Monday, April 03, 2017

Amy Schumer's NETFLIX Leather Special -- my review

Up front let me say that I’m a fan of Amy Schumer. I’ve enjoyed her Comedy Central show, I’ve laughed at her stand up routine, I even thought parts of TRAINWRECK were funny.

So I was excited to watch her new stand-up special that’s currently running on Netflix.

What a disappointment.

It was truly awful. Unfunny is an understatement.

First off, it was incredibly lazy. The material was so slapdash. She crossed into that “I’m so popular I don’t have to try anymore” mode. “I can just riff and make faces and people will be hysterical.” Of course the studio audience was (or at least with the aid of laugh tracks and selected shots of goofballs in stitches over nothing). But for the home audience – me – I sat there dumbfounded. This wasn’t a superb comic at the top of her game; this was a drunk on open mic night.

All good comedians have a persona, and Amy’s is that she is a slut – but not in the somewhat cerebral Sarah Silverman way – more in the girls-who-will-sleep-with-the-Elephant-Man way. A) the act gets old, and B) the act doesn’t age well. And she’s getting dangerously close to the sell-by date.

The jokes are all crass sex related routines – vaginal hygiene, ejaculation, oral sex. Ha ha. And retread stereotypes. The guy who can’t perform. The woman who just lays there. It’s material we’ve seen done so much better… by other comics and 8th graders.

Everything was lazy including the delivery. Since when did Amy Schumer mug for an hour? Give her a hammer and watermelon and she was Gallagher. And every line had at least three… “so I was like” and “he was like” and “they were like” crutches.

To me the idea of a stand up TV special is a comic taking three hours of material and honing it, rewriting slavishly based on hours of audience reaction, and polishing it until you have one hour of solid dynamite. Amy’s special almost felt like she was winging it. Easy topics, easy targets, unfinished jokes and thoughts. When she wasn’t discussing sex she was delving into food poisoning. So vomit jokes and diarrhea jokes. Real knee slappers.

I’d be curious to know what you thought if you saw this special. To me she phoned it in.

Amy, the truly GREAT comedians earn their laughs. This special just underscored that you’re not in their league. At least not yet.

34 comments :

Joey Smallwood said...

Ken, thank you for the warning, it does seem like Amy has been coasting for awhile now. I recommend Dave Chappelle's Netlix specials - he took the time to really deliver some solid jokes.

Lyle said...

Thank the Good Fella above!

Someone else had exactly the same reaction to Amy's "Leather Special" that I did.

Can't remember when I was more disappointed.

I turned off Netflix about 1/4 of the way through. It simply wasn't funny. It was absolutely gross. Distasteful. Even the audience, at best, had emitted occasional titters.

A couple days later I turned it back on and resumed watching. Perhaps it was me. Maybe I was just having an off day. Or maybe the material would improved.

I turned it off again about halfway through the "special." It wasn't me. It was her. Or someone who purported to be her.

Aside from her material, the leather suit did not flatter her. If anything it emphasized the fact that Amy has gained a pound or two. Or three.

She has pretty feet, toes and shoes. And that's about it.

Like you, I had enjoyed several of her earlier works.

This was certainly the low point of her career. I hope she reworks her act, her material, and her presentation.

Just a piece of crap.

Mike said...

Amy is a slut in the girls-who-will-sleep-with-the-Elephant-Man way.
So that's what killed the Elephant Man. Amy insisted on going on top so Merrick suffocated lying on his back.

No cattle were skinned in the making of this programme.

Klee said...

She's rumored to borrow jokes from other comedians. She said these claims were totally false. If this is the case, she needs to choose funnier material or it appears her career is going the Carrot Top's or Pauly Shore's direction

Cat said...

I couldn't get 15 minutes into it. Stopped and thought maybe I'd get back to it, but I knew I really wouldn't. Unfunny. I can't wait for Louis CK's special coming tomorrow on Netflix.

Carson Clark said...

I'm still trying to figure out why Two Broke Girls has been on so long. The show is just a sexual version of Mad Libs. Fill in the blank with a body part, preferably a sex organ.

Anthony Hoffman said...

I've enjoyed her Comedy Central show because it's a staff of writers and other actors coming up with various funny bits from different brains. I've never been a fan of her stand up. Sorry you had to sit through this lazy garbage. Her "I'm a filthy mouthed slut, white feminist thing" is quite off-putting.

Pat Howard said...

I agree with you it was bad. I had enough after five minutes.Netflix got screwed and so did we.

kelly childress said...

Thank you! I love Amy, laughed at all the same things that you referenced. But I couldn't make it 10 minutes into this show.

SharoneRosen said...

thanks for the warning, truly

Andy Rose said...

Speaking of lazy standup, I'm reminded of Janeane Garofalo, who at the zenith of her standup days started putting her notes on a chair and reading them on stage. Even for her 1995 HBO special... the kind of thing most comics put a ton of prep into.

Last week, I stumbled on a Garofalo routine that looked as though it was recorded in the past two or three years, and she STILL had her notes up there.

DwWashburn said...

I don't see why this is a surprise. Schumer is a one unfunny joke comedian. She's "2 Broke Girls", the standup edition. My step daughter loves her and asked me to sit through a couple of episodes of her TV show. After about ten minutes I thought to myself "Maybe I can move that root canal appointment up."

Scott said...

I was thinking the same thing. Though I'm not a big a fan as you may be. I watched about 15 minutes and went, "I think I'll watch an old 'Top Gear' episode instead. More laughs there.

Dave Wrighteous said...

I do standup and am a fan of all things comedy, so, while not a huge fan of Amy, I picked up her book "The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo" at the Goodwill.
It. Was. HORRID!
Bad, unfunny, preachy crap. ONE chapter on her standup!! Well, there may be more but I tapped out at the 240some page mark and I ALWAYS finish books I start.
On a side note, I find it interesting how many popular female comics nowadays seem to pull from the "I can be raunchy too! Let's discuss my pussy!!" playbook. Schumer, Silverman, Lampanelli, etc.
I know there's filthy guy comics too, but they aren't popular anymore. Dice Clay got his 15 minutes and kinda retired that style. Why are women doing it now??

Brian Stanley said...

Not the worst I've ever seen but I agree it was weak.
I got the impression there was some contractual obligation for an Amy Schumer Netflix Special for Spring 2017. The material, delivery, audience reaction and editing seemed to be "best available" rather than "special worthy".

Peter said...

I loved Trainwreck. The highlight was John Cena. He stole the movie with his scenes. He has terrific comic timing.

Diane D said...

I had the same reaction---so disappointing. She was just awful. I actually felt sorry for her, because I assume there were many reviews like yours, and I think she is a fragile person who will really suffer over this.

DIANE D.

Aaron said...

I watched 20 minutes worth and it did feel like she was winging it. On the other hand I saw Jeff Garlin a couple weeks ago in Burbank, and he DID wing it for the whole hour, and he was hilarious.

Some comics have that "thing" that makes them funny, even if they aren't telling jokes (like Don Rickles) and you can watch them for an hour. Amy on the other hand needs better material. Much better.

Chappelle's special was great.

Bill Slankard said...

I watched 15 to 20 minutes of it and gave up.

MikeKPa. said...

Upfront, let me say I'm not a fan of Amy's. Never have been, probably never will be.
I think her lucrative success from TRAINWRECK and her book, and her blooming Hollywood friendships with celebs like Jennifer Lawrence have put her in perpetual cruise control.

Wayne said...

My favorite Amy Schumer stunt was posing naked for the Pirelli calendar. I bet they sold a lot of spare tires.

MikeN said...

>John Cena. He stole the movie with his scenes. He has terrific comic timing.

When he hosted with SNL, he opened with 'For those of you who voted for Hillary, I'm a wrestler.' OK, but then he followed up as the audience got it with 'Some late arrivals...'

Chris said...

I am really leery about comedians on Netflix these days, full stop. For every really good one (I thought Neal Brennan's Three Mics was great, I dig a lot of the Brits they have like Jimmy Carr) there are others that just don't challenge or bring anything new beyond a willingness to discuss their bodily functions, how stoned they got or delve into that grey area of jokes "around" ethnic/sexual minority groups that they're not a part of, so they feel more edgy than actually funny.

Bring me honesty or bring me intelligent and/or risqué wit. Everything else... no I don't need to hear a forty-something white guy talk about how kids with their techno, amiright?

Scott O. said...

Ken--

See, I told you women weren't funny.

Signed,

Jerry Lewis

Johnny Walker said...

Jeez, a few comments about how she LOOKS, and all saying she wasn't sexy enough. Hmm. Bill Hicks looked a bit chubby when her performed in Montreal, but I don't remember ever reading any comments about it.

Anyway, shame to hear Schumer's New special apparently wasn't funny. I think she can be brilliant, but I also think she can be a bit lazy in her comedy. Sounds like this was the latter, unfortunately :(

Not sure I could totally recommend Chappell's new special, either. He was definitely funny at times, yes, but it felt like his life has become something difficult for the rest of us to relate to ("Key and Peele stole my show!", oh wow, how difficult for you, let me get my tissues), and there was too much if that type of material. It didn't feel as honed as old Chappell -- difficult to work hard when you don't need to, I guess. (Something we all CAN relate to :)

John Wall said...

Ken,

I agree with every point. I was looking forward to Amy perhaps reflecting on her recent success, musing about sexism in Hollywood, the thrill of being in a skit with people who can act, driving in a Ferrari with Jerry. Instead we got a narrated gynecological exam. I think she was overextended by the film, and her show, and neglected to write new material.

Mike said...

https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/apr/04/from-louis-ck-to-jerry-seinfeld-netflixs-comedy-boom-is-about-to-go-bust
Netflix are throwing vast sums of dosh at comedians - $80m for Seinfeld alone. In the hope of finding one that's funny.

Todd Mason said...

Meanwhile, Netflix is turning away some already-produced concert videos that actually are funny. Somebody's son-in-law Trying Real Hard, or not at Netflix's comedy office?

Seeing the intro/title, the first thought I had was that Eddie Murphy and several others making a Big Point of their leather outfits also managed to provide substandard concerts, however popular some were...

Pat Reeder said...

Her claim that her one-star average review was due to a conspiracy of alt-right trolls seemed suspicious to me when I first read it in an article that noted that when the alleged conspiracy began, the average rating was one-and-a-half stars. If the alt-right haters did target her, all they accomplished was to knock half a star off an already abysmal rating.

I don't get Netflix, but I've seen most of the special in YouTube clips. I was a big fan of her sketch show, but this is dire. It reminded me of a comedy club set I once squirmed through when my wife and I were dating, by Robert Schimmel. To this day, that was the filthiest thing I was ever subjected to, the major difference between it and Amy being that Schimmel's filthy jokes were occasionally funny.

I watched one review of Amy's show on YouTube where the hosts kept looking for a clean line with no success. After a while, they said they'd only gotten about 10 minutes in. On the chance she'd front-loaded it with dirty stuff and it got better later, they were going to run ahead a random number of minutes and what they landed on. How about 7 minutes? FF, hit "Play." Amy: "I've got cum on me!!" Host: "All right, how about...29 minutes?" FF, hit "Play." Amy: "That's not how you do a blow job!" Okay, we get the idea.

I will give Amy points for authenticity. In this Chelsea Handler-inspired movement of female comics doing frat guy material where they talk about all the booze, drugs and promiscuous sex they engage in, most come across as poseurs because if you have a lifestyle like that, you don't look that good (Whitney Cummings, for instance). But in this special, Amy has finally started to resemble someone who genuinely lives that incredibly unhealthy lifestyle. That makes her routines seem more believable, but also less funny, bordering on pathetic.

Chuta Bigbang said...

Amy? Borrow material? Say it ain;t so.... http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/278224/amy-schumer-magic-man-joke-theft-accusation/

cleek said...

We tried watching it last weekend, made it about 30 minutes in and just gave up. The jokes were weak and lazy and she didn't really seem to care. Maybe that really was a bottle of wine on her stool, and maybe it was her third bottle. She wasn't slurring, but she wasn't even close to being sharp and funny.

In the past, her "I'm A Slut!" shtick worked because the jokes were good. This time the jokes were barely more than "Hey, did I ever tell you I'm a slut? WITH MY PUSSY!"

Oh well. Dave Chappel's special is good.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Big fan, but had a feeling she was spreading herself too thin. The last season of her TV show was a harbinger; a weak effort following three (?) or four great seasons. She probably wanted to keep her staff employed--fine. But every good comic says it takes a year of writing and testing material to get a solid hour. That's why Woody Allen gave up stand-up when he went into filmmaking. And I think you get to do the "I'm famous now" material ONCE--because that IS your life now--but that's it. She should have left this one on the shelf.

Ian said...

I agree the special was disappointing. I am a fan, but if you have read her book, a lot of the material in this special was from the book, including replication of whole stories. I don't think she put a ton of effort in to this performance.

Craig TheSchmeg said...

The link below has comments copied from Netflix's website comment section. Is there an "alt right" conspiracy to marginalize Amy Schumer? You be the judge...

http://amy.bravesites.com/