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Amy Schumer has basically taken over the world in the last year or so. She received 2 Golden Globe nominations; 2 Critics’ Choice nominations and won Best Actress in a Comedy, as well as the MVP Award. This bad-ass stars in her own show on Comedy Central, does standup specials, and wrote (not to mention starred in) her own 100 million dollar-grossing, Trainwreck. I don’t know where she was hanging out before 2014, but that’s when blasted into the stratosphere like a blonde rocket ship and I get the feeling she won’t be settling back on earth for a very, very long time.
There have been funny ladies before–many in fact, in recent years, but Amy Schumer is different. Obviously, comediennes are funny—that’s their thing. And to be funny, truly funny, you must be smart, so brains have always been part of the mix. Recently, many female standups have also been beautiful. We are even letting female standups be sexy, which is relatively new (thanks, Sarah Silverman!). Gone are the days when every female comic was a butch woman competing against all the guys at the dark and smoky bar.
But Amy has one more thing: she’s honest. Deeply, disturbingly honest. She tells the truth about what it’s like to be a smart, funny, never-gonna-be-a-supermodel woman in 2016. Like the rest of us. It’s as if Amy Schumer has taken a brain scan of the modern woman and projected it for all to see: How do we feel about our imperfect bodies? About getting old? About oral sex? She’s raw, and direct, and utterly relatable. Even lovable. Amy Schumer exposes a deep vein of culturally-embedded anxiety that every straight modern woman tries to suppress…and then she mines it for laughs. That’s her power.
By exposing this unconscious stuff, Amy is liberating us. She shows us that we are not alone in our weird worries and opinions of ourselves. Her comedy reminds us that our culture is actually pretty crazy and that we can start laughing at it, instead of ourselves. She even gives us permission to laugh—hard–at men and how they behave toward us. We stop taking all these hidden, female insecurities so damned seriously. Finally.
And as if we need more reasons to love this girly-girl, Amy consistently expresses appreciation about how her glam squad makes her feel more confident and attractive. A generous soul, she gives regular shoutouts to her go-to makeup artist, Andrea Tiller.
I’d end with in a wacky election year, “Amy Schumer for President” but I actually think she’d suck at the job.
Jessica Porter is the author of The Hip Chick’s Guide to Macrobiotics and The MILF Diet.