Inside Amy Schumer – B+
The second sketch of last night’s Inside Amy Schumer might provide some insight as to why the fourth season has been a bit uneven. Live from a blimp, Schumer hosts a talk show as an absurdly exaggerated version of herself, trying desperately hard to show how relatable her life is as she orders “coffee,” nothing fancy, while visiting her local coffeeshop flanked by Perez Hilton and her pet dinosaur. The show’s premise is right there in its title, the comedy stemming from what it’s like to be Amy Schumer. As that’s transformed from a somewhat familiar comic living an ordinary life to a borderline A-list movie star hanging out with Jennifer Lawrence because she can. It’s natural the show would have some growing pains.
This episode’s theme holds together more than most this season; it’s fame, and it was inevitable that Schumer would address the recent selfie controversy — when she spurned a fan’s memento attempt — and while that can be incredibly fraught, and there is a tinge of saintly self-projection, the barrage of crazy fans who feel it’s ok to grab her boob and ask for money because they recognize her as a celebrity — even if they’re not sure for what. The highlight of this sketch is the always excellent Aperna Nancharla‘s barista who mistakes her for Rebel Wilson, scrawls “Fat Amy” on her cup, and berates her for not being funny enough in a call to her brother (whose number is an endless series of fives, nice touch). Jake Gyllenhaal delights in the third sketch, hugging a ferret named Falcor, disappointing Amy’s Catfish-craving character by being himself.
If the episode had remained at this level, it would have been a near-masterpiece, and the best episode outside of her 12 Angry Men parody of last year. However, once Jake reveals Paul W. Downs and Kevin Kane — as the Catfish douches — as bags of “hot Chinatown garbage,” the show takes a turn. While it’s hella star-studded, it’s more of a hot mess than the aforementioned rubbish. Harvey Keitel and Sam Rockwell star in an Indecent Proposal parody that is loaded with great comic insights, but commits to none of them. Josh Charles is wasted in a silly throwaway bit about a bad boy chef (although it’s almost worth it for Kyle Dunnigan’s nerdily charming turn as an oblivious and ignored date). The “Amy Goes Deep” segment bumps the episode back up a half grade, however, as she brings out her adoring, if overly giggly, childhood friend for some insight as to the changed nature of friendship once fame hits. Finally, a quick hat tip to Selina Gomez who shines as the voice of sanity and band leader in the zeppelin talk show.
– Jason Thurston