By Ali Schultz
Amy Schumer- new-age feminist, a fearless comedic genius and a body image role model. But is she also a copycat?
In recent years, female comedian turned actress Amy Schumer’s career has skyrocketed. Schumer has gained a strong following thanks to her unapologetic attitude and raunchy charisma. Amy has been receiving endless amounts of praise for being a figurehead for new-age feminism. Schumer delivers comedy that is undeniably raunchy and relatable to many women who are too afraid to share the things Amy freely jokes about while leaving censorship in the rearview. Her movie “Trainwreck” was a box office hit, and overall Amy herself has been praised as quite the iconic hit.
Recently, however, Schumer has been receiving a lot less glory and praise and a lot more backlash and negative publicity via various social media outlets. The trend sparked when comedian Wendy Liebman tweeted, “Between Amy Schumer doing one of my best jokes on her HBO special & this meme of my joke I am done with social media.” Liebman attached a meme to her tweet that had one of her jokes on it with no attribution.
The attack on Schumer wasn’t nearly over. Fellow comedians Chuck Martin and Tammy Pescatelli tweeted insinuating that Schumer is not a first-time offender when it comes to stealing jokes from other comedians.
“What has been amazing to me is that she purports to be a feminist and yet only steals from female comedians. If we call her on it we are jealous and career shamed. BE successful. We want you to do well, just do it on your own material,” said Pescatelli via Twitter.
Pescatelli brings up a joke she made in 2006 in which she says, “Women dress for other women. That’s why, men, if we love you, we dress you for other women too. That’s why we dress you stupid. Because we want a woman to look at you and think, ‘He’s cute, but I can’t fix all of this.” Pescatelli compares her joke with a scene from “Trainwreck” in which Schumer talks to her sister about her husband and says “You dress him like that so no one else wants to have sex with him? That’s cool.”
That was only one of the many comparisons Pescatelli pointed out when accusing Schumer. After the tweets surfaced calling out Schumer for having “unoriginal jokes,” the hate tweets came in plentiful numbers backing Schumer into a corner.
Schumer responded by saying “On my life, I have never and would never steal a joke.”
There is no denying there are striking similarities when comparing the jokes. Admittedly the premise of the jokes are very similar, but I have to stand by my girl Amy.
Is there really even such a thing as pure originality at this point? Austin Kleon’s “Steal Like an Artist” serves as a sort of creed for creative enthusiasts. The basis of the book is to fuel artists’ creativity by encouraging the “stealing” of ideas and making them better. A passage in the book states, “Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.”
It can be argued that Schumer did just that. I have the utmost respect for comedians. At some point in my life I entertained the idea of one day becoming a comedian (then I came back to reality). Comedy is nothing short of an art form. It takes a certain type of delivery and demeanor to become a comedic icon. You have to cultivate a sort of remembrance factor with your audience, and Amy does just that.
Maybe Schumer sought out inspiration in other comedians and “stole like an artist.” It becomes apparent that Schumer’s delivery appeals more to the masses than that of those who accused her of stealing their jokes. Because frankly, I have never heard of Wendy Liebman.
I am not saying it is acceptable to just go around and steal others’ ideas. But I feel like this concept isn’t much different from a segment of Fashion Police’s “Bitch stole my look.” What is boils down to is we get it, Mariah Carey, you really worked that black Roberto Cavalli dress, we can’t take that away from you. However, Beyonce wore it better. She might have stole the look, but she did it better. Maybe Schumer found a source of inspiration in the jokes of her colleagues and ran with it.
I really hold it evident that it takes a very different type of person, especially female, to possess the confidence and ability to stand up and deliver the raw, raunchy jokes comedians such as Schumer rely on to brand themselves. Clearly, if women like Wendy Liebman, Tammy Pescatelli and Amy Schumer all have similar comedic deliveries they are women of the same molds. Fearless personalities who aren’t afraid to joke about what most of us are thinking. Great minds think alike right? It isn’t impossible for Schumer to have the same thoughts on men, sex, etc. that other comedians have.
In later news, most all of the comedians who called Schumer out as a joke stealer either retracted their statements or went on record apologizing for attacking their fellow comedian.
Whether or not Schumer stole jokes like an artist or had parallel thoughts resembling those of her comedic peers, her status as one of comedy’s finest should not be discredited.
Ali Schultz studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @AliSchultzzz.