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Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo
For those still mourning the loss of "Chappelle's Show" on Comedy Central, I really hope you've seen the bright light of witty comedy Amy Schumer is offering on "Inside Amy Schumer". While I don't proclaim to be any sort of expert on Schumer's career, I won't hesitate to call her a very talented writer and performer. With her recent big screen success as writer/star of the Judd Apatow directed "Trainwreck", Schumer has established herself as gifted comedian who is willing to exploit her own foibles and lampoon herself in seeing a wider swath of society gets its just deserts as a focal point of comedic analysis. Being a stand-up comedian first and foremost though, it's logical a network like HBO would want to offer her a feature filmed performance and thus we get "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo".
Not one to shy away from cultural taboos, Schumer opens with the obvious joke, pointing out her crowd doesn't fit the venue's historically African American audience. From there, Schumer unloads her strongest material and not surprisingly, it's one-part comedy, one-part true story, and one-part social commentary. When Schumer is lampooning or pointing out Hollywood hypocrisy such as the absurd notion of Rosario Dawson having to chase after Kevin James as a love interest in a movie, to her own first-hand account of being a leading lady in "Trainwreck'", Schumer is on fire making us laugh and making us feel at least a little bad for a system that has some very backwards, very unhealthy ideals.
Over the course of an hour, Schumer begins to falter, relying on shock humor that wears out its welcome rather quickly and results in a disappointing comedy package. While foul language and no-punches-pulled scenarios have offered Schumer some great material in feature film and on TV, there's something lost without the subtlety of a filmed sketch or deadpan delivery, leaving Schumer to carry the weight of her comedy, as she should, but do so in a manner that would give a newcomer no indication of how incredibly witty and funny a writer she actually is. Ultimately, "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo" is a moderately funny complete package, proving again not every stand-up makes it off the stage and sometimes a stand-up shouldn't return; when comparing to her off stage work to this newest offering, I'm inclined to feel Schumer should stick to TV and movies.
The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is a solid offering; the art direction of stage is pretty straightforward, so colors look natural throughout and detail is firmly above average. There are little to no compression artifacts nor any glaring noise issues. Ultimately, this is a filmed stand-up special for HBO and it looks like one would expect from a comedian of Schumer's caliber.
The English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track is solid throughout, although a more modern surround track would have been appreciated to capture the atmosphere of the room. Schumer's voice comes through at a consistent level and sounds lifelike and warm. Crowd reactions are well-mixed and never overpowering, supplementing Schumer's work rather than detracting from it.
With a pleasent, A/V presentation, "Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo" makes for a passable hour of entertainment. Despite starting on fire, Schumer just can't maintain an hour-long special without coming off as overly cringeworthy. This special is an incredibly poor representation of a very funny, gifted comedian, who is killing it on "Inside Amy Schumer" and on the big screen. Rent It.