9.5

Inside Amy Schumer Review: "Slow Your Roll"

Comedy Reviews Inside Amy Schumer
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<i>Inside Amy Schumer</i> Review: "Slow Your Roll"

“Slow Your Roll”? More like Amy Schumer is ON a roll!

Sorry, I accidentally let Gene Shalit take over this review for a second. All puns aside, this was easily my favorite episode of the season, moving along smoothly with snappy pacing and clever premises—along with the added bonus of every scene having a satisfying punchline (always the hardest part of sketch comedy).

There was just an ease of flow throughout “Slow Your Roll,” maybe because the theme was loosely based around perversion, so the mood naturally felt a little less rigid. But as the season progresses, the show consistently displays a confidence in its material and in its voice to prove it’s not just Amy Schumer who’s coming into her own as a star, but so is Inside Amy Schumer as a series.

The cold open starts simply enough, as Schumer walks through a new house with her interior designer, played smartly by Missi Pyle (Galaxy Quest). Amid suggestions for sophisticated décor like sconces and suede chaise lounges, the designer casually—and exclusively—refers to the bathroom as “the shitter.” Her language becomes more profanely descriptive as she imagines the room as a dream sanctuary for Schumer to come home at the end of the day and “drop a ton of heat.” Once again, Schumer kills as the straight man, with perfectly timed reactions to Pyle’s matter-of-fact delivery. I need an animated GIF of Schumer’s expression when Pyle asks “Can I ask you something crazy?” as my profile picture across all the Internets forever.

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Next she pays a visit to Janeane Garafalo, portraying “nutritionist to the stars” Cheryl Oberwood, who offers Schumer a variety of weight-loss plans, from the “Instagram Diet” (“Tweet it, don’t eat it”) to the “Cambodian Holiday.” There’s not too much new about satirizing Hollywood’s perverse definition of a healthy weight, but the writing here gives a standard observation some extra zip. Garafalo’s list of diets reads like an improv game, and you can almost hear the writers room in hysterics as they kept coming up with increasingly ridiculous names.

The guest star parade rolls on with Mike Birbiglia as Schumer’s boyfriend (well, it’s only been three weeks), a PhD student in psychology who for some reason has a stack of drawings of Amy’s mother’s vagina. Of course, they’re just Rorshach inkblots that Schumer interprets as her mother’s vagina, leading to a somewhat predictable gag of one of the sheets being a literal drawing. It’s an odd sketch to describe, but something about it clicks, most likely the casting of Birbiglia, whose intellectual tone naturally complements Schumer’s misguided outrage. Despite the comically orchestrated set-up, their dialogue manages to feel organic, almost like this is a scene in a larger play about this couple. A play I would go see, by the way.

More straightforward is a sketch with Schumer playing a clerk at the “Serial Killer Glasses Store,” sort of a Lenscrafters for loners. Comics Artie Lange, Jon Glaser and Mike Lawrence all crank up the creep factor as customers seeking out those weird, thick, smudgy glasses seen in serial killer mugshots for decades. Glaser stands out as a David Koresh-style cult leader who tries to recruit-slash-hit on Schumer, only to find out she has a boyfriend—namely, Brendan Fraser—who probably has little to no knowledge of this imaginary relationship. Turns out Schumer doesn’t just work for the Serial Killer Glasses Store, she’s also a client.

At this point, “Slow Your Roll” is already a stand-out episode in my book, but then we hit the mother lode. LITERALLY. At the urging of her counselor (Kathy Najimy), Schumer dares to tackle Mom Computer Therapy, trying to help her mother with a simple email task without losing her temper. There’s plenty to mine in the “parents are bad with technology” vein, but Schumer takes it a level deeper by layering in the passive-aggressive subtext that often surfaces between mothers and daughters. It’s not just that Schumer’s mom doesn’t understand what to do, she seems completely unwilling to take any responsibility for learning. (And she still manages to find time to criticize Schumer’s boots.) This is the sketch every sibling will be sending to each other, with a knowing smiley-face emoticon that says yes, we’ve all been through this exact conversation.

Jim Norton is back for his second appearance in three weeks on “Amy Goes Deep,” which this time focuses solely on Norton’s perverted sexual preferences, specifically for golden showers. (Oh, and apparently he used to blow one of his friends in school?) As with Schumer’s other sex-focused interviews, Norton’s works because both participants are willing to be smart and genuine in the discussion, which tempers the shock value of talking about urination and transsexuals. Also: Which of Cheryl Oberwood’s diet plans is Norton on? Whether it’s the Colonic Blast-Off or the Chilean Miner, it’s working for him.

“Slow Your Roll” was just a solid episode through and through, and the cavalcade of guest stars shows Schumer can play on-par with anyone. With her viral speech last week about self-confidence, Schumer is quickly becoming the BFF every woman dreams of having: relatable, funny and confident enough to admit that she’s not always confident. And with her name in the ring to take over The Late, Late Show, her star is clearly on the rise. But you get the sense there’s no ego waiting to inflate. When it comes to taking all of this for granted, Schumer is definitely the least that she can be.