Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 6, 2015)
Why does it feel like I see a new Amy Schumer project every couple of weeks? Probably because I do view fresh Schumer comedy pretty often. I watched her hit movie Trainwreck in early November and took in Season Three of her series Inside Amy Schumer in the middle of the month.
Here comes early December, so it must be time for more Schumer! Fresh material arrives via Live at the Apollo, a Schumer stand-up performance that first ran on HBO in October 2015. Directed by Chris Rock, Apollo gives us a May 2015 show recorded at the legendary Harlem theater.
In Apollo, Schumer touches on topics typical of her comedy. She discusses her own sexuality and physical insecurities as well as Hollywood double standards, making Trainwreck, her family, and a few other topics.
As I mentioned when I reviewed her TV series, I always find a bit of a disconnect with Schumer’s comedy because she denigrates her appearance so much. No one will confuse Schumer for a bikini model, but I think she’s pretty attractive. Her schtick doesn’t make a ton of sense for someone who looks as good as she does.
That said, Schumer can be awfully funny. Perhaps her persistent focus on weight, appearance, sex and drinking will eventually become tiresome, but her jokes work now, and I suspect she’ll adapt well. Schumer shows too much intelligence to just regurgitate the same gags over and over.
She certainly knows how to tell jokes and give her show a good flow. Even when Schumer flits from one topic to another, the performance moves well and comes with no lulls.
That’s a pretty good accomplishment. It seems like most stand-ups hit a snarl at some point during their shows, but Schumer avoids that. Of course, some bits score better than others, but we never find ourselves mired in a theme that we want to see end.
Rock’s direction reinvents no wheels, and that’s fine with me. Editing may be a little more “cutty” than I’d like, but this doesn’t become a distraction, and Rock focuses on stage the vast majority of the time. We get the occasional crowd image, but not many, and that’s a good thing. We want to see Schumer deliver the jokes and the program concentrates there like it should.
Apollo offers a solid comedic performance. With a nice array of jokes and strong timing, Amy Schumer makes this a winning concert.