy Schumer. I think she’s hilarious, and one of the most refreshing, smart acts in comedy today. She’s also usually pretty high-energy, raunchy, and in-your-face (at least in the clips that go viral), so seeing her subdued interview with a 106-year-old woman named Downing from last night’s episode of Inside Amy Schumer might be a bit of a surprise. It’s one of Schumer’s man-on-the-street segments, which are interspersed with scripted clips on her Comedy Central show, and which offer some of the best windows into Schumer’s range as an entertainer.
It feels more like a genuine interview than a gag, because Schumer asks thoughtful questions, and listens attentively to the answers even when she has jokes planned. It also feels intimate, which is unusual for this type of segment, in which the interviewee is typically used more for laughs than for anything substantial or narrative. It seems like it could be a real conversation between Schumer and her grandmother, or at least resemble something close to that.
In the clip, Schumer and Downing talk about college (they both attended Towson), drinking (Downing lived through Prohibition), Twitter (she doesn’t know “any of the new things”), The Wire (she never watched). Schumer asks Downing if she can set her up with eligible bachelors at her retirement home, and Downing gets a little racist.
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Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.