You know that ad for Inside Amy Schumer in which the comedian says she’s coming back with a fresh batch of episodes even though she might be over-exposed? (“Gotta follow my heart — expose myself” she says to her doctor.) Well, to judge from the first two episodes of the new season that starts Thursday night on Comedy Central, she may be more correct than funny in that idea. The half-hours made available for review contain some clever lines and concepts, but not as many laughs as last season.
The star of Trainwreck is still mining her favorite, most potent subject — the gap between male expectations and women’s realities in relationships, work, and general life philosophies — but quite a few of the set-ups feel recycled. The opening half-hour finds Amy going to her gynecologist’s office only to be met with a group of Congressmen who want to preside over her health care and act disgusted at the mention of sex or tampons. The second episode features a mock-TV-ad for a nanny service predicated on the notion that men will have sex with anyone or anything. Right from the start, the whole sexy-nanny/babysitter thing just reminded me of… that terrible canceled NBC sitcom Truth Be Told.
Lots of Schumer’s jokes here involve female-anatomy punch-lines, such as another parody ad for a food product called “Yo-Puss,” that, when consumed, makes one’s nether-region “taste like nothing.” In general — certainly not just with Inside Amy Schumer — I’m kinda over jokes whose humor depends on finding the words “vagina” or “penis” inherently funny. Maybe it’s because I have to watch a lot of sitcoms, so many of which use those parts of the anatomy as laugh-lines, that by now it seems too easy a way to try and elicit a guffaw. There’s even a new segment of Schumer’s recurring feature “Amy Goes Deep” that features an interview with the woman who’s been Schumer’s bikini waxer for the past nine years. It’s not only not very funny — I thought the woman being interviewed seemed uncomfortable.
This may suggest an interesting dilemma for Schumer that’s also experienced by a lot of big stars: Once you become famous, rich, and powerful, how do you continue to elicit self-identification with your audience? The show continues to pull in prominent guest stars, such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash-hit musical Hamilton. But the sketch strands him as a mere reactor to Amy’s shenanigans — her own clumsy attempts to create a rap musical, this one about Betsy Ross.
Claudia O’Doherty — so good in the Netflix sitcom Love — fares better in a second-episode sketch about Guy-gles, which are “sort of like Google Glass,” big goggles that women wear to suss out the thoughts and desires of men, the better to please them. It’s very well-done.
So there’s nothing terribly bad about the new Inside Amy Schumer. But there’s also no sketch here that comes close to previous-season wonderfulness like “Last F—able Day” or her 12 Angry Men parody. (The closest she comes here is with the brashly funny “The World’s Most Interesting Woman In The World” running joke in the premiere.) In general, it’s just a matter of having high expectations that aren’t quite met.
Inside Amy Schumer airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Comedy Central.