Amy Schumer: The Comical Is Political – The Atlantic

Amy Schumer: The Comical Is Political – The Atlantic

But: “Of course, we’re in Florida, you’re going to boo,” Schumer said, in reply to the audible push-back on her comments.

She added: “I know you’re here to laugh, but you choose how you’re going to live your life, and it’s just too important.”

She further added: “Just so you know, from now on, if you yell out, you’re gonna get thrown out.”

And so: People left. They left, it seems, because they were looking for a respite from the sour debates of the current moment; they left, it also seems, because Things Got Political. As Cridlin noted of Schumer’s skewering of Dave the RINO, “This was risky business for a comic. This wasn’t some fun roast, where the fan was hoping to be ripped a new one.”

It’s true. And it’s particularly true given that this was a huge arena show—set, either ironically or fittingly, in the same massive theater that hosted, in 2012, the Republican National Convention. This wasn’t an intimate Comedy Store situation. It was Amy Schumer, bona fide superstar, performing to a crowd whose size fit that stature.  

Then again: Ostensibly, if you’ve paid your hard-earned money to attend an Amy Schumer show, it seems reasonable that you would have some sense of what Amy Schumer is all about. Recent episodes of Inside Amy Schumer have, again, tackled gun safety, abortion, rape culture, and many other topics that are, whatever else they might be, intensely partisan. But it’s not just Schumer’s jokes that have been political; it’s Amy Schumer, the person. Schumer has long used her celebrity to advance “political” causes. She has lobbied Congress alongside her distant cousin, Chuck Schumer. With her comedy, it’s almost impossible to distinguish where the political ends and the personal begins.

Schumer is not at all unique in that. Indeed, it’s hard to think of any popular comedy of the moment that is apolitical, or even simply non-partisan, in the way Schumer’s Tampa detractors seem to have hoped for. Whether it’s Louis C.K. or Sarah Silverman or Whitney Cummings or Key & Peele or Poehler & Fey or Patton Oswalt or Sam Bee or Leslie Jones or Ali Wong or Trevor Noah or John Oliver or any of the other comics who are ascendant at the moment, their work is almost uniformly political. That is what makes it relevant, and urgent, and worth talking about. Comedy now is operating in the tradition established by George Carlin and Joan Rivers and Richard Pryor and other greats—performers who understood comedy’s great capacity not just to make us laugh, but to make us think. And re-think. And act. The kind of apolitical comedy that Schumer’s walk-outs seem to long for may have last been realized by Gallagher; he achieved that by largely eschewing words in favor of the cathartic smashing of watermelons.

Amy Schumer: The Comical Is Political – The Atlantic

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