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Best of 2014: Inside Amy Schumer's military rape sketch

In an Inside Amy Schumer sketch that premiered this spring, Schumer takes up a controller to play her boyfriend’s Call of Duty-esque game. But when she chooses a female avatar, she doesn’t encounter enemy fire. Instead, her character is raped—and when she moves to try and convict her assailant, she is faced with bureaucracy and character assassination. It’s a sketch in which the humor comes from how unfunny the situation actually is.

EW talked with writer Christine Nangle about how this powerful sketch got on the air. Click here for more stories behind the year’s top TV moments.

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How 'Inside Amy Schumer' got the word 'pussy' on basic cable

During Amy Schumer’s set at Carnegie Hall Friday night as part of the New York Comedy Festival, she joked about being labeled a sex comic. Her show is, after all, called Inside Amy Schumer.

While sex is a large part of Schumer’s comedic persona, however, her work is wide ranging—and her Comedy Central show has been labeled the “most feminist show on TV.” So before she and her writers took the stage for a panel at the Paley Center for Media Saturday, EW asked Schumer what she would call the show if she were really describing it. “It would be like ‘show to make you laugh, feel like a human and empower both men and women.’ And I think zero people would watch that show, but that is the goal,” Schumer said. “We want people to laugh their asses off and we want to change things.”

During the panel, Schumer explained that she and executive producer Jessi Klein weren’t initially of the mindset “everybody, bras off, we’re going to make our dream feminist-agenda show.” Rather, that’s just who they are—and those attitudes came through. “There has been so much attention for it being a feminist show that we accept the responsibility of that and aren’t pretending,” Schumer said. “I always think of like Miley Cyrus or a pop singer being like, well, I didn’t ask to be a role model. Well, you are, bitch.” Still, Schumer’s show has gotten praise for expertly skewering and calling attention to societal expectations’ effects on female behavior, with sketches like “Compliments” and “I’m So Bad.” (Schumer noted that in the upcoming season there will be a sketch along those lines about the phrase “I’m sorry.”)

Inside Amy Schumer has had a demonstrable impact, as she and the writers detailed. Here are three examples of how Inside Amy Schumer has had a real-world impact.

The liberation of ‘pussy’
Inside Amy Schumer broke down pussy barriers at Comedy Central. “According to executive producer Dan Powell, “dick” could be used “un-bleeped as an anatomical reference, but you couldn’t do that with ‘pussy.'”

“You are allowed to say ‘dick,’ and we just felt this was grossly unfair,” Klein said. Powell made it his mission to get equality for the word.

“That was Dan’s Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” Schumer said. Powell did research on the “pussy” problem, and wrote a letter [to the network executives]. “It was written like I was writing to my congressman but it was about using the word ‘pussy’ on air,” Powell said. “I guess it struck a chord.” Hence, viewers got the sketch, below, in which Schumer could comment that the animated meerkat she was doing a voiceover for had a pussy.

M’lady prevention
The “Hello M’Lady” sketch actually came in handy when a guy was acting as a “m’lady” to Schumer herself. The sketch is about an app that helps women manage the men who dote on them despite there being no reciprocal feelings, and then become enraged because they feel they are entitled to those women’s attentions. To Schumer, the sketch has become something “you can just present as evidence and help you deal with your own life.” In fact, she has done just that.

“This guy was just spiraling. I just casually tweeted the Hello m’lady scene a couple of days ago and he reached out, he said, oh my God, and he’s left me alone since then,” Schumer described. “So it was really satisfying.” Writer Christine Nangle, who starred in the sketch along with Schumer, explained that Neil Casey, who wrote and appears in the sketch and has since been poached from Inside Amy Schumer, didn’t want to let anyone with “m’lady” behavior distance himself from the sketch.

“He was like, no, I don’t want this specific kind of guy off the hook,” Nangle said. “I don’t want to make it so crazy or so unrelatable that this kind of guy can look at that character and say, oh, that’s not me, that guy’s crazy. So we kept it laser-focused on the exact kind of guy.” Powell said, “You got the impression that Neil wanted to deal with his friends but couldn’t talk to them personally.”

A Sorkin apology
Inside Amy Schumer‘s “The Foodroom,” which starred Josh Charles, perfectly skewered Aaron Sorkin’s self-important, male-aggrandizing style, and Klein is taking credit for a Sorkin mea culpa. “Without addressing the sketch, he was like,’Um, you know, hindsight’s 20/20 when you make a show, and we’re still figuring it out,'” Klein said. “It was clear. And also we knew through back channels that he had seen it.” (“The Foodroom” aired on April 15, and Sorkin apologized on April 21.)

So how do you parody Sorkin that well? According to Schumer, it’s about “the severity, the importance of every moment. You could all do it right now.” And the script called for “the most important music you’ve ever heard.”

Amy Schumer wants to give an Emmy to everyone on 'The Wire'

Amy Schumer listened to the Emmy nominations early this morning, but didn’t know her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer was nominated until a friend texted her with the news. “I was like, ‘What?’ I thought he was just confused.”

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Comedy Central renews 'Inside Amy Schumer,' 'Review,' and 'Trip Tank,' picks up 2 new series

Amy Schumer can begin sketching out a third season of her series: Comedy Central announced Monday that it had renewed sketch comedy Inside Amy Schumer, along with second season go-aheads for Andy Daly’s Review and the animated series TripTank. All three shows will return with new episodes sometime next year.

The network also gave series orders to a pair of comedies, Another Period and Idiotsitter, which will premiere in 2015. Set at the turn of last century, Another Period stars Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome as two sisters from a fabulously wealthy family in Newport, R.I., who “care only about how they look, what parties they attend and becoming famous, which is a lot harder in 1902.” The show’s executive producers include Ben Stiller and Jeremy Konner, the co-creator of Drunk History. The pilot also features such celebrities as Michael Ian Black, Jason Ritter, Tom Lennon, Bret Gelman, and Paget Brewster.

Idiotsitter chronicles the adventures of a straitlaced woman (Charlotte Newhouse) who is tapped to babysit a ridiculously rich “womanchild” (Jillian Bell) who is under house arrest in her father’s mansion. The show, which did a six-episode run as Comedy Central digital series, was created by Newhouse and Bell.

 

 

'Inside Amy Schumer' creator and star: Five reasons to watch season 2

So, why should you tune in to the second season of Inside Amy Schumer, which premieres Tuesday night on Comedy Central? Simple: “You’ll laugh for 30 minutes,” Schumer tells EW. “I would say only watch it if you enjoy laughing.”

Point taken. When pressed, though, the sketch show’s creator and star did come up with a few more specific highlights — including season 2’s greatest guest stars (Paul Giamatti!), targets (Aaron Sorkin!), interviewees (a phone sex operator!), and, perhaps most importantly, its effect on Schumer’s own desirability. (Though clearly, that’s not the word she uses.)

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'Inside Amy Schumer': Paul Giamatti is God and Amy has herpes -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Inside Amy Schumer returns to Comedy Central on April 1, but you’d be a fool to wait that long to see a sketch from the new season. And not just any sketch. One involving God. And herpes. And jean shorts. READ FULL STORY

'Inside Amy Schumer' season 2 trailer: 'This slut is not ashamed' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

“If you have an erection lasting longer than four hours” … call Amy Schumer.

EW has an exclusive look at the season 2 trailer for Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer, which comes chock full of makeouts, shots, Cinderella fantasies, and celebrity guest appearances. From sitting in an electric chair to kissing Josh Charles, it’s safe to say that Schumer’s going to be busy this season.

Watch the exclusive trailer below:

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Amy Schumer on her show's first season and storming the comedy frat house

Comedy Central may not quite be the cable-channel equivalent of a dude adjusting his junk in the way that, say, Spike TV is, but it’s still generally pretty bro-centric. This is, after all, the same institution that brought us The Man Show and helped convince every college-age guy resting his Oakleys on the brim of a baseball cap to yell “I’m Rick James, bitch!” at any available moment.

That’s what makes Amy Schumer’s success all the more impressive: While you might expect the “ironic Patrick Bateman” stylings of her fellow showrunner (and ex-boyfriend) Anthony Jeselnik to do well among the network’s target demographic, it would have been hard to predict that Schumer’s sketch show would do even better. The first season of Inside Amy Schumer has aired to impressive ratings and appreciative critical murmuring, and its star is already holed up writing season 2. We caught up with her for EW’s New Hollywood Issue and chatted about her newfound success and where she plans to go from here.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Have you found it’s been easier working on the show now that you already have a season under your belt?
AMY SCHUMER: Now I don’t have that first-season anxiety of, “We have to make this good, this might suck.” I just trust myself and the writers and everybody more, and we know everyone all the way down to craft services. I waited tables for a long time, and opening a restaurant always sucked. Did you ever do that?

No. But I’ve eaten in restaurants, so…
You’ve eaten food, right. Being there when a restaurant first opens is so much work, it just sucks. And that’s what it was like. But now it’s a little more relaxed as far as the TV show goes, but what I realized is that when you do something that people respond to well, you get more work. So I have exciting opportunities going on, but that leads to more work and more stress.
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InsideTV Podcast: Amy Schumer reveals the too-offensive sketch Comedy Central wouldn't let her show

Amy Schumer has no problem pushing buttons on her new show Inside Amy Schumer. But there are a select few buttons her channel, Comedy Central, deemed simply unpushable. Schumer stopped by the TV Recap show on Entertainment Weekly Radio (channel 105 on SiriusXM) and revealed to Jessica Shaw and me one controversial sketch for her program that Comedy Central wouldn’t let her air. “I wanted to write a sketch where a guy tried to kill himself and had a failed suicide attempt, but then still had to come to work on Monday,” said Schumer. “And everyone knew, but he didn’t get his work done and he is like, ‘Well, I didn’t think I was going to be here.’ And we wanted it to be like he was a hipster — like, what would a failed suicide be as a hipster? And I think they were like, ‘that’s too sensitive’ or ‘too personal’.”

It also sounds too hilarious. So what other topics has her channel deemed off-limits? “The sort of hot-button stuff switches,” said Schumer. They want you to stay away from Muslim stuff a little bit. And, like, rape, I guess. And domestic violence.” So there you have it! To hear the entire interview with Schumer — in which she also discusses her take on penis photos and reveals whom she smoked pot through an apple with — just click on the audio player below. It is soooooo worth the click. READ FULL STORY

'Inside Amy Schumer' renewed for a second season

Comedy Central has renewed Inside Amy Schumer for a second season. It will have ten episodes and is set to premiere in 2014. The comedian tweeted the news yesterday: READ FULL STORY

'Inside Amy Schumer' gets strong premiere ratings

Comedy Central’s newest original show has scored big in the ratings.

Inside Amy Schumer, the latest original programming on the comedy channel, premiered as the number one entertainment series on cable in its time slot with 1.6 million total viewers.

The show rated especially well with young male viewers,  earning a 2.4 rating among men 18 to 34, despite being largely about the situations that girls find themselves in on a day-to-day basis. Our own review will tell you that Schumer is an actual Girl’s Girl, not a Cool Girl as so many comediennes try to be, and that seems to have struck a chord with audiences.
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'Inside Amy Schumer' review: How one woman broke the rules of 'Cool Girl' comedy

Amy Schumer is just as profane as any man, woman, or drunk robot on Comedy Central. Her new sketch-comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer, finds her auditioning for a role in the porn video “2 Girls 1 Cup” and dragging friends to O’Nutters, a male version of Hooters that features waiters in crotch-hugging outfits. But she’s not just another one of those hot, dirty “guy’s girl” types. Lately, too many of the talented funnywomen who’ve earned their own shows are trying a little too hard to appeal to men, always professing their love of rape jokes and threesomes and Philly cheesesteaks and openmouthed burping — even though most of them are so skinny, they look like they don’t eat human food, much less burp. (Sorry, Sarah Silverman, Chelsea Handler, Whitney Cummings, and anyone else mentioned in trend pieces about “edgy” comediennes.) Many of these women are what the writer Gillian Flynn calls “the Cool Girl” type: Watching them perform, you’re not so much looking at a real person as a character, one that has been dreamed up by a woman who “watched too many movies written by socially awkward men who’d like to believe that this kind of woman exists and might kiss them,” as Flynn put it in her novel Gone Girl. When a Cool Girl tells a cruel joke about other women, she makes all the other Cool Girls in the audience laugh, because, obviously, these jokes aren’t about them — they’re about those other bitches, who totally deserve it. In other words, Cool Girls aren’t that cool.

But Schumer isn’t like that. Her comedy has always been what some women might call FUBU: for us, by us. You might recognize her as the tipsy blonde who warned Adam not to hurt his new girlfriend on Girls. (“That would be like hurting Mother Theresa,” she said. “Except Mother Theresa didn’t blow my cousin.”) READ FULL STORY

Amy Schumer is nutty in new sketch comedy show -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Amy Schumer could always be counted on to go for the jugular when she took the stage at Comedy Central’s raunchy celebrity roasts. Now you can go Inside Amy Schumer with the comedian’s new series.

In an exclusive clip, Schumer and her friends go to O’Nutters — a Hooters-esque joint aimed to please the ladies — where they encounter a “Wet Nut” contest. Watch the clip below.

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