My Favorite Scene: 'Inside Amy Schumer' Co-Creator Dan Powell on the Emmy-Winning Boy Band Sketch

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Photo: Comedy Central

No one loves a great scene more than the person who first dreamed it up -- the writer. We're asking iconic shows' creators and writers to tell ET all about getting to see their most cherished moment on their series make it from script to screen.

For Inside Amy Schumer co-creator and executive producer Dan Powell, it’s an Emmy-winning sketch, “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” from season three. Dubbed by many as the “One Direction parody” -- for its similarities to the band’s hit song “What Makes You Beautiful” -- the sketch skewered the hypocrisy surrounding the "no makeup" movement. And what may have started as a “joke within a joke” for producer Jim Roach and the writers soon became the feminist satire of the year.

The sketch also came early in season three, which included celebrated episodes such as “Last F**kable Day” and “12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer.” The show itself went on to be nominated for seven Emmys and capped off a momentous year for Schumer. Ahead of the home release of season four, which earned four Emmy nominations, including a first for budding writer-actress Claudia O'Doherty, Powell looks back on his proudest moment from the series.

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Dan Powell, Co-Creator and Execute Producer
“Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” Episode 2, Season 3

My favorite all-time Inside Amy Schumer sketch is “Girl, You Don’t Need Makeup,” from our third season episode “Cool With It.”  

This video was a massive collaboration, and it’s an example of every department on the show firing on all cylinders -- not just writing but production design, casting, wardrobe, hair and makeup, choreography, camera department, locations, and, of course, our incredible director Ryan McFaul and cinematographer Jon Furmanski.  

The initial idea came from our writer Kurt Metzger, who also wrote the first draft of the lyrics.  We paired him up with writer Kyle Dunnigan, who has a music background, and Kyle began working out a basic melody and structure for the song. The lyrics came back into the writers’ room for punch-up and the entire staff pitched in on the jokes. Eventually, Kyle pulled in his colleague Jim Roach to produce and record the final audio track. 

The “boy band” in the music video was assembled from scratch by our casting director Gayle Keller. We needed four guys who looked like a convincing boy band, but who could also dance and lip sync flawlessly while hitting the comic nuance. The first time we saw them rehearse the dance on set, the entire staff burst into spontaneous applause and we knew this was going to be a standout sketch.

One thing I especially love about the sketch is Amy’s performance. It’s almost entirely wordless, so it’s all in her expressions and reactions, and it’s just incredibly funny. Everyone knows how gifted Amy is with dialogue, but this was able to show another side of her abilities.  

Ultimately, the song won the Emmy for Best Original Music & Lyrics. It was our first Emmy, given at the Creative Arts Awards a week before we won for Best Variety Sketch Series. On the sketch’s YouTube page there are lots of comments along the lines of “this would be a real hit song if it wasn’t a sketch” and “does anyone know if this is a real boy band?” I think that’s what I’m most proud of.   

Inside Amy Schumer season four, including a look inside the writers’ room, is now available on DVD.