Comedian Amy Schumer is no stranger to envelope-pushing comedy. Her breakout Comedy Central sketch show “Inside Amy Schumer,” now in its third season, has been generating enormous buzz with a series of provocative and timely segments that aren’t shy about satirizing controversial subjects.
This season she took on campus rapes by student athletes in a brutal spoof of “Friday Night Lights;” lampooned Hollywood’s double standards for aging women in a scene featuring Patricia Arquette, Tina Fey and Julia Louis-Dreyfus; and brilliantly re-purposed the plot of “12 Angry Men” for a star-studded sketch in which unabashed misogynists must decide whether Schumer is “hot enough” to have her own TV show.
On a recent episode she waded into the ongoing Bill Cosby controversy. Although Cosby has never been charged with a crime, more than 30 women have alleged that he either drugged and/or raped them in encounters that span several decades. Cosby, who currently faces two defamation suits from accusers, has denied the claims in the past, and his attorneys have called the mounting allegations “unsubstantiated.” However, that hasn’t stopped the 77-year-old’s fellow comedians from taking shots at him. “Saturday Night Live” made headlines for lampooning the former sitcom star during its 40th anniversary special, and now Schumer’s take is sparking a dialogue.
In the scene, Schumer plays an attorney presenting her final arguments in an imagined trial against Cosby. She dances similarly to how Cosby did in the opening credits of his groundbreaking sitcom “The Cosby Show” and blatantly plays on the nostalgia the jury (all clad in stereotypical “Cosby sweaters’) feels for his former glory.
Her character mocks “all these women” with the “same story, the same facts” and plays audio of fake dialogue from a “Cosby Show” episode performed by a Cosby impersonator. After she and the jury erupt into raucous laughter she asks: “Did anyone feel raped by that? How about drugged? No? Me neither.”
“If convicted, the next time you put on a rerun of ‘The Cosby Show,’ you may wince a little, might feel a little pang,” she says. “We don’t deserve to feel that pang. We deserve to dance like no one’s watching, and watch like no one’s raping.”
At the end of the sketch Schumer is offered a drink, which is implied to be drugged, as a gift of gratitude from Cosby. Meanwhile, the jury celebrates with chocolate cake, in an homage to a classic stand-up bit from Cosby’s iconic ’80s “Himself” special.
According to The Huffington Post, Schumer anticipated a backlash to the sketch when she conceived it. During a panel discussion at the Tribeca Film Festival last month, she said, “I think we probably talked about this scene more than any other scene we’ve done.”