Monday, August 3, 2015

Amy Schumer's Un-Funny Anti-Gun, War on Women, NARAL Commercial

Amy Schumer, a Comedy Central staple who competed in Last Comic Standing and Reality Bites Back, is taking her comic routine persona into political arenas. A recent top-billed actress in the conservative-themed “Trainwreck” (which conservatives gave rave reviews) and a “hot Hollywood” commodity according to some LA insiders, Schumer recently promised supporters that she would work to fight gun violence. After the Lafayette, LA shootings, Schumer assured her supports that she is “on it” in fighting for gun control.
Amy Schumer by Mario Santor.jpg
Amy Schumer (Mario Santor)

Now she’s bolstering pro-choice enthusiasts with an irreverent and inaccurate send-up of birth control and the Hobby Lobby decision last term which prevented corporations from providing contraception in violation of their religious beliefs.

In a commercial prepared by NARAL Pro-choice America, Schumer plays a busy career woman starting her day, with a litany of snide situations which follow, ending with a preposterous outcome which upends the humor as well as the message of the commercial.

The transcript reads:

You live a busy life. The last thing you want to have to worry about is your birth control pill.

Strangely enough, Schumer portrays a highly engaged professional. Who would assume she has the time for intimacy let alone raising a family?

That’s why we’re introducing OrthoEsterin, a new low-dose, daily birth control pill with little to no side effects.

The video spot opens up like many TV promotionals advertising diverse medical treatments, like Speariva.

Ask your doctor if birth control is right for you.

The commercial stops talking about the specific drug and veers into a general focus on birth control.

Then ask your boss if birth control is right for you.

This segue jabs at the Hobby Lobby decision directly.

Schumer proceeds to ask her boss’ priest, then to find unrelated individuals, like a boy scout (an institution which has featured prominently on issues relating to group leaders’ sexuality as well as histories of sexual abusive among certain leaders).

Tap a mailman on the shoulder. Tell him you didn’t mean to startle him, then ask him if birth control is right for you.

This transition into government employees makes no sense. The list of arbitrary individuals whom Schumer contacts for “permission” does not add anything noteworthy let alone funny to the message or agenda of this commercial.

Put it online, and see how many “Likes” it gets.

Why would anyone be asking anything so personal on Facebook in the first place? Some troll writes “ur fat!” What? Who cares?

Ask an old black man and an Asian boy playing chess in the park. Then ask them how they became, because there’s just got to be a story there.
Amy Schumer.jpg
Schumer in stand-up (Maryanne Ventrice)

How does she know that they are friends? Playing the race card is old and tired, and no one will find this amusing. Schumer has been criticized for her insensitive comments about race, although irreverent comics in general do best upending political correctness on this issue.

Ask someone who just got one of those cochlear implants, and is hearing for the very first time

If someone finally learned to hear, why would she be asking him anything? Is the joyous assent of a formerly deaf man who can finally hear the kind of answer she would want?

Ask Jeeves

Why not Google for answers while she’s at it?

Ask your Mom’s new boyfriend.

Then ask the Supreme Court.

A better question: why didn’t the woman ask her parents or her partner?

Finally, ask yourself why you insist on having sex for fun?

Another question: why did NARAL produce this flabby commercial? No one is having fun watching it.

Schumer then asks in a frustrated tone:

No refills? You mean I have to through all of this again next month?

The correct answer would be: no.

The pharmacist, to persist in this pathetic one-note joke states Yep.

The final scene is the most fatuous and outrageous. A little boy walks up to the same pharmacy counter and asks: “Can I have a gun?”  The pharmacist tosses him a pistol, stating “Remember, that’s your right.”

Uh, no it isn’t (not for a child, anyway.


The irreverent theme in this commercial, that women are facing greater hurdles to birth control, is irrelevant and false, and therefore the commercial is not funny.

Aggressive Birth control proponents, mostly Democratic operatives, have forgotten that from Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to US  Senate candidates (now Senators) Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Republicans have effectively seized the debate about birth control and favored over-the-counter contraception. The “War on Women” meme foisted on views in this commercial is out-dated and out of touch. Once again, nothing to laugh at.

The funnies aspect of Schumer’s pro-pill message from this pro-abortion group is how startlingly off-message and un-funny it is. The sheer extremism of the last scene, allowing a child to take a handgun – at a pharmacy – is another not-so-subtle jab which suggests that birth control is too hard to get. A kid cannot buy a gun, and adults must pass background checks and demonstrate that they pose no threats to possess a firearm. It is easier to get birth control than a gun in this country. Period.

Humor, in order to work, has to be based on true sentiments, even when expressing political sentiments, however much the audience may agree or disagree.

With more revelations of life within the womb and rising opinion opposing abortion, there is less which people find funny about abortion in general, an argument which has little connection with contraception of any kind, to begin with.

An overdone punch line which never hits its target, Schumer’s over-worked career woman shtick, who is trying to get “The Pill”, does down like a bitter pill, and really exposes the desperate lengths which pro-choice forces are going during a media cycle, from the horrific deaths of live-born babies in an Philadelphia Planned Parenthood to the disturbing video recordings of Planned Parenthood affiliates negotiating the sale of fetal parts.

In other words: Schumer’s commercial is a trainwreck.

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