“I don’t like any female comedians,” Jerry Lewis once said. “A woman doing comedy doesn’t offend me but sets me back a bit…I think of her as a producing machine that brings babies in the world.”
Years later, he clarified his comment by saying that, actually, he did like comediennes as long as they didn’t dare say anything crude or rude.
In that case, Mr. Lewis should avoid at all cost Amy Schumer’s standup act, her Comedy Central series “Inside Amy Schumer” and “Trainwreck,” the recent romantic comedy that she both wrote and starred in.
Schumer is not a female comedian, but a comedian who happens to be female, as is 50 percent of the population. Much of her appeal lies in the fact that women can sit through her set thinking, “Wow, she really gets me,” while their boyfriends or husbands sit next to them thinking, “Wow, she is as raunchy as [insert just about any male comedian’s name here].”
A woman who can do the same thing as a man? Who’da thunk it?
In “Trainwreck,” Schumer plays a character who, like many of the characters in her sketch series, is based on a version of herself, and the dialogue is something that you would expect to hear in any of her given standup specials.
Amy is a writer for a men’s magazine whose father told her at a young age that monogamy is not possible. Clearly, she took that lesson to heart, because we see her make lots stupid relationship decisions based on this maxim and also consume large quantities of alcohol.
Get drunk, make bad decisions, feel bad about them, repeat. And so goes Amy’s life until she meets The One (maybe).
The meet-cute occurs when Amy is assigned a story on a sports doctor, Aaron (Bill Hader), who is the team doc for the Knicks and a close personal friend of LeBron James. From here, “Trainwreck” follows the outline of every other romantic comedy, but with much better dialogue and a much funnier female protagonist.
If Schumer’s bawdy script wasn’t enough to bring in the male viewers, the producers must have concluded that a series of cameos from professional basketball players would definitely do the trick. And if the cameos and close-ups of Knicks cheerleaders weren’t guaranteed to get the guys on board for date night, then hiring director Judd Apatow (“40 Year-Old-Virgin,” “Knocked Up,” “This is 40”) should seal the deal.
There are plenty of people who don’t like Schumer’s style of comedy and won’t like “Trainwreck.” But (hopefully) these people would just as soon pass up Schumer as they would Apatow or Chris Rock or Louis C.K. or Marc Maron or, heaven forbid, Dane Cook.