Amy Schumer’s new standup #Comedy special “The Leather Special” was released on Netflix this weekend and, as is to be expected from the Peabody Award-winning comedienne who’s spent her career breaking ground for female comics, it’s great. Any performer who can talk about where a man should ejaculate and the harsh realities of gun legislation in the same special and not have it be jarring has to be brilliant.
However, one joke falls a little uneasily, and it comes very early on in the set. It’s a joke that comes while Schumer is discussing the pitfalls of getting blackout drunk, which she proudly gloats about doing regularly. She was even drinking from a bottle of wine onstage. And there’s nothing wrong with that, until she described in an anecdotal fashion that she once “came out” of a blackout to find a man she didn’t recognise or give consent to performing oral sex on her.
‘I’m like, What do I know about this guy?’
Schumer asked the audience at Denver’s Bellco Theater, “Has anyone ever blacked out and been awake when they’ve come out of it?” She says that this experience is “kind of cool,” and told the story of a time in her college days when she “came out of a blackout and there was a stranger going down on (her).”
Schumer said that her course of action when she realised a man had begun sexually assaulting her while she was incapacitated from alcohol was to “tap him gently, so as not to startle him,” and say, “Sir.” She jokes that she asked herself, “What do I know about this guy?” She called him “a hero” for performing the act before describing the conditions of her vagina, which led to some funny material about her genitals, but she never addressed the fact that by definition, she was sexually assaulted while she was unconscious. She doesn’t mean to condone or dismiss or diminish #Rape, but the joke comes off that way.
In terms of her history with the subject of rape, Schumer is very outspoken against the culture of victim-blaming, saying that “it’s not just shaming, it’s fury.” She made an effecting and poetic statement in: “It makes people so mad if you’re not a perfect victim.” But that’s why this joke is so baffling. She is the highest-paid and arguably most famous female comic in the world, and her voice and opinion is very prominent and influential, which is why jokes like these, normalising sexual assault, can be very dangerous. #Celebrities