Inside Amy Schumer is best known for its hilarious sketches, but I would argue that this season the "Amy Goes Deep" segments have been the highlight of the show. In last week's episode, Amy spoke at length with Brina Milikowsky, Chief Strategy Officer at Everytown for Gun Safety in an effort to educate viewers about the importance of reasonable gun control laws. In the "Amy Goes Deep" portion of the May 5 episode, Amy Schumer interviews Sarah, a young woman with Down syndrome. First things first — Sarah is an activist for individuals with Down syndrome and she worked on the ABLE Act, a bill that was passed in 2014. She explains to Amy that the bill helps people with Down syndrome save money by creating tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.
Schumer's interview with Sarah struck the perfect balance between discussing life with Down syndrome and talking about totally unrelated topics because Sarah is certainly not defined by her condition. Plus, it turns out that she and Amy have a lot in common — they love Full House and agree that Ashley is their favorite Olsen twin and they think it's fun to make up fake names when they go bowling. They're both super close with their sisters, although Amy joked that some days are better than others. (That does not leave this room.)
When asked how she feels about seeing individuals with Down syndrome depicted on TV, Sarah explains that on shows like Glee and Life Goes On, the representation is a positive thing. But, the most impactful part of the interview is when Amy asks Sarah the most important thing about Down syndrome that people don't know. Her immediate response is, "don't label us. We are like you, so treat us like you." We all need to take this advice to heart when it comes to sort of disability, condition, or illness. We're all human beings and no one should ever be labeled or defined by a medical condition, whether it's Down syndrome, depression, cancer, or anything else.
Sarah has been discriminated against and she takes special time to address the use of the word "retarded." In third grade, a classmate used this word to describe her — but, "my friends took care of it for me," she explains. Not only did they make him apologize, but the next day he went out of his way to carry her lunch and books for her. And years later, he asked her to prom — but she was already going with someone else.
Both Sarah and Amy emphasize how wrong it is to use the word "retarded" and I really hope this message hits home. It's one of the most offensive adjectives in the English language and yet I constantly hear it used and it's infuriating — I even heard an executive at my former corporate job use it during a work meeting. It should go without saying that it's incredibly reprehensible and ignorant to throw around this word as an insult when countless individuals and their loved ones cope with disabilities. And, on that note, Amy orders two Malibu Bay Breezes for the pair.
Cheers to Sarah for her amazing work on the ABLE Act and cheers to Amy for spotlighting important issues this season in between sketches. I hope that people really get to learn from them.
Images: Comedy Central; Giphy