Comedian Amy Schumer became a superstar in 2015. She wrote Trainwreck, the Judd Apatow-directed rom-com that became a smash-hit, appeared on the raunchy, Star Wars-themed cover of GQ, released a comedy special on HBO of her performance at the Apollo, and closed out the third season of her successful Comedy Central sketch show Inside Amy Schumer. Her multimedia projects in 2015 turned her into a bona fide household name.
On the Season 4 premiere of Inside Amy Schumer, it’s clear that her new fame has expanded her rolodex, which manifested in a cameo by the only person who had a better 2015 than she did: Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda.
The highlight of this season’s premier is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s appearance, in which he plays himself in a sort of meta-sketch that emphasizes his humility and Schumer’s quasi-drunk persona. Miranda arrives thinking he’s got a role on her TV show; really, she’s asked him to workshop her hip-hop musical about Betsy Ross. Questlove makes a very unenthusiastic appearance too.
The rest of the episode focuses on vaginas, one of Schumer’s favorite topics. Her comedy taps into the egregious discrepancy between male and female representation in the media: a male comedian can talk about his penis all he wants, but Schumer joking about her period or birth control is still considered controversial. She has pushed to reverse that with self-deprecating and vulgar jokes about her “average” appearance, and in general, has lampooned the media’s depiction of women by forcing uncomfortable comedy down our throats. You can now say “pussy” on cable television, and for that, you can thank Amy Schumer.
The episode opens with a spoof on “The Most Interesting Man In The World” from the Dos Equis commercials, with Schumer as the character’s slovenly, eye-patch wearing, sunburned female counterpart. The suave narrator relays unsavory depictions of her, several of which reference, obviously, her vagina: “If Keith Richards had a vagina, which at this point he might, it would be her,” and “A bird in her hand is worth three in the bush, also she can fit three hands in her bush.” Then comes the kicker: this is an advertisement for Clementine Hospice Care—“for women who lived like men.” Right out of the gate, Schumer runs full speed ahead with her trademark self-effacing shtick.
Another highlight finds Amy at the gynecologist for her annual pap smear, with four 60-something congressmen taking the place of her doctor. Inquiring ignorantly about her sexual activity and repeatedly cringing at the details of her vaginal health, the Congressmen at her check-up make literal the conservative attempts to legislate women’s health. It’s frankly terrifying.
Next is an advertisement for Yo-puss, a yogurt that women can eat to make their vaginas taste like nothing. Spoofing brightly colored Yoplait commercials in which women joyously eat yogurt together, the new product deadens the cells which allegedly make a vagina into “a rancid playground of flavor-causing enzymes and white gravel.” Some of Schumer’s best comedy parodies the sexist misconception that vaginas are more unsanitary than penises, and in this Yo-puss she pokes fun in her most hilarious attempt yet.
Audiences may criticize Schumer’s unabating genitalia jokes, but she has every reason to shape her comedy around what made her a superstar in previous seasons. If you were concerned that her show would be different after her mainstream success in 2015, this season premiere — which is basically Amy taking a seat on our faces — should assuage those nerves.