Amy Schumer opens her latest stand-up special, "Mostly Sex Stuff," with a sweet enough lead-in. "I finally just slept with my high school crush," the comedian says, walking the stage of San Francisco's Historic Fillmore Theater. Then the twist, like a knife: "Now he, like, expects me to go to his graduation."
Laughter and grimaces. This is the gift of Schumer, a Comedy Central breakthrough whose jokes are a minefield of surprises and frank, uproarious bad taste. No wonder Judd Apatow wants to work with her.
The comedy kingmaker has signed on to produce Schumer's film debut, a movie she will script and star in – the kind of vehicle he's steered for stars like Will Ferrell, Jason Segel and Kristen Wiig, who took gross-out humor to new heights in Bridesmaids, a film that cleared nearly $300 million worldwide and lit up a long-overdue spotlight on women in comedy. Schumer already has a touch of Apatow-world cred: she plays a boozy best friend to Natalia (Shiri Appleby) in Girls' dark, penultimate season two episode, "On All Fours."
There are few comedy outlets where Schumer hasn't been seen recent years: a finalist on the fifth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, she's shown up on 30 Rock and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was a show-stealer at Comedy Central's Roast of Charlie Sheen, where she took on the champ himself. "You have a slutty lower back tattoo on your face!" she told Mike Tyson (he loved it).
So far, details on her film are scarce – Deadline.com reports only that Apatow is helping to "develop the story and shape the script" for eventual Universal Pictures production. But Schumer's other projects make the direction clear. "Mostly Sex Stuff" lives up to its billing, offering ribald, fearless comedy on subjects from genital maintenance to Plan B – which she riffs on taking before going to yoga, "mid-aborsh." In the sequence that closes the show, she eviscerates a friend's transformation from a party girl to a Connecticut housewife with a story that concludes with a feat right out of Taxicab Confessions.
Her stand-up is sex-positive, pro-alcohol and generally consequence-free, but on Inside Amy Schumer, her Comedy Central freshman sketch show, she's often the butt of the joke, sending unrequited sexts or in-bed disappointed after a threesome gone wrong. It finds her poking fun at gender roles and even reversing them, as in a crass, clever sketch set at the fictional O'nutters, a male answer to Hooters. And she's taken the chance to stretch her satire beyond the personal, playing characters from a bossy magazine editor to a slobby, incoherent reality show contestant. The high-rated show's already been picked up for a second season, giving Schumer another year to gather fans and gear up for a leap to film, but with her potent grasp of the Apatow wheelhouse – sex, awkwardness and the bathroom humor of plumbers' nightmares – the sooner, the better.