After a breakout season of her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, and the success of Trainwreck last summer, Amy Schumer’s found higher celebrity status and a greater degree of creative freedom: experiences she gleefully skewers in the current season of her show. Yet, if this current season has grappled with her newfound success, it’s also left viewers wondering if we can relate to the new Schumer.

Little tweaks to the format of the show reveal this season’s broader shift towards exploring self and celebrity. The show has largely shed its “man on the street” interviews, which led to delightful moments of unexpected and earnest comedy in favor of bar conversations with famous friends. In her stand-up, Schumer abandons her typical comedic persona for a voice closer to her own, reserving punchlines for the sketchy cultural responses to women and celebrities in public. While Schumer’s a great and genuine interviewer, even the casual interviews center less on the interviewee than on Schumer herself. On their own, these tweaks wouldn’t make or break the show, but, rather than elevating any given episode’s theme, they link disjointed and often disappointing sketches.

As Trainwreck and the best sketches from the third season of Inside Amy Schumerdemonstrated, Schumer’s comedy is most potent when it explores the stakes of what it skewers. Sketches like “Last F*ckable Day” and “I’m Sorry” find pain alongside laughter in the ways women, famous or not, are expected or forced to navigate the world. Even when Schumer ventured into the absurd and experimental, the comedy remained grounded in dark truths (see the brilliant “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer” from season three).

The strongest sketches this season have tapped into this sharp, dark vein of cultural criticism, taking a refreshing break from exploring Schumer’s fame.

Read the full article at PopMatters.

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Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash.

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