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AMY SCHUMER: Live at the Apollo Special

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  • Atypical
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Airs on Saturday, October 17, 2015 @ 10 PM ET on HBO.

    Major Variety Special contender next year.

    Directed by Chris Rock

    Feb 3rd, 2012

    Can’t wait!

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Reporter’s review:

    “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo”: TV

    AM PDT 10/16/2015 by Keith Uhlich

    The Bottom Line: Room
    for improvement. But it’s no trainwreck.

    Saturday, October 17th, 10 p.m. (HBO)

    Chris Rock

    Amy Schumer

    The tart-tongued star of “Inside Amy
    Schumer” gets plenty of laughs (both cheap and deep) in her first HBO stand-up

    begins, as many of these comedy specials do, with a seemingly sentimental
    throwback—scratchy home video of stand-up Amy Schumer as a little girl.
    “My name is Amy . . . and this is myyyyy show!” sings the pajama-clad
    tyke, adorably dragging out that second-to-last word. But before the cutesiness
    can take permanent hold, on comes the profane refrain to Nicki Minaj’s
    “Beez in the Trap” (“Bitches ain’t shit and they ain’t saying
    nothing/A hundred mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin’ “), which underscores
    images of grown-up Schumer posing with fans and doing some of her
    alcohol-addled shock shenanigans. 

    may very well be written about Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo’s canny
    appropriation of the Trinidadian-born Minaj’s hardcore hip-hop anthem—the
    overture, in this context, to an acerbic white girl taking the stage at a
    historic Harlem venue (the Apollo Theater) for an hourlong HBO special directed
    by an African-American comedian (Chris Rock). Schumer is, of course, hip to the
    ethnic ironies: “You guys all look like you’re from this
    neighborhood!” she says to the mostly Caucasian audience.

    race isn’t really Schumer’s shtick, and so she quickly segues into the
    clueless-gal-of-privilege mode that’s earned her both praise (as a feminist
    warrior) and scorn (as, well, a clueless gal of privilege). It’s an
    interesting, frequently very funny line to watch her walk. And it’s often as
    awkward as the lumbering strut she performs early on when recalling her
    gap-toothed, hormone-afflicted fifth grade self. (“I was like this
    jack-o’-lantern with tits walking around.”)

    one prop—handheld mic aside—is a wine bottle that she takes a few swigs from on
    occasion. (No jokester’s glass of water for this one.) Mostly, though, Schumer
    sticks rigidly to center stage, letting her acid tongue do the heavy lifting.
    It’s difficult to say how much of her standing around is performance anxiety
    and how much of it is an intentional gambit to let her vulgar banter take
    precedence. Schumer certainly doesn’t seem comfortable (and Rock’s direction is
    purely functional at best and rhythm sapping at worst). But this could all be
    part of the joke. Schumer’s confidence is all in her confrontational attitude,
    and that doesn’t necessarily translate to the rest of her body.

    looks are, unsurprisingly, a big part of the act. When Schumer talks about her
    experience writing and starring in the Judd Apatow-directed “Trainwreck,” she
    does several gutbusting riffs on modern femininity in Hollywood. She begins
    with a terrific dissection of the atrocious talking animal comedy Zookeeper
    starring Kevin James (“the real King James,” Schumer quips) and the
    unreality of Rosario Dawson playing the smitten love interest. Then she talks
    about the shock, and the quick ego boost, of being cast in a lead role she was
    convinced would go to someone like Blake Lively. But, of course, weight loss is
    part of the deal, and Schumer’s impression of the personal trainer she was
    assigned is both a hilarious and mortifying encapsulation of the Tinseltown
    standard of beauty. (“He’s smiling at me, trying to be brave, like you
    would for a burn victim.”)  

    a great routine, one that’s matched only by a subsequent ode to semen (during
    which she does a priceless shout-out to Oprah Winfrey), as well as a climactic
    monologue about sexual positions that features some pretty uproarious audience
    participation. It’s during these sections that Schumer’s humor is most alive—truly
    transgressive in ways that confront, rather than winkingly tweak, the
    chauvinistic prejudices she’s targeting. The rest is scattershot in the way of
    a very talented comic still honing both her points and her live-act presence.
    Guaranteed Schumer only improves from here.   


    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Times’s review:

    In “Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo,”
    Tart Words on Men, Women, Sex, and Herself

    MIKE HALE OCT. 15, 2015

    are a few of the ways Amy Schumer refers to herself in “Amy Schumer: Live at
    the Apollo,” her HBO stand-up concert airing on Saturday night:

    gnome. Jack-o’-lantern with breasts. (She doesn’t say breasts.) Werewolf. Fat
    tumbleweed. Gilbert Grape’s mom. One of those inflatable things outside a
    carwash. Super bloated. “I’m not a real woman, I’m just harvesting organs for

    doesn’t call herself the hottest comedian around, though she coyly drops in “I
    wrote a movie” to thunderous applause from the audience at the Apollo Theater,
    where this special was taped. Later, she gets even more cheers during an
    extended bit in which she compares herself (a “funny girl”) with the model and
    actress Kate Upton (a “beautiful girl”) and asks, “When’s her hour special
    coming out on HBO?”

    Schumer, of “Inside Amy Schumer” on Comedy Central and writer and star of the
    film “Trainwreck,” isn’t afraid to say insulting things about herself. But she
    doesn’t do it with the self-mocking edge of a Joan Rivers. It’s a comfortable
    kind of self-deprecation, born of insecurity but delivered with a confidence
    that takes the sting out and gives the listener a snug feeling of complicity.
    There are comics who inspire more raucous, helpless laughter, but no one has
    the audience so completely on her side.

    hourlong “Live at the Apollo,” her first HBO special, follows a trajectory from
    one side of feminist comedy to the other. Much of the first half involves jokes
    about her weight and appearance, which don’t register as defensive, because she
    frames them as someone else’s perception of her. “You’re here for the girl
    getting gastric bypass?” a Los Angeles casting agent asks. The trainer hired to
    help her lose weight for “Trainwreck” tells her that for dinner she should “put
    a peanut under your pillow and hope you dream of pizza.”

    the second half, the focus swings to sex, and the notion—not new, but rarely
    conveyed this pungently and hilariously—that women enjoy it just as much as
    men. “I’d say in a relationship 50 percent of the time I initiate sex, and then
    50 percent we don’t have it,” she announces. Recalling her mother’s telling her
    that men wanted only one thing, she looks expectantly around the stage and
    says: “O.K. And then I waited. Am I on the wrong street?”

    is very little that’s explicitly political or topical about Ms. Schumer’s
    comedy, though she drops in a throwaway liberal-guilt line about the audience
    at the fabled Harlem theater (“You guys all look like you’re from this
    neighborhood”). The show was directed by one of the sharpest political-cultural
    critics around, Chris Rock, but he frames the hour simply with home movies of a
    very young Amy, who sings “Let Me Entertain You” under the closing credits.

    Schumer sticks, with perhaps a little too much regularity, to the themes of the
    unfair expectations and limiting stereotypes imposed on women and the
    self-absorbed, piggish behavior of men, a subject that gets a long workout in a
    closing routine about sex acts with funny names. A refreshing hint of anger
    seeps into Ms. Schumer’s generally placid affect as she recounts a series of
    (fictional) acts whose details are increasingly demeaning to women, affirming
    the idea that men dominate and define the conversation about sex. Where’s the
    good one for the girl, she asks, in which she is pleasured while reading


    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 3rd, 2010

    Last week for her SNL monologue I mentioned that she was so overexposed during the summer that she ended up making the exact same jokes she did on every talk show during her interviews. This time it was no exception and once again, pretty much the entire special was filled with jokes and stories she’s done before. Not just her usual themes, which is what people (myself included) may criticize about her, but the exact same lines. 

    During the summer she showed up everywhere for Inside, Movie Awards and Trainwreck. I believe she was on Ellen and Fallon for all three events and those are the places I’ve seen her, so I bet somebody else who watches Kimmel, Conan and the rest must have heard the rest of the jokes I’m thinking were new.  So the entire Hollywood/L.A story with the stunt man being male, the trainer, the story about how her arms qualifying as legs or whatever, “am I a model?”, all of it, the entire first 20 minutes of the special were repeats of all those appearances. Then came a bit of new material (or so I think) and the repeat Lakers game story came up. I thought she would go with the Diana Agron picture joke she did on Ellen, but instead changed it to Kate Upton but most of it was again, done already, like the part about her manager giving her the tickets because he harrassed her which goes into the joke about how that’s ok in your 30s and the construction workers bit. All of it. Done, done, done before. 

    I could seriously keep going on…and I will. Then came the popcorn bit. Done on Ellen. After that she was like “So yeah I’m single, I bet you’re all thinking How do we date you? You can’t”. The exact same line. Then came the bit about how she’s only on an app about finding food. The entire bit was done on Ellen too. It was a bit tiresome. It’s not like she was doing all these jokes on some obscure network like the one that aired The Kennedys and everybody made fun of it because nobody could find the channel, it was on freaking Ellen and Fallon. Everybody watches those shows.  

    So yeah, she might be doing this to a standup audience which is ok to repeat yourself, it’s part of the whole standup deal, but if you’re telling these jokes over and over again on national television, don’t repeat them on your heavily promoted HBO special. It’s as if somebody just mentioned during her super successful summer “hey HBO has an hour available, you want to recycle all of your material for a special?, Sure, it’s not TV, it’s HBO!”.

    Like I’m sure Ellen and Portia did last night, I watched the whole thing knowing it was all done before and I still laughed again, but common, it’s time for new material.  

    ReplyCopy URL
    Jan 23rd, 2015

    She killed it!!!

    EMMY #2 coming right up! 

    ReplyCopy URL
    Oct 17th, 2011

    I actually agree with Benito in that a lot of the material was stuff I had already seen before, but I was pretty much expecting that. I think she’s still a good comic in that the delivery makes me laugh every time, so I still really enjoyed myself. Yes, it would have been nice to see some new material, but if you think about it, how often do comics come up with new material? It’s not like the jokes were from years ago, they were things we were hearing over the summer and it’s only October right now. I think, ultimately, this was HBO jumping on the bandwagon as fast as possible and filming a special of a tour she’s been doing this whole year (with jokes she’s been using the whole time as well), just so they could get “an Amy Schumer comedy special” out while it’s still gonna be hot. I still really enjoyed it. And she’ll get Emmy noms, which I’m completely okay with. But I am excited to see some new material from her. 

    ReplyCopy URL
    Dec 1st, 2011

    Stellar special. This will garner Amy Schumer even more Emmy nominations next year. The Kevin James section might have had me howling the most, but so much of this was hilarious and right in her inappropriate everygirl wheelhouse. Let’s just take a minute to reflect on her UTI section and the marvelous “cum dumpster” reference lmao. I didn’t think that Chris Rock’s direction brought all that much to the table (except maybe the vintage clips of Amy that began this), and I fail to see the point of having this housed at the legendary Apollo theater and then have a mostly Caucasian audience in attendance there. But whatever. Amy more than brought it here and will hopefully have many more specials aired in this venue.

    ReplyCopy URL
    Nov 3rd, 2010

    Yeah the Apollo audience was very un-Apollo. I remember during her D-List days Kathy Griffin mega bombed at the Apollo because she made a pussy joke in front a mostly black audience who clearly worshiped the Apollo for what it is and what it stands for and they weren’t having it. So when Amy started her pussy jokes I inmediately remembered that episode and thought “well these people are fine with it” and then…”well of course, it’s the whitest audience ever, they don’t care about this place”. At least she made her own joke about this audience and the neighborhood.

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