Amy Schumer is back with a fifth season of her sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer” after a six-year hiatus.
The new episodes aren’t going to light the world on fire and the sketches are rarely hilarious, but they’re all amusing enough.
“Inside Amy Schumer” (streaming on Paramount+) originally aired on Comedy Central from 2013-2016. The new episodes are similar in format to the original series, with some minor changes. The previous incarnation featured short sketches covering a range of topics — often involving beauty standards and sexism, or dating and relationships: standouts included “12 Angry Men” (in which a panel of men debated whether or not Schumer was hot enough to be on TV) or the star-studded “Last F-ckable Day,” in which celeb guest stars Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Patricia Arquette celebrated the last day that society deemed them to be “f-ckable.”
In-between sketches, “Inside Amy Schumer” played clips from Schumer’s various standup routines, often featuring raunchy anecdotes.
The difference in Season 5 is the absence of those longer standup clips as a bridge between the various sketches.
Instead, there are clips of Schumer herself — or her writers and producers — talking directly to the camera and breaking down an element of the previous sketch for the viewer. This has varying degrees of success. Sometimes it feels oddly pedantic. For instance, there’s a sketch called “Fart Park” (guest-starring Jesse Williams) that’s exactly what it sounds like: a vignette about a city park where passerby are flatulent. It’s kindergarten-style humor, so there’s no need for Schumer to come onscreen and break down the sketch down. (There could be some inherent comedy in over-explaining such childish humor to the audience … but “Inside Amy Schumer” isn’t committed enough to that mindset.)
There is, however, a funny, off-the-wall sketch about a group of friends (with guest star Bridget Everett) mocking the type of woman who always speaks in terms of “gratitude,” and “being present,” where the friends’ conversation goes increasingly off the rails. The “talking head” followup on that sketch is much more effective, since it’s one of the show’s producers and performers Yamaneika Saunders, who is black, explaining to the camera that “Amy wanted me in that scene, but I told her a black woman isn’t that stupid.”
Quite a few sketches address the current political climate (such as the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade) while others are simply silly (includine one vignette that mocks reality TV dating shows).
“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” star Ellie Kemper appears in a sketch satirizing Hallmark Christmas movies, while comedian Michael Ian Black guest-stars in another bit where he plays a sleazy Spanx salesman. Both of those are low-hanging comedy fruit, and while the series doesn’t cover any new ground, the new material does, at times, provide some titter and gives the guest stars a chance to briefly shine.
This fifth season of “Inside Amy Schumer” doesn’t feel like essential viewing, but it does show that she’s still got some spark.
This story originally appeared on NY Post