At the very last minute I bought tickets to the Amy Schumer show at the Cross Insurance Arena. I bought them for my wife and myself from a friend who realized at the last minute that he couldn’t make it. I didn’t buy them the first go-round because I had a hard time imagining how a show at the arena wouldn’t be a disaster, but when they became available I figured they’d at least get us out of Cornish and into Portland on a Saturday night. I have found a lot of stuff Schumer is in and responsible for to be funny and I appreciate a lot of what she has created so what the hell.
We went to the 7:30 show and, spoiler alert, we ended up walking out halfway through Schumer’s set. To be fair, this wasn’t entirely attributable to her performance (which did feel boring and tedious). The floor seating at the arena amounts to folding chairs set up in rows squished so closely together that, by comparison, it makes economy air travel feel like a luxury experience. As such no one can really pass each other, particularly those coming back to their seats with 3 – 4 beers in hand, and so the entire row has to get up or move in order to accommodate. This happened 3 times, the last of which had us out of our seats for 5 full minutes of Schumer’s set while ushers dealt with a dispute between late newcomers and the squatters who had commandeered their seats. So the conditions sort played against Schumer from the outset.
That said, the performance was unremarkable overall. The jokes were tired (Indian Casino = Tomahawks and bows and arrows! Then I realized the guy had a one deformed baby arm and it was so awkward! What’s there to do in this small town, am I right?) and Schumer lazily delivered them as though she was made aware that she had a show to perform only a few hours before. And while I appreciate so much of her commentary about body image and insane entertainment industry expectations, much of her material about this felt like a stream-of-conscious, rambling meditations made up on the spot. There were a bunch of self-referential nods to the effect of, “… but you know I’m a drunk mess, right?” and “I’m inappropriate! That’s my thing!” which required an appreciation of what you came in knowing about her but not what you gleaned from her delivery. “I drink wine on stage! I still black out!” It was really boring and so we left.
I had a friend who made a lot of money on some convoluted venture. When we’d known each other before he was edgy and interesting. I bumped into him after having not seen him in a while and he invited me over for dinner. By the time I got there he’d forgotten he’d invited me. It soon became apparent that he’d been sitting by himself all day drinking bottles of wine. I came in and sat politely and listened for three hours while he talked at me about the tedium that comes with having money. That’s what this show felt like.
To be clear, though, I’ll try to see her again (though never again at the price we paid for this show). I’m not writing Schumer off for life or anything like that. I’ve seen tons of comedy, and have seen people I didn’t know blow my mind and people I love do poorly. Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw. Last night, though? Bummer.
This remains gold:
But really, I have no complaints. It got us out of Cornish, and it also got us over to Bao Bao where we ate our weight in dumplings. I ordered so many dumplings, in fact, that I’m pretty sure I caught the faerie-like waif who checked in on our table laughing at the volume upon delivery. We ate every single one. That place is amazing and can heal all wounds. Silver linings abound.
Ps. The one VERY funny joke Schumer told was at the expense of the sign pictured above (credit rdankievitch via Instagram). This was the sign shown on screens throughout the arena before Schumer and Co. took the stage. She said it reminded her of the opening credits of a snuff film, and it reminded of Might + Main’s Sean Wilkinson’s ongoing criticism of how terrible local signage—particularly municipal signage—can be.