Amy Schumer is getting attention, and she is using that attention to speak out about some things that she seems to think we all should pay attention to. Sure, lots of people get 15 minutes of fame and have the presence of mind to say something that they hope sticks with us after they've faded back into obscurity.
The difference with Amy Schumer seems to be that she is getting the attention precisely because of what she is saying, but also how she says it.
While satire and parody have been tools of argument and political expression for centuries, entire political careers are now being arguably altered thanks to the spotlight that a well-timed joke puts on an otherwise uncomfortable topic. Saturday Night Live is seen by many as bringing about the demise of Sarah Palin's brief political aspirations.
Amy Schumer isn't so much taking aim at a particular person or persons as at conventions that have either gone unchallenged or unsuccessfully challenged. This week on her program Inside Amy Schumer, she went face-first into the topic of good looks being used as a determination of a woman's worth. This is not the first time Amy Schumer has gone there. In fact, she seems to be owning this topic.
This week she gathered a Who's Who of Hollywood men in a parody of Sidney Lumet's classic 12 Angry Men. The "trial" in this case was not about murder, but about whether or not Amy Schumer herself was hot enough to be on television.
Notables such as Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giamatti, Kumail Nanjiani, Nick Dipaolo, John Hawkes, and Vincent Kartheiser tossed out lines like:
“It’s an undisputed fact that a woman’s value is mostly determined by her looks."
"As it should be!”
“It’s true. Look at Susan Boyle right? Voice of an angel, but because she looks like an 18th century paper boy, we treat her like toilet shoes.”
"This isn't complicated. Just another example of an average-lookin' chick who watched too much Top Model. Now she thinks she belongs on the cover of Fuckable Magazine."
"No women are funny. But if you have to hear them blab, they at least better be hot."
Amy Schumer took on a similar topic recently with a skit that observed Tina Fey and Patricia Arquette toasting Julia Louis-Dreyfus having officially aged to the point of no longer being considered sexy.