Inside Amy Schumer Season 4, Episode 3: The Problem With "Brave"

Photo: Justin Stephens.
Tonight's episode of Inside Amy Schumer delivered its usual fare of social commentary. In a faux awards-show setting, Steve Buscemi presented the award for best actress, only to reveal that all the nominees played wives waiting for their husbands to come home. Later, in a music video parody in which Schumer sings about wearing her boyfriend's clothes when she misses him, she takes it so far as to even pee standing up like him. And we had a nice runner sketch advertising Matronly Nannies, so that your husband won't be tempted to cheat on you with a young sexy babysitter.
But the most poignant part of the episode came in Schumer's standup segment. She talks about a shoot she did with Annie Liebovitz. She says to the famous photographer, "I wanna take off my clothes" for the shoot. "Annie said please don't," Schumer says. The comedian justified her decision with her age. She's 34, and she's not sure her anatomy's going to get any more appealing with the passage of time. "I wanna do it before it's over," she explained to Liebovitz.
Then, when Schumer shared the nearly-nude images of herself, she was disappointed with the reaction. People commented that she was "brave" to put her body out for the public like that. In the standup set, she talks about how she can't believe that's a word people think is appropriate. She jokes that she's particularly "brave" in her hips and thighs. The point is: Why is it brave for someone who isn't a size zero to wear anything but an oversized T-shirt?
Another standout moment was in the Guy-gles sketch. Schumer can't seem to get any of the guys in her office to read her business proposal. Her female coworker suggests Guy-gles, a (completely made up) pair of glasses a woman can wear. When wearing them, she can look at a man and it will tell her exactly the type of woman he needs her to be. That ranges anywhere from "flirty" to "think all his jokes are funny." Then, once you satisfy that emotional need for him, he'll read whatever proposal you want.
It's a fun idea, and one that calls out how women are constantly fielding male demands, even if men don't realize they're being sexist. But in the final beat, the sketch took a different turn. A Black woman puts on the Guy-gles — except for her, it tells her where everyone falls on the racist spectrum. Labels included phrases like "Thinks it's #AllLivesMatter" and "Dated a Black girl once so thinks he's a hero." It's all too much for her, as she suddenly realizes everyone around her is secretly prejudiced in one way or another.
Here's the thing. Comedy has long been a tool to call out social injustice, particularly racism and sexism. But all this sketch really did for me was draw attention to the fact that Schumer's show is pretty darn whitewashed. Sure, for the sake of this joke much of the office needed to be white. But why is nearly every other bit on her series full of white people? I appreciate the sentiment, but I'm not sure Schumer gets to walk away the hero in this regard.

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