'Inside Amy Schumer' Season 2 Is So Good, It Actually Kind of Hurts

When Comedy Central first debuted Amy Schumer's sketch series, it came as a bit of a shock. This bro-tastic network — one that usually only takes a break from its usual dude humor fare for The Daily Show and The Colbert Report — actually greenlit and delivered an entire season of a series that included jokes about women's sex lives, gender disparity, and, once, even makeovers. Now, Inside Amy Schumer is debuting its second season, and the confidence of being one of Comedy Central's highest rated new comedies has clearly done a number on Schumer and her writers: Season 2 is fearless, wildly raunchy, and so good it's actually painful.

The season opens with a sketch that basically explains the shock of finding Schumer on a cable channel like Comedy Central — a realm where the male 18-34 demographic is everything. A sketch called "Would You Bang Her?" simply places a group of focus group men in a room with a proctor who asks them variations on the question "Do you find Amy Schumer funny?" Naturally, they're less interested in that question and answer instead with quips about her desirability. Sure, the sketch is funny because Schumer and her team are top-notch comedy writers, but it's this painfully accurate sketch that sets the tone for the rest of the season while highlighting the very real issues that continue to despicably plague women in comedy.

And while "highlighting real issues" doesn't exactly sound like a tasty comedic snack, Inside Amy's second season certainly is, even though it's a season that includes sketches about sexual assault in the military, teens experimenting with sex, and the ability for the Time Warner automated system to make one potentially suicidal. It's dark, it's brazen, and it has little regard for delicate sensibilities. The result is a sketch show that isn't so much laugh-out-loud as it is laugh-to-keep-from-crying — in a good way.

At one point, Schumer's character plays a Call of Duty-esque video game with her boyfriend and chooses the female avatar, only to have the avatar assaulted before she can even get into battle. It's a dark, dark joke that quickly turns from "girlfriend and boyfriend playing video games together" to a blunt and bold takedown of the military systems in place that allow sexual assaults to continue and practices that also encourage victim shaming. Schumer strikes the balance between saying something actually meaningful and saying something funny and while the result isn't exactly the sort of sketch that might leave you with a quotable bit or catchphrase — think fellow Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele's "LIAM NEESONS IS MY SHIIIIT!" — it's certainly a memorable one and one that makes a rather irrefutable argument for military reform. And yes, it's still funny.

But from deeply meaningful subjects to the deeply uncomfortable — like a teen-skewing ad for "Finger Blasters" that hocks finger-shaped chicken fingers with honey mustard dispensers that would make Georgia O'Keeffe blush — Schumer runs the gamut and never shies away from the notion that, in the comedy world, the simple act of having vagina makes a comic an instant minority. Like her bold first season, Schumer's series once again confronts that unfortunate fact head on. Inside Amy uses the gender disparity in the comedy genre as fuel for its voracious fire, practically breaking down sexism's door with hatchet. It's comedy with a message and it's fearless about declaring that fact.

Of course, all this is not to suggest that Inside Amy Schumer is by any means of the dreaded (and largely illogical) "comedy for women" faux-genre. Yes, her comedy touches on the horror — and total normalcy — of fearing the STD fairy as a sexually active, single woman. Sure, she gives us a hilarious and painful take on gender disparity — and the sexist source of said disparity — in comedy. And yeah, her jokes about giving your boyfriend a surprise fisting in bed because Cosmo says its oh, so hot probably garner greater laughs from women who've actually read that inane advice. But that doesn't make it "women's comedy" and that doesn't stop Schumer and Co. from sprinkling in sketches that could technically be described as "from the male perspective" as well as a few that could never be accused of being gendered: like one that starts Josh Charles and takes a swipe at Aaron Sorkin-speak.

But agendas and gender politics aside, Inside Amy Schumer is simply a really well written, biting, hilariously painful sketch show on a comedy network doing exactly what a bold, hilarious sketch show on a comedy network should do. And for that, it deserves our complete and undivided attention.

Inside Amy Schumer returns April 1 on Comedy Central.

Images: Comedy Central (2)