Amy Schumer’s early stand-up comedy always had her playing coy and self-deprecating -- with a smattering of smutty. Since then, she’s blossomed as a physical comedian, a feminist and a body-positive icon without losing that innocent charm. And with her new movie “I Feel Pretty” opening Friday, she’s still surprising us. Schumer is behind a lot of great sketches on her erstwhile show “Inside Amy Schumer,” from parodies of “12 Angry Men,” “Friday Night Lights” to a hilarious-but-fake talk show. Scroll through to review Schumer's best moments on film, TV and the comedy stage.
"Just for Laughs" (2011)
Just as she was starting to blow up, Schumer’s tightest five pushed boundaries and made her audiences feel uncomfortable, even as she maintained a pleasant demeanor. Her early material set the groundwork for her show, with comedy about race and hard truths about rape and inequality experience by women.
Schumer already appeared on “Last Comic Standing” and as a writer and actress with some visibility, but her ruthless insult comedy here was when she truly broke out, going on to earn a Comedy Central special and then her own show. She’s especially tough on Mike Tyson and the “slutty back tattoo” on his face.
Schumer’s typically at her best playing herself. But her catty and slutty Miranda Priestly (played by Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada") is a riot. The sex tips themselves are outrageous, but it’s Schumer delicately eating a strand of celery, getting spun around in her chair and calling her employee a sad emoticon that make this character genius.
“I really like that blonde one. So feisty.” That’s the capper to this wonderful cameo from Amy Schumer on Lena Dunham’s “Girls,” showing some real dramatic chops and gravitas as she confronts a shifty Adam, conjures up a phony story about a pregnancy and, in just a few moments, makes her scorned friend feel like a righteous warrior.
“Inside Amy Schumer” had a lot of pitch-perfect parodies, but Schumer stands out the most in this Aaron Sorkin parody of “The Newsroom.” She elevates the sketch beyond putting Sorkin’s walking and talking monologues in a fast food setting, making her screwball, romantic banter hilariously smutty as well.
Watching “Milk Milk Lemonade” should practically come with an NSFW warning for how much colorful, eye-popping gyrating it puts on screen. But “Milk Milk Lemonade” takes the overtly sexualized imagery so often seen in similar music videos and frames women’s bodies as something natural: “where my poop comes out.” Plus it’s actually a damn catchy song.
I hesitate to include this brilliant “Inside Amy Schumer” sketch because, by design, Schumer is the fourth funniest woman in it. But she has a way of bringing out the best in other funny ladies. It’s an inspired commentary about women of a certain age in Hollywood.
"The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" (2015)
Amy Schumer practically broke Questlove when she told this story to Jimmy Fallon. Schumer took Katie Couric’s phone at a gala dinner and texted her husband saying she wanted to… well just watch the clip. What makes it hilarious isn’t strictly what she said but that she did it as if it was involuntary.
Dance from "Trainwreck" (2015)
There are a lot of great moments from “Trainwreck,” a truly underrated recent comedy (I’m partial to this one). But even though it ends with a familiar, Hollywood ending dance scene, Schumer makes it her own. She’s not just hamming it up the way Will Ferrell or Melissa McCarthy might. She’s confident and comfortable in her own skin, even as she’s hilariously outmatched by the cheerleaders around her.
"Saturday Night Live" (2015)
Amy Schumer has a funny obsession with Bradley Cooper, and honestly, who would blame her? She has mentioned on numerous talk shows and in her stand-up how she’s pestered him at awards shows, shouted his name and declared herself in a relationship with him. “He’s the type of hot that when you see him, you immediately grab your ankles,” Schumer joked on “SNL.” But Schumer isn’t just gushing -- she’s creating a believable fantasy for women everywhere.
Back at the Golden Globes in 2016, one of the greatest celeb BFF pairings was born when Schumer took the stage with Jennifer Lawrence. If she’s J-Law, then Amy Schumer’s nickname is “A-Schu” (say it out loud). They look alike, sound alike, can make each other laugh, and Lawrence’s awkward, cool-girl persona is a stage presence Schumer has spent her whole career cultivating.
Gun control arguments have been made every which way, but Schumer’s brutally honest gun show sketch imagined the ease of purchasing a gun as though it were a chipper daytime QVC broadcast. The hollow, fake laughter and banter between the hosts make this scene feel scarily dystopian and real.