Just for Laughs Festival:
Amy Schumer at Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave.
By MICHAEL WALTERS
Amy Schumer is one of stand-up comedy’s rising stars for a reason. She really knows how to work a room.
Schumer began to break away from the pack with her performance at the Roast of Charlie Sheen last year, and she plainly knew what her audience was expecting Wednesday night. From the moment she set foot on the stage at the Park West she took control convincingly. Not everyone can open with a joke about sexual intercourse with an underage boy and then follow it up by calling her mother a whore. But she had the crowd eating it up at the Just For Laughs festival.
Schumer approaches the topic of sex with frankness and bravery. She’s not content to talk in general terms and go for easy laughs. She goes down into the sexual trenches and comes up with commentary on both what men expect and what women feel like they have to put themselves through in the dating world. You could say her piece de resistance is an extended riff on how she was surprised by an uncircumcised penis that her partner had neglected to mention.
Schumer has developed a few predictable stand-up tics, and peppers her set with throwaway lines that start off innocuous and then suddenly go extremely blue at the very end. These get a little trying after a while but fortunately she has plenty of other material and a self awareness to carry her through. While sex and other roast-friendly topics make up the majority of her act, there’s more going on than just another pretty funny white girl talking about sluts and ho’s. She’s now assuming the mantle of 30-something veteran. She’s still proudly out in the trenches while others have heeded the call of marriage and motherhood.
Watching Amy Schumer, I saw a comedian developing her own distinct voice and encouraging her audience to join her for a bodily fluid stained journey through the 21st century sexual revolution. By the time she told a hilarious story about attending a bridal shower full of Stepford wives in Connecticut, I knew I was watching a woman in control of her own destiny.