Stand Up, Sit Down, Listen Closely to These ‘Women Who Kill’

This little slice of stand up presents four young comediennes who work the boards with charm and smarts.

Amy Schumer, a rising comedy star, has become familiar to us through her Comedy Central show Inside Amy Schumer as well as her one-hour special Mostly Sex Stuff. Her greatest appeal as a performer is in her girl next door and occasionally slightly dim persona; she’s funnier than your co-worker but her jokes feel accessible, as though any one of us could get away with them. Describing a love interest she wants to break up with and who isn’t classically handsome, she suggests that his looks are good enough for him to be in the media spotlight: “He looks like one of those guys from The HillsHave Eyes. Her jokes, which run the gamut from sex and dating to aging and race, are mostly gentle and occasionally dark (there’s that bit about choking her grandmother) but her greatest strength is that she’s capable of being honest without being mean.

Schumer’s friend and cohort Rachel Feinstein brings a more aggressive edge with her and a sense of the absurd. (There’s a bit about a potential mate, who finds erections too aggressive, folding his penis in half that she acknowledges is weird. But it is of course still funny.) She jabs at street culture, particularly men who are inept in their understanding of women, a mother who desperately wants to be African American and, sure, masculinity in general. She’s also particularly great at lapsing into characters, whether a macho would-be pick up artist or a kid who’s just a little too eager for his mother’s love, in order to highlight the absurdity of situations and offers probably the hardest edge of the four women featured her.

Ohio native Nikki Glaser is arguably the most affable of the four women here, though her humor runs perhaps closest to Schumer’s. Like Schumer she plays the girl next door rather well and her jokes stay pretty close to home: dinner at Chili’s is an OK exchange for sex; despite a friend’s suggestion that not shaving her legs will keep her from having sex, she’s powerless to resist once she’s had a few too many drinks. But she also delves into the darker side of relationships via a bit about the difference between verbal and physical abuse that Schumer and Feinstein, for whatever reason, probably couldn’t pull off. (And, as a former English major, she manages some pretty good jokes about texting and punctuation. Grammar geeks rejoice!)

Marina Franklin offers the most physically based humor of this lot and sometimes is as funny for what she doesn’t say as for what she does. She has a gift for playing tough while not being so, and for creating characters that are real and, more importantly, funny. Latching on to the familiar topics of dating and sex she also finds time to touch on race and class with frequently hilarious results. One of her best riffs is about the changing face of Harlem in the new century.

This hour-long program doesn’t have much in the way of side-splitting humor. You won’t often find yourself gasping for air, for instance, but it holds up on repeated viewings and some of the fun of a third or fourth go at each woman’s set is discovering the nuances in their deliveries. It also never hurts to have a good laugh, and you certainly will find those here with four of your favorite new comics.

The DVD is rounded out by a couple of quick segments introducing us to the women off stage. Nice, but maybe not necessary.

RATING 6 / 10