Amy Schumer's Contentious Relationship with the Sports World: A Most Serious Examination

Amy Schumer's Contentious Relationship with the Sports World: A Most Serious Examination

Athletes and Celebrities

Amy Schumer's Contentious Relationship with the Sports World: A Most Serious Examination

Amy Schumer and the Sports World have a testy relationship. Schumer, a popular comedian from New York, has made sports and their fans the butt of many jokes over the years, and sports fans have made Schumer the object of many distasteful Twitter comments. It has been a quiet little feud, and one the NBA may have used to cleverly troll basketball fans on Sunday night.

The Sports World pounced upon this immediately. Sports Twitter superstar @DragonflyJonez jumped on it.

I posted about it here, and the cold beef that is Schumer vs. Sports had another tension-escalating incident. It is unclear at this point whether or not this has been beneficial or detrimental to Schumer’s career, but what is clear is that she has eagerly engaged with it, and her films are making money.

Take her 2015 movie, Trainwreck, for example. In this movie, Amy plays a sloppy magazine writer named Amy who gets assigned to do a profile on a famous sports doctor. That doctor’s most famous client is Lebron James, who plays himself in the movie. That is, he plays a version of himself. The “wide-eyed imbecile” version.

Eventually there is the the scene in which Amy has gotten a crush on the subject of her story (as one does), and is trying to pass herself off as a sports fan to impress him. She fails at this, but the audience knows she will because she already laid out her thoughts on the story idea: “I don’t know why we treat these athletes like heroes just because they can skate fast or kick a ball in a net. I just think it’s weird. No offense. I just think that sports are stupid, and anyone who likes them is just, like, a lesser person. And has a small intellect.”

Schumer also is outspokenly feminist, and has taken some anti-gun positions, and if there’s one thing the Sports World knows how to do, it’s tell somebody to, “stick to (insert profession).”

The jokes are just jokes, though (obviously). Any understanding of Schumer’s career has to begin with the understanding that she is a club comic, in the traditional mold. She developed an act, and a persona, that she could take on the road. It plays in New York, it plays in Miami, it plays in Des Moines. By 2011 it was playing in big theaters, by 2013 it was playing on Comedy Central, and now it’s playing on the big screen. What the act is, is it’s a sloppy, self-centered, shallow basic white girl, but delivered sharply from setup to punchline.

Her early work played pretty well with the bro crowd and, perhaps realizing they’d be doing it anyway, she’d often talk about her looks on stage.

“I’ll talk a lot on stage about, like, I kinda go back and forth between being like, ‘I know I’m pretty,’ and, ‘but I’m not that pretty,” she said on WTF with Marc Maron in 2011.

This whole package, plus her memorable performance at the Roast of Charlie Sheen, won her the audience you kinda have to start with if you’re going to make a career in comedy. By this I mean comedy dorks. It is, notably, a different sort of audience from the one that is buying into Schumer’s latest movie, Snatched, a studio action comedy co-starring Goldie Hawn.

Schumer, as has been noticed elsewhere, is trying to make the leap from club comic to movie star. Her latest hour, Netflix’s “The Leather Special,” was a self-aware nod to previous comedians in that same phase.

“I feel like every comedian needs a leather special,” she says at the outset. “Every comic has some special where they wear leather and they regret it later.”

She wore a skin-tight black leather outfit and launched into 57 minutes of unhinged aggression that was immediately pounded with one-star reviews. Schumer blamed this on Trump supporters who are out to get her because of her politics. Maybe that’s true, maybe it’s not. For whatever it’s worth, I’ve seen just about everything Schumer has done since 2010, and I’d put it right at the bottom. Joking about one’s own fame seems to be a tough trick to pull off. In any case, “The Leather Special” now has a three-star rating.

Schumer was at her best, I thought, on Inside Amy Schumer, a 30-minute sketch show that aired on Comedy Central from 2013-16. In season three, she used an entire episode on a remake of 12 Angry Men called, “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer,” in which the jury debated whether or not Schumer was hot enough to be on television. It was a brilliant idea and a biting sendup of both Hollywood and her Twitter trolls. Plus, it had an incredible cast.

Her show was in the mold of the kind of work Dave Chappelle had done early in the previous decade on Chappelle’s Show. To comedy fans of a certain age, Dave Chappelle will always be the GOAT. Same as, to many of those exact same individual people, Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player ever, he represents the very idea of greatness. Lebron is up against a concept.

Now, Amy Schumer is not the Lebron James of comedy. Which is why, if you wanted to get a rise out of a certain kind of person of a certain age, perhaps a person who is already all riled up about this most recent Jordan-Lebron debate, a person who was, perhaps, a teenager when Chappelle’s Show was on the air, which happened to be the same years Jordan was leaving the NBA and Lebron was entering it, you might be able to tweak that person – and if it’s not obvious yet, I’m talking about myself here — just a little by doing something like this:

It’s enough to make you wonder: Does Amy Schumer understand the Sports World better than she’s letting on?

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