Colorado denies involvement in Amy Schumer’s Roe vs Wade-inspired mock promotion of the state

Screenshots from the video below

John Wenzel

The Denver Post

A comedy sketch promoting the wonders of Colorado — including (and especially) access to safe, legal abortion services — will premiere on Oct. 20 as part of the new season of “Inside Amy Schumer,” Paramount+ announced over the weekend.

“Whatever kind of experience you’re looking for, you can find it here, in Colorado,” says comic, writer and actor Amy Schumer in the two-and-a-half minute video, which was released Sept. 28 to promote Season 5 of her sketch series.

“… And all the services, you may need,” she adds. “All as legal as a hot mug of fresh cocoa is refreshing.”

The “Colorado” sketch, as it’s officially called, has prompted calls and feedback at the Colorado Tourism Office, according to the state office’s communications manager.

“We’ve definitely heard some responses from (people) on both sides of the issue,” she said. “But we did not work with her on this sketch in any capacity, nor do we endorse it in any way.”

The spokesperson said her office had not previously commented on the sketch, but said that they did not provide any information to Schumer’s team. She could not immediately confirm if the sketch’s roughly 35,000 views on YouTube have translated to any kind of bump in Colorado’s tourism visibility.

Schumer, dressed in a checkered shirt, black hat and vest, is foregrounded in the sketch against green-screened helicopter shots of the state’s beauty before person-on-the-street interviews pick up the thread. “Visiting here was on our bucket list of things to do before we died,” says a woman standing in front of an image of Peak 8 Base Camp at Breckenridge Ski Resort. Her smile drops as she adds, “Which, honestly, I might have if I hadn’t been able to visit Colorado.”

The sketch was inspired by the June 24 overturning of Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld Mississippi’s ban on abortion at 15 weeks of pregnancy and ended the federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The ruling opens the floodgates for states to outlaw abortion, according to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health organizations.

Schumer has never shied from edgy humor, particularly in her biting, spot-on feminist critiques of patriarchal society. But her show went off the air the same year Donald Trump was elected president, so she’s no doubt amassed another trove of material to draw from.

The humor in the sketch comes partly from the tension Schumer creates. The forced smiles and promotional tone begin to melt as more women share their tales of visiting Colorado, including one whose employer paid for her visit. “Colorado is more centrally located than you think,” Schumer says. “Especially if you’re coming from Utah, Wyoming, Arizona, Nebraska or Oklahoma.”

She doesn’t stop there, also naming Illinois as “another great option” for women’s health services, provided you live in surrounding states. The word “abortion” is never used.

Last week Paramount+ confirmed a Thursday, Oct. 20, release date for Season 5 — the show’s first for the streaming service, following four seasons on Comedy Central from 2013 to 2016.

The piece vaguely recalls other comedy sketches that have painted Colorado as both a Wild West-outlier and a libertarian haven. Amid a sea of social and religious conservatism, the state has made recreational cannabis legal, decriminalized magic mushrooms (in Denver), and hosted individual cities that have been singled out as unique — including the former, international reputation for gender-reassignment surgeries in Trinidad (see “ South Park,” in particular).

Schumer is a fan of Colorado audiences, having taped her 2017 special “The Leather Special,” her first Netflix offering, at the Bellco Theatre. She’s returned many times since then, including in August to play a run of shows at the Paramount Theatre.

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