In the most recent episode of Inside Amy Schumer, comedian Amy Schumer’s new show on Comedy Central, there is a sketch about not taking a compliment. A group of women greets each other by doling out kind words and then immediately dismissing the accolade. Oh I look pretty? No I actually look like Susan Boyle's toothbrush.
But then, when one woman happily accepts the compliment and responds with a simple, "thanks!" the others immediately kill themselves. Ladies! They light themselves on fire and blow their brains out. SNL's Abby Elliot breaks her own neck. Amy Schumer steps into moving traffic.
This is the rhythm of a typical segment on Inside Amy Schumer. She's not pushing comedic form—she uses stand-up bits, one-on-one interviews, sketches, and woman-on-the-street segments—or any particularly hot button issues. She's pushing the joke, exaggerating it so far that it comes back around and makes fun of its own absurdity. And the best of her stuff achieves wonderful comedic paradoxes; it can be simultaneously light-hearted and dark, silly and smart, crass and astute.
The show has a lot of room to improve, sure, but it's doing exceedingly well so far. Of the three original series Comedy Central premiered this year, all led by individual comedians (the Kroll Show, the Jeselnik Offensive—she was reportedly dating Anthony Jeselnik), Inside Amy Schumer had the strongest launch. Close to 1.6 million people tuned in to the premiere on April 30th, and it's stayed strong for the past two episodes. For someone whose major breakout in the comedy world was placing fourth in the fifth season of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, along with two specials on Comedy Central as well as some minor roles on 30 Rock, Girls, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, this is not bad, not bad at all.
The best part about Inside Amy Schumer, is that it's not constantly focused on setting up perfect wisecracks. Particularly with her sketches, you can see that Schumer is trying to provoke a little dialogue. Rather than aiming for a clear punchline, she's more concentrated on exploring ideas and letting everyone in on the joke.
[image via Comedy Central]