Like a lot of female comics, Amy Schumer seeks to distinguish herself in part by proving she can be just as filthy as the boys, and other than genitalia, there’s not much to differentiate “Inside Amy Schumer” from countless others Comedy Central sketch shows featuring guys. The one welcome point of departure — at least in the first few episodes, featuring the requisite mix of standup, skits and man-on-the-street interviews — are some genuine laughs. Even if being dirty feels like a bit of a crutch, as a TV presence Schumer appears to have legs, whether or not this series does.
The opening certainly dampens expectations, in a sketch where Schumer plays an eager actress auditioning for a viral video so disgusting, degrading and heavily bleeped as to sound like a retelling of “The Aristocrats” joke. Hang in there a while, though, and Schumer conducts funny interviews with a model and (in the second episode) a stripper, and appears in an amusing sketch about a restaurant called O’Nutters, where the waiters’ package-hugging outfits offer a clever spoof on what Hooters for Women might look like.
Schumer also presents a sort-of recurring character, playing a girl so needy she starts picking out china patterns after a one-night stand, and contemplates sexting a guy “Hold me” before quickly thinking better of it.
Admittedly, the familiar format tends to yield a hit-miss brand of comedy, and it would be lovely if Schumer’s material didn’t return so frequently to sex, excrement and (yuck) a combination thereof. Cut through the sludge, though, and there is a comedic voice here, which is more than can be said for many of her brethren afforded similar Comedy Central showcases. (The show has also generated a rather exhaustive New York Times profile, which should ratchet up expectations, and based on the show’s merits probably qualifies as a bit too much, too soon.)
Accompanied by its own behind-the-scenes Web series, “Inside Amy Schumer” still represents more the promise of talent than one fully realized. Nevertheless, that’s a notch above much of what regularly passes for comedy in the half-hour before “The Daily Show,” and it’s cause to keep an eye on Schumer as somebody who might have something to say — the real test ultimately being how many germs of genuine comedy would survive if you washed her mouth out with soap.
Inside Amy Schumer
(Series; Comedy Central, Tues. April 30, 10:30 p.m.)
Produced by Jax Media. Executive producers, Amy Schumer, Daniel Powell, Jessi Klein; supervising producer, Steven Ast; producers, Itay Reiss, Derek Van Pelt; directors, Neal Brennan, Steven Tsuchida, John Lee; head writer, Klein; camera, Jonathan Furmanski; editors, Elizabeth Merrick, Nick Paley; music, Questlove. 30 MIN.
Cast: Amy Schumer.