I’m not some kind of ride-or-die Amy Schumer fan. I basically only watch her show in the clips posted on other sites, and as I said in a post earlier this week, I think the trailer for Train Wreck looks really funny. Schumer has become known for being pretty bro-y, with a biting feminist edge. But in a Guardian write-up about Schumer’s rise to stardom, a writer took issue with Schumer’s comedy when it comes to issues of race. This is what The Guardian’s Monica Heisey wrote:
For such a keen observer of social norms and an effective satirist of the ways gender is complicated by them, Schumer has a shockingly large blind spot around race. Her lacklustre stint hosting the MTV Movie awards (a rare misstep) featured lazy jokes about Latina women being “crazy” that left Jennifer Lopez as unimpressed as the online commentariat. While a much-lauded sketch from the show featured an ad for a training centre where old people learn not to be racist, Schumer’s stand-up repeatedly delves into racial territory tactlessly and with no apparent larger point. Her standup special features jokes like “Nothing works 100% of the time, except Mexicans” and much of her character’s dumb slut persona is predicated on the fact that the men she sleeps with are people of colour. “I used to date Latino guys,” she says in an older stand-up routine. “Now I prefer consensual.”
Schumer has said that she’s not worried about the show upsetting people because viewers know “we have good intentions”, but as Anne Thériault wrote for the Daily Dot: “Amy Schumer frequently makes jokes that perpetuate stereotypes rather than dismantle them … It’s hard not to feel like Schumer is only here for women who look like her.”
Is Amy Schumer’s comedy merely an extension of the closing borders of white feminism? I don’t know. I want to give Schumer more credit than that, because from what I’ve seen of her, she IS sharp. I want to believe she’s not just another Chelsea Handler, a “comedienne” who only trades in shock, vulgarity and racism. Schumer always seemed deeper than that. Anyway, Schumer responded to The Guardian article by posting this on her Twitter:
Put down your torches before reading this so you don't catch on fire. pic.twitter.com/JyRQGvFuX8
— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) June 28, 2015
She was also tweeting stuff like “I don’t have any jokes that deal with race in my standup. I haven’t for almost 2 years” and “When you read the word “racist” who did you assume it was against? uh oh, maybe you need to take a look at yourself.”
Personally, I hate when someone makes a first-person “trust me, y’all, I’m not a racist” argument because it feels like they’re about two seconds away from listing all of the reasons they’re not a racist, going from #1 I have black friends, #2 I sleep with black people, and all the way down to #57 I think Tyler Perry is funny. It feels like The Guardian hit Schumer in a sensitive area and she’s overcompensating a little bit. Or maybe I’m totally wrong. Maybe she’s just as bad as Chelsea Handler and my defense of Schumer is going to blow up in my face. Ugh. I hope not.
Photos courtesy of WENN.