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Why Amy Schumer is the Future of Comedy

Her pitch perfect Aaron Sorkin parody is the smart, gutsy humor we need

by
Rachel Shukert
April 17, 2014
Amy Schumer. (Comedy Central)

Amy Schumer. (Comedy Central)

Are you watching Inside Amy Schumer religiously yet, or can you never remember which channel Comedy Central is on your new cable affiliate and there are so many other shows you already have to watch? Well, if it’s the latter (as it has been for me) it’s time to commit your channel guide to memory and tune in. Along with her compatriots Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson on the equally excellent Broad City, Amy Schumer is one of the funniest, sharpest, and most subversive comics to come along in years, with an uncanny ability to skewer whatever morsels seem ripest for a shish kabob.

Need proof? Look no further than the clip from her show that went viral this week, an Aaron Sorkin parody set in a fast-food restaurant that is brilliant in its unsparing view of the self-regarding maestro’s work. With a more than able assist from Sorkin veteran Josh Charles (SportsNight), Schumer nails everything that makes Sorkin’s work so simultaneously distinctive and ludicrous: the histrionic importance placed on events of little real import (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, anyone?); the ticks of reflexive speech and urgent walk-and-talks, the curiously retrograde attitude towards female characters (Sorkin has frequently spoken of his wish to live in the 1940’s, a period where the fast-talking dames in his fast-talking movies were typically secretaries and sidekicks; Schumer’s character, a fast food employee, looks raptly and earnestly at Charles’s manager as she breathes: “A woman’s life is worth nothing unless she’s making a great man greater”), the perkily goyische names given to the main characters (I know Sorkin grew up in Scarsdale, but someone needs to tell him that there are gentiles out there whose last names do not necessarily being with “Mc” or “Mac.”)

It’s a hilarious catharsis for anyone whose ever had to sit through an episode of The Newsroom. More than that, it’s a passing of the torch, in a way. The cultural future will not belong to combative Jewish men who assert their dominance by means of their self-proclaimed moral and intellectual superiority, but to funny, gutsy Jewish women who can mock them mercilessly without ever having to keep telling you how smart they are. This year we are in exile, but next year, next year we’ll be inside Amy Schumer.

Rachel Shukert is the author of the memoirs Have You No Shame? and Everything Is Going To Be Great,and the novel Starstruck. She is the creator of the Netflix show The Baby-Sitters Club, and a writer on such series as GLOW and Supergirl. Her Twitter feed is @rachelshukert.