Inside Amy Schumer: she’s back, but lacking bite

Last year Schumer soared to the top of comedys firmament and while the fourth season of her sketch show is funny, so far it doesnt quite hit the mark

If youve seen Amy Schumers Hamilton parody Betsy Ross, then youve already seen the funniest thing about the first episode of Inside Amy Schumer, which returns for its fourth season on Thursday at 10pm ET. Its not that the sketch comedy series isnt as funny, its just hard to live up to the premiere of last season, which featured the immediate classic sketches Milk Milk Lemonade and Last Fuckable Day starring comedy legends Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette. In comparison, the Hamilton sketch just isnt all that.

This is going to be a tough season for Schumer just because of the insane year shes had. First there was the incredibly solid last season of her show, which was capped off with her winning the first Emmy for outstanding variety sketch series. Then there was the summer blockbuster Trainwreck, a bunch of viral stories about her friendship with Jennifer Lawrence, a Super Bowl commercial, a hunky new boyfriend and a certified seat at the table of the coolest girls in the entertainment industry.

All that, and she also has to create more signature sketches that are not only funny but also insightful, subversive and threatening to the patriarchy. Not an easy task.

Sketch comedy shows, especially ones that also include standup routines and interviews, as Schumers does, are inherently uneven, but the first two episodes, which were made available to critics, feel especially hit or miss.

In the first episode, a spot about a group of senators in the exam room where Schumer is getting a pap smear seems a little too on the nose. The same goes for a fake commercial for a yoghurt called YoPuss that makes a womans vagina taste like nothing. These are the kind of sketches the audience tunes in to Amy Schumer to see, but they just dont have the daring punch that last seasons 30-minute 12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer did.

The best part of the first episode, besides the Hamilton sketch, is about a mock SportsCenter program scoring a showdown, between Amy and a fictional boyfriend, about who is going to be the first to say they dont want to have sex. Its a funny conceit, but it plays a bit too long and could have pushed the joke much further.

The second episode fares better, with one all-star segment featuring Jennifer Hudson, Julianne Moore, Laura Linney and Maggie Gyllenhaal, mocking the roles that get women nominated. Theres also an excellent series of sketches about husbands who sleep with nannies that dismantles the easy advice of dont hire a hot nanny and shows how absurd it is. That is what Schumer has always done best, and shell definitely be changing minds with this one.

However, there is a long sketch about fantasy football that comes out of left field (or more accurately, the other teams end zone) and is clever, but not really hilarious. It also feels like it belongs on some other show one that genuinely cares about things like sports.

Many fans fear that Schumer wont have time for little old cable television now that shes moved on to the big, bad world of movies. Yes, there are some small changes to the show she no longer does man-on-the-street interviews, probably because they would degenerate into her taking selfies with strangers all night but one of the shows hallmarks has always been that the next genius sketch is just around the corner.

Given Schumers success, the audience is expecting that genius on a rather more reliable basis. Im sure its coming, even if it isnt evident right out of the gate.

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