“Amy Schumer is playing the Saddledome?”

Yes. It’s a question I’ve answered many times since it was announced that one of the world’s biggest comedians was not only coming to Calgary, she was playing the city’s biggest venue. Now, I’m not Calgary historian, but I can’t think of a time a comedian played the Saddledome. Even Jerry Seinfeld plays bigger venues when he is here. But Amy played the biggest venue she could and she sold it out in minutes.

Going into tonight’s show, I honestly did expect too much. I’ve been an Amy Schumer fan since her explosive appearance on the Comedy Central roast where she destroyed Charlie Sheen. I found Trainwreck to be infinitely less funny than Inside Amy Schumer, but I’ve always respected her for standing up to industry norms. You also have to applaud her for using her voice for the power of good, particularly in the fight for gun control, in which she no doubt gets endless hate from anonymous trolls. So as her show opened, I didn’t really know what to expect.

It opened with a performance from her brother’s band, then a comedian had the unenviable task of warming up the entire Saddledome. (My google research skills are coming up short, if you know who it was, please let me know.) Seriously, you really get a sense of how big that place is when one person is trying to make the room laugh.

Not too long after, Amy Schumer came out on stage, along with a bottle of wine. The arena’s staff had spent the past twenty minutes harshly enforcing Amy’s no cell phone rule, which at first seemed strange, but I actually grew to enjoy, although the staff could have certainly been way nicer about asking people to put their phones away. But all the nit-picky stuff went away as soon as Schumer started her set. What was a struggle for the opener a few minutes before was easy and breezy for Amy, who knows how to play her routine of “every person” very well.

The weirdest part of the experience was no doubt listening to everyone around us share their “Amy Schumer stories.” Meaning, when she said a sexual anecdote, the people around us would turn to their friend and share one. I mean, I’m all fine and dandy with people talking about sex. But knowing the very intimate details of the entire section 223, was a bit unexpected.

But that’s what Amy does so well. She makes the taboo seem topical. If Amy can be weird and outlandish and still incredibly popular, then we can to our friends and family about pretty much anything. Well, you can. My family is a bit more shy.

The majority of her set was what you’d expect: Jokes about her weight, sex life and blow jobs. But I was most intrigued when Amy talked about gun control, something she’s been a bit advocate for ever since two girls were shot to death while watching Trainwreck back in 2015. I took note that Amy mentioned the girls by their full names: Mayci Breaux and Jillian Johnson. Their death is something she carries with her. That was very clear. And while Amy was sort of preaching to the converted here in Canada, you have to admire that she uses her stage every night to talk about gun control. It’s a topic that topples politicians, yet her uses her voice every chance she can. Between jokes about hookups and blackouts, it’s the most real stuff that leaves the biggest impact.

Tickets varied in price, ours were the cheapest at $35, which was astonishingly cheap. And for a comedian, unless you’re in the first row, as long as you’re in the room, you’re good to go.

This was the second time Schumer came to Calgary in as many years, and I hope she keeps coming back. As her movie profile grows, the need to do stand up comedy may subside, but it’s where she shines and at $35, it’s well worth it.

Mike Morrison