Outside Amy Schumer

Monday, January 27, 2020

Nothing is more refreshing at a comedy show than a successful, productive, and hilarious punch-up. Outside Amy Schumer is boiling over with these every single show. I’ve been lucky enough to work most of these performances and at every one I see comics I don’t know who have clever and original takes on the world. Not only do I leave sore from laughter, but usually with some new, important insight that I might not have gained otherwise. KJ Whitehead, the show’s producer and host, gave me some information on the show’s beginnings and growth.

Q: How did you come up with the concept for the show?

A: I wanted something absurd and upsetting. When I learned that I’m both of those things just by existing, I looked into feminist comedy for my people like me and different. They were there. They just weren’t celebrated and given the three platform that white liberals want to preach we should have. At the top of all this was Amy Schumer, who paved the way for feminist comedians but let the door close behind her for any feminist comedian who isn’t a cis white woman. This is a problem that has existed in feminism even before her time. But she hasn’t made the situation any better. So, I decided to try my hand at what Schumer doesn’t seem to have the time to do.

Q: What were your goals when you started?

A: As I said, I wanted something absurd and upsetting. The first show was December 20th, 2018, one of the two nights Schumer was filming her “Growing” special at The Chicago Theater. It was a laughable protest. Chaos with a Cause. That was my only goal when the show started. It was only meant to be a onetime thing.  But the response I got was way more than I anticipated. Then I realized that this could be something more. This could be a movement.

Q: What is your favorite memory of this show?

A: Outside Amy Schumer IV on April 30th, 2019: The biggest turnout we ever got for the show. 40+. I couldn’t believe that something I created could get people to come out like that.

At every show, KJ fosters a welcoming and inspiring space for comedians to make awesome jokes, support each other, and offer new or challenging perspectives that might not have other spaces to be presented, even if we can’t get the projector to work. You can catch Outside Amy Schumer the last Tuesday of every month at 10pm at the Playground!

–Lizzie Kaniecki, The Playground Theater’s performance and special events blogger