It’s safe to say Amy Schumer had a pretty big 2015. In a year that found the comedian starring in a well-received major motion picture, taking home an Emmy for her Comedy Central series, hosting SNL, putting out an HBO special, and becoming something of a cultural icon, Schumer has simply never been more famous than she is now. Perhaps that increased popularity prompted the comic’s abbreviated year-end arena tour—a seven-city run that started at Milwaukee’s BMO Harris Bradley Center on Friday night—with the loose theme of why her fame won’t last long. While Schumer’s whirlwind year more-than justified the arena being overstuffed with roaring fans, her somewhat disjointed 70-minute set full of local references, winding stories from her newfound fame, and even burps that incited applause didn’t exactly work against her oft-referenced impending arrival of fame’s fifteenth minute.
Following a jazz band that featured Schumer’s brother and the return of frequent Amy-opener Mark Normand, the guest of honor came out toting a partially-consumed bottle of white wine. After some dancing and doling out thanks to the packed and enthused arena, she made quick acknowledgment of the latest happening in her press-filled year: a nude photo of her leaking. “Here’s a word you don’t want people to use when a naked picture of you goes viral. Brave!” she started. “The guys who fuck me are brave.” That led into her repeatedly-stressed realization that she’s “newly famous and it’s almost over,” complete with explanations. She clarified a Kardashian joke she made on SNL that got her into hot water, relived bad interactions with the press, and addressed the countless times someone publicly wrote or said something dumb and unflattering about her body. At times, it was less of a stand-up show than it was your funny and occasionally outspoken friend retelling a series of crazy stories between pulls from a comically-large bottle of pinot grigio.
Between hit and miss, partially-formed tales of her talking to Bradley Cooper, sending a lewd text on Katie Couric’s phone, and being unaccustomed to handling paparazzi, Schumer managed to sprinkle in some more traditional bits of comical crudeness into her set, such as how man’s “driving force in life is to put their penis in [a woman’s] butthole,” once coming out of a blackout while a stranger was going down on her, and the awkwardness of hooking up with a longtime friend. Rare as those moments were, it was patented Schumer and an apt reminder of the material that helped make her “newly famous.” Most of the arena seemed thrilled with each twist and turn of her set, even cheering for a pair of belches and a few post-tangeant “What was I saying?”s. Schumer gave the love right back with staggering admissions of her love for Pabst, her appreciation for cheese curds, reminiscing about spending her 30th birthday at House On The Rock, and pledging that “Aaron Rodgers could pick any hole.”
In all, Schumer’s performance was just as hastily-prepared as one would imagine an hour set mere months after retiring her last hour of material would be. It was half-baked and surely better destined for a surprise Comedy Cellar drop-in than a 12,000-seat arena. Yet on the whole, it managed to remain humorous (despite bordering on pandering to locals too often). When viewed as a victory lap at the end of her career’s most fruitful year, Friday’s arena outing was just fine. Yet with a keen awareness of fame’s impermanence, Schumer should make sure to return with fully-formed material next time around to make sure her prediction of losing her notoriety doesn’t come true.