She won the gold last night.
In case you were oblivious to the hype, last night, in a counterprogramming move against the Olympics, Comedy Central premiered its roast of Roseanne. And Amy Schumer stole the show.
Who is Amy Schumer?
Damned if I know.
Well, I know a little. I heard her on Stern. She was kinda funny and kinda endearing. On late night TV, comedians just do their material, it’s an excerpt of their act, it’s a tease, to get you to partake, hell, everyone’s selling. But on Stern, it’s about the information, the backstory, how you got from there to here. And what I learned was that Amy was a nice Jewish girl…what I mean is she didn’t have one of those hellish backgrounds that cause people to flaunt their dirty laundry in public…who graduated from college, in Maryland, and was on the comedy road.
You remember that road, right? It used to end at the comedy clubs. But then everybody got a sitcom and that became the holy grail. Kinda like being a recording artist and begging to be a judge on “American Idol” or “The Voice” or “X Factor.” Oops, isn’t that what Alanis Morissette is doing right now?
You’re a singer, goddamnit.
And what we love most about our favorite comedians is the material. The jokes. The stand-up. When they’re out on the wire, risking it all in front of a live audience, instead of repeating canned lines written by soporific Harvard graduates slumming after working for the “Lampoon.”
And that was what was so great about last night’s roast. It was comedy, pure and simple. Walking up to the line and frequently crossing it. Because we don’t know exactly where it is unless we journey to the other side.
You’d never get me on one of these things. My skin is not thick enough. No one was left unscathed. But the dirtiest work was done by Amy Schumer.
In today’s media megalopolis, not only are we unexposed to so much, sometimes we haven’t even heard of you. That guy hosting the VMAs, Kevin Hart. I could be like you, and self-satisfiedly say I’ve been tracking his career for years, but the truth is I’m clueless. I might have heard his name, but I know none of his jokes, whether he’s on TV or just performing in clubs.
To reach critical mass, you’ve got to get in the game and stay there. Wait for your moment, and when it arrives, you must KILL!
Check Amy Schumer’s Wikipedia page:
Only in music and movies do people become famous overnight. Without chops. Sailing by on their punims. In comedy, you’ve got to earn your stripes. As you do in computer programming, law, medicine and the rest of the professions. If you see nitwits doing it, it’s probably not worth paying attention to. Because greatness takes time. And reveals itself slowly.
So you think you just want to be on the big show. And close it.
Here Amy just about opened. After her, everybody was an afterthought. Because she wasn’t worried about being liked by the panel. She didn’t play it safe, she immediately went for the jugular and SQUEEZED!
Everybody’s always playing nice, kissing ass. But what made Amy’s performance triumphant was she was doing the act without winking, she was up on the high wire, not looking down, but performing tricks, we could only sit at home and marvel.
So you’ve got to pay your dues.
And you’ve got to wait for your chance.
And when you get it, you can’t be good, you’ve got to be GREAT!
And I didn’t see Amy on the front page of today’s “New York Times.” She’s nowhere where you can quantify success. No Nielsen, no SoundScan. Because success is not something you count, but feel.
If you were watching last night, you witnessed a groundbreaking, historical appearance, Amy Schumer pulling herself up into the big leagues all by lonesome. And I don’t know if she wrote all the jokes, but she certainly delivered them. Because it’s one thing to write the songs, it’s another to perform them.
Just ask Prince. He slayed us at the Super Bowl and has been on a victory lap ever since.
Amy Schumer’s performance last night was thrilling. We live for these moments. When one of us, a human being, casts off the chains of society, digs down deep and WAILS!
Because of rights issues, you can’t see an authorized version of Amy’s performance online, for that you’ve got to tune in on TV. And that sucks, because you want your breakthrough moment available, forever. Still, you can see the entire performance here:
This video has been removed by the user.
And the sound is bad and you won’t get the jokes, so you can see authorized excerpts here:
TV is experienced alone, on the couch, on the bed. We’re waiting for someone to reach out and grab us, shake us both awake and alive. These moments are rare. Last night’s was one of them.
P.S. Normally show business is seen as one big club, a giant high school where everybody’s friends and not a bad word is said. Watch the reaction shots during Amy’s set. Jane Lynch is uncomfortably squirming, Ellen Barkin doesn’t know what hit her. And only Amy could nail Jeff Ross:
“You look like Krusty the Clown dressed as Joe Paterno!”