Comedian Amy Schumer (“I Feel Pretty”) returns to stand-up with a run-of-the-mill performance in her latest Netflix comedy special “Growing,” shot in Chicago. Unlike the majority of other comedy specials, the camera never panned to the reactions of any audience members, instead holding the focus on Schumer for its entirety. Similar to comedian Ali Wong’s Netflix comedy specials, Schumer performs this special while heavily pregnant (about five months along), resulting in more trite jokes about pregnancy than a non-pregnant person can handle. She reveals that she has suffered from hyperemesis throughout her pregnancy, which for her, manifested itself in the form of constant vomiting and nausea.
These vivid jokes that she makes about her pregnancy and its symptoms are lackluster at best and end up sounding more like sporadic rants rather than segues into her other bits. Her typical off-color toilet humor takes no breaks throughout the special, especially prevalent when she talks about her struggles with pregnancy. To her credit, she keeps it candid about the physical hardships she’s endured with pregnancy, but this kind of content is only relatable for someone who’s experienced a difficult pregnancy as well.
Although Schumer’s style of humor has always been relatable for only a specific demographic, in “Growing,” her humor is even too fragmented to appeal to her base in full.
For the first half of the special, Schumer only made brief passes at her political stances, but her casual demeanor completely diminished as she talked about politics at full force toward the second half of the special. She begins by sarcastically referring to her future child: “I don’t know what I’m having. I hope it’s a girl. But really just because it’s such a scary time for men.” From there, the progression of her political commentary only increased. She mentions the time she got arrested in Washington, D.C. for a protest against Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, saying, “Men, you can clap too” when the audience burst out in applause.
For the first time, Schumer discloses information about her husband Chris Fischer and his diagnosis with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She introduces the topic with sincerity and genuine love for her husband and their relationship. Schumer’s open expression of appreciation for Fischer is evident in the tact and care clearly put into the jokes, which reflect on her personal experiences with her husband rather than offend those who live with the disorder. Her stories about her husband are refreshing and easily the most entertaining part of the comedy special. They display her transition from a comedian who only makes empty jokes about sex and food to a comedian who draws stories from a more mature place.
Schumer has always been very straightforward with her views, as many comedians are, which is why people find her off-putting. But if her comedy continues to expand from her constant quips about being a single woman to what she gave us a brief sample of in “Growing,” she might be able to find a more loyal and niche audience to support her.