The Evolution Of Amy Schumer's Jokes

Amy Schumer loves to talk about things that make you cringe just as much as they make you laugh. Smelly vaginas? Great. Crude sexual experiences? A classic. Embarrassing drunk black-outs? An essential. She wants you to wrinkle your nose and close your eyes in disgust, while silently nodding along because you totally have been there. (Or somewhere near it.) And now she's back with another comedy special, this time on Netflix. Amy Schumer: The Leather Special will be streamable March 7, and one should be prepared to laugh. Hard.

But of course you already know that, because the 35-year-old has been making people laugh for a long time. But did you know that she got her start on a reality television series? One that many of you may not remember — Last Comic Standing. Or that she appeared in an Off-Broadway production called "Keeping Abreast?" Yet, here she is with a second solo comedy special (check out her first HBO one at the Apollo Theater if you haven't yet). So, how did she get from fourth place on a reality TV show in 2007, to being a New York Times best-selling author, Emmy-winning comedian, and Golden Globe-nominated actress? Through hard work and dirty jokes. Let's go through the life and times of Amy Schumer.

Photo by: Giovanni Rufino/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images.
2007

Schumer took fourth place in the fifth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, which is pretty impressive considering she was only 25 at the time. According to an interview that year with BuddyTV, Schumer had only been doing stand-up for three years. She would go on to be a guest mentor on the show until 2014.
2008

After Last Comic Standing, with her newfound semi-fame, Schumer joined the cast of a Comedy Central series, Reality Bites Back, which spoofed a variety of popular reality TV series at the time. In this clip, Schumer is one of the contestants on a Biggest Loser-type series. Except in this alternate world, the contestants are asked to gain weight to see who will become The Biggest Chubby, instead. In the episodes (which covered everything from a fake Survivor series to The Amazing Race) it feels like Schumer is more reading a script than contributing to the dialogue. The series subsequently only ran for one season.
Photo: Amanda Schwab/StarPix/REX/Shutterstock.
2010

Do you recognize these two musicians and funny guys with a 28-year-old Schumer? Yes, that's Blink-182's Mark Hoppus and the solo artist John Mayer. No, she didn't date either of them but she did appear on Hoppus' short-lived music show, Hoppus On Music, which she actually co-hosted.

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Photo Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff/ Getty Images.
2011

Now a regular on Comedy Central shows, but still a few years from snagging her own, Schumer attends the "Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump." Who knew that six years later she (and her uncle, Senator Chuck Schumer) would still be roasting Trump. Schumer would become a regular attendee of the roasts (Charlie Sheen, Roseanne Barr) and definitely learned a thing or two about stage presence and nailing the balance between nasty and funny in a joke. It also placed her among the other more notable comedians and roasters, like Seth MacFarlane, Wayne Brady, and even the late Carrie Fisher.
2011

That same year, Schumer is really leaning into the shtick that we will all come to know and love (and most likely hear on her Leather Special). She talks about sleeping with high school students, dealing with drunk guys at bars, and other miscellaneous intoxicated endeavors. It's safe to say that a few jokes from this stand-out morphed into Schumer's soon-to-be debut film, Trainwreck.
2013

Inside Amy Schumer premieres and puts the 31-year-old on the map. By January of 2014, she's also deemed the Breakthrough in Comedy Winner by Variety magazine and also appears on the cover.
2014

By 2014, Schumer has a solid name for herself. She's a constant guest on the slew of late night shows due to her magnetic humor and ability to command a crowd. In this interview with David Letterman, she talks about her series, Inside Amy Schumer, as well as her upcoming film, Trainwreck, which will be a semi-biographical look at being a single woman sort of looking for love, but mostly looking for fun. The script for the film is the first one she had ever written and — and as we will learn in the summer of 2015 — is pretty damn funny.
2015

By April of 2015, Schumer's show, Inside Amy Schumer, starts getting really, really smart. With sketches like "Last Fuckable Day," "12 Angry Men," and "Football Town Nights," she starts to use her show as a platform to tackle serious problems like the ageism of Hollywood, the toxic masculinity that haunts all men, and the normalization of rape culture (all with a purposefully placed joke or two, of course).
2015

It's summer of 2015 and Schumer just peaked. Hard. The now officially actress-comedian releases the comedy of the summer with a pretty packed cast (from Bill Hader to Jon Cena to Tilda Swinton to LeBron James).
2017

And finally, we get to future Schumer with her unreleased, and already much speculated, new project with Goldie Hawn, Snatched. The mother-daughter comedy looks chalk full of potty humor, unrealistic situations, and racial stereotypes. If Schumer's star has fallen a bit, I don't know if this is the exact movie to bring it back up, but we're willing to give it a shot.