In Expecting Amy, her new three-part docuseries on HBO, comedian Amy Schumer targets an extremely niche audience. You’ll want to watch if you can check at least one of the following boxes: You’re a devoted Amy Schumer fan, you’re pregnant, you’re currently puking. Viewers follow a year of Amy’s life as she deals with a high-risk pregnancy, new marriage, and a comedy tour. No pressure or anything. Pieced together with personal iPhone footage, the doc is directed with the expert touch of the same dude who helmed Beyoncé’s “Homecoming.” And the right audience will eat this series up with a spoon. Then throw it back up if they’re pregnant.
One thing Amy discovers early on, which will come as a shock to absolutely no mom, is that growing a baby can be hard work. As Amy says in the first episode shortly after her hyperemesis gravidarum diagnosis, “I resent everyone who hasn’t been honest. I resent the culture at how much women have to suck it the f*ck up and act like everything’s fine. I really resent that.” And, well, she’s right. Even the most blessedly uneventful pregnancies are tough, but for the women who endure hyperemesis gravidarum or other high-risk conditions, it’s profoundly challenging.
Amy is no stranger to dishing up comedy that blends bodily humor with commentary on the double standards of women’s beauty. Naturally, she uses this series as a means of solidarity for women who aspire to be mothers or are currently enduring difficult pregnancies. Many women will relate to her raw vulnerability and utter discomfort. She brings zero pretense to the game and has a punk rock approach to pregnancy that we could all aspire to. Eating a bagel while getting a massage? Heck yes. And, as always, she has no problem being seen as a hot mess. In contrast, you’ll feel like you’re doing a-ok.
Shout-out to Amy’s husband, chef Chris Fischer, who’s a significant presence in the series and sets a new standard for the title of Instagram Husband. He is on it. Every time she pukes, he’s right there, documenting from every angle. The second episode deals with Fischer’s diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, and things get heated when Schumer talks about Chris’ condition in her act — including some embarrassing details about their relationship. I actually found these parts to be the most interesting. The couple’s conflict feels very real, providing for excellent drama. And their commitment to each other appears equally as strong.
And, of course, Amy’s comedy is entertaining, whether it’s her onstage routine or an offhand comment at 3am like, “My face looks thin for me.” It’s fascinating to watch her hone her jokes after each set. (Side note: more comedy worth watching this summer is the standup set and behind-the-scenes special from Yvonne Orji’s “Momma, I Made It!” on HBO.)
But just make sure you’re in the right headspace (and bodyspace) for this series because otherwise you could be totally grossed out by the up-close-and-personal, unadulterated vomiting. As one very pregnant friend texted me: “I vomited along with her. It was something special.” Ultimately, the show is an extreme display of “Stars, they’re just like us!” Except, you know, Amy takes a private jet in addition to taking the Metro North. And, like all of us, she is constantly questioning herself, wondering if she’s doing the right thing. “Do I sound like a whiny bi*ch? I’m so proud but I’m scared.” Welcome to motherhood, Amy!