“This is gonna be the best night of my life!” - Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer bestowed her no-holds-barred stand-up show upon a packed house at Santa Barbara Bowl on Saturday, September 17, 2016. The Emmy-winning actress, comedian, and writer held nothing back from the crowd as she covered everything—and I mean everything—from sex, drugs, and birth control to gun control laws, politics, and breaking down cultural stereotypes. This was just one stop on her 50+ city world #SchumerTour, but it was a memorable one for Schumer and her full house of fans who spent the night with her.
The evening kicked off with funky jazz trio Locksmith Isidore, with Jason Roebke on bass, Mike Pride on drums, and frontman Jason Stein on bass clarinet. Jason happens to be the brother of Miss Schumer; keeping family close while on the road is important to Schumer, and her sister Kim is a co-writer on many of her projects. They were followed by Mark Normand, a long-time friend of Schumer’s and repeat guest on her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer, who warmed up the stage with his well-received comedy routine.
Then Amy (we’re on a first-name basis after the things we heard that night) took her rightful place in the spotlight and wasted no time pumping up the crowd with tales of her short stint as a Santa Barbara Mesa resident and pedicab driver on State Street. She was met with more cheers when she name dropped some of her old local haunts, like Sharkeez and the Wildcat Lounge.
The laughter only intensified as Amy shared—in embarrassingly accurate detail—hilarious anecdotes about female anatomy, awkward sexual encounters, and her recent bout with food poisoning during a trip to Paris. What was labeled as a comedy show felt more like old friends telling stories over a couple of drinks (except in Amy’s case it was over an entire bottle of wine and she did all the talking); and her jokes hit close to home because her unapologetic, uncensored approach left no man or woman in attendance unscathed (even paddleboarders and yoga moms were not spared).
In the back half of her act, Amy made sure to weave in more serious commentary on issues close to her heart, including gun violence (she’s a major advocate for stricter gun control laws after two young women lost their lives in 2015 during a viewing of Trainwreck), politics, and the importance of having a positive body image, especially for women.
Amy’s raw style is an acquired taste not fit for every palate, but it’s helping solidify her as one of the top comedians in the game. A self-proclaimed girl’s girl (and the “third hottest bartender at Sharkeez”), Amy is on an upswing after a couple of amazing years, releasing a new book (The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo), writing and starring in a hit film (Trainwreck), and earning the title of the first female comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden. No big deal, right? In a recent article GQ called her the “gutsiest” comedian in America, but her bold personality paired with a natural presence have her poised to be one of the most authentic performers of all time and a force to be reckoned with.
After the audience said their goodbyes to Amy with a standing ovation, I half hoped/expected to see her later, barefoot, pedaling drunk Santa Barbarians down Anapamu Street. At one point in the show, Amy exclaimed to the crowd, “Maybe I should move back here?” It was pretty clear by the response—Amy, Ames, Schumtown, Schu Schu—that the crowd would be just fine with that. You are welcome back to our town anytime, because contrary to what you might think, you’re going to be famous for a very long time.
Rachel Jefferson is a writer for a Santa Barbara-based software company and an avid concertgoer.