Created and directed by: Amy Schumer
Stars: Two and half
It’s not for the faint-hearted, or the male-hearted. Amy Schumer is back and so is her distinct brand of physical comedy. In Growing, her latest hour-long stand-up special on Netflix, Schumer is heavily pregnant, but her irreverence is as sharp and right on cue as her Hyperemesis – extreme nausea and vomiting that she has been suffering in the course of her pregnancy. “No and people are like you are so strong. Look at you out there, so brave. I am contractually obligated to be out here guys. I’m not like ‘I don’t care. The show must go on. I’m like I will be sued by live nation. That’s why I am here,” says Schumer to a packed hall in Chicago.
Wearing a flowy, short grey dress, Schumer is a different tone and texture from her earlier stand-up The Leather Special. For starters, Chris, her then-boyfriend, is now her husband and baby daddy.
“Me marrying a chef, it’s like little on the nose for me. It’s kind of like Snoop marrying weed,” she quips. And while The Leather Special focused on the trials and tribulations of her dating life, and detailed descriptions of her sex life, Growing starts from her pregnancy and how it’s all downhill from there. None of her body parts are spared, and well neither is her husband, who, she reveals is on the Autism Spectrum. “I throw an Exorcist amount everyday,” she claims, adding, “I didn’t know that being pregnant could be really hard. I didn’t know that because you bitches all lie about it….I should have Googled being pregnant.” We get an intimate portrait of the changes that Schumer’s body is going through, and how she wishes she could drink while being pregnant. The best part about it (being pregnant) is not getting your period. That’s the silver uterine lining, if you want to look for one. She also takes digs at women who are pretty and dolled up while being pregnant, and hold their belly in that protective pose.
Bodily functions, bodily fluids and the awkwardness attached to them are at the core of her act.
There is a whole set on periods, and how women are trained to feel ashamed about them. “Like the second you get it, your mom goes, ‘You are a woman now. And that’s disgusting. Never let anyone know your filthy secret,’” she adds.
Over sharing, and discussing the very minutiae of her life, in that self deprecatory tone, is Schumer’s calling card. Sexual is the overarching tone of her narrative and yes she might make the men uncomfortable with her vivid descriptions. Maybe some women as well. Tampons, menstrual cups, bleeding underwear and pubic hair – they all get their five minutes of fame. But there are times when it feels that she is just scratching the surface.
In today’s times of political awareness and a post #metoo world, she brushes on the themes of consent, patriarchy, and male entitlement, but with her bravado, it all seems a bit token-ist. Making people squirm, and feel awkward by her in-your-face comments, most of which are too sexual to be referred here, is trademark Schumer, but what after she has made them squirm in their seats?
We expect more from Schumer, who unabashedly pulls up the hem of her dress to show off her taped off navel, bang in the centre of her baby bump. She talks about getting arrested at the protest against the confirmation of Bret Kavanaugh in November. “Some people criticised me. ‘You are pregnant’…And I was like that’s why I went down there. I want to be able to tell this kid I did everything I could. And DC I heard has the best cocaine,” smirked Schumer. The jokes are out there, and so is she. But where is she headed?