Amy Schumer is on the cover of Vogue’s July issue, and the accompanying profile is, in typical Vogue cover story fashion, not great!
One would think it might be difficult to write effectively about a comedian from a lens of fawning, puzzled humorlessness, but Vogue contributor Jonathan Van Meter—fresh off a somewhat cringe-y interview with June cover star Margot Robbie in which he declared himself relieved that she did not share the “manipulative sex kitten” qualities of her characters—managed to do so. Vogue, as my colleague Julianne Escobedo Shepherd has pointed out, tends to repurpose about three male writers to profile their nearly always female cover stars, an odd perspective for a magazine that is generally by, for, and about women.
There are some high points—Schumer is a funny interviewee, especially when her sister Kim is around; she’s also happily dismissive of the Vogue universe (“‘I think that there’s a misconception in fashion that everybody wants in.’ She laughs. ‘I am very happy to remain out.’”)—but Van Meter appears to be rather devoid of insights into his subject, to the point where it almost seems as though he didn’t care to pay attention.
Schumer is referred to as “radically, shockingly modern,” which, although I like Amy Schumer, is pretty significantly not the case in a few rather important areas; she is also dubbed “whip smart” (a term that has likely never once in history been used to describe a man) and campus rape is referred to as a “hot-button social issue.”
Below, a selection of lines from this infestation of clichés:
[W]hile the subject of much of Schumer’s stand-up material is radically, shockingly modern, in some ways she has more in common with the comics of stand-up’s golden years than she does with those of her own generation.
I tell her about the time [Joan] Rivers was on an overnight flight, and as it was about to land, the flight attendant leaned down to offer her breakfast. “Chicken and eggs?” said Rivers. “On the same plate? What is that, the mother-daughter special?” Schumer lets out a big laugh, as it is classic Joan but it is also a joke that could easily have come from Schumer’s brain.
She is lightning fast and whip smart, a New York Jew with a copy of the Times tucked into her bag.
Her worldview is surprisingly broad for someone who has made a career out of playing “the drunk slut” for laughs and talks about her pussy so much that anyone is now free to say that word on her network.
[Side note: Could this be the first time the word “pussy” has appeared in Vogue?]
The sisters laugh at each other’s jokes, bust each other’s chops, and finish each other’s sentences.
Much like South Park, Schumer fearlessly tackles taboo subjects like incest and bodily excretions, except she’s a person, not a cartoon.
Amy Schumer is not the least bit concerned with being likable, which, oddly enough, has made millions love her
It makes perfect sense that she would be immune to the Prince mystique; he was an unironic master of artifice and obfuscation—her polar opposite. The car goes quiet for a moment.
Her TV show takes up hot-button social issues like campus rape with jaw-dropping sangfroid, which is why Inside Amy Schumer won a Peabody Award last year.
The hookup culture may have been in her rearview mirror by the time she hit her 20s, but as we know, objects in that mirror are closer than they appear.
Image via Vogue/Annie Leibowitz.