Hear me ask Sarah about why she doesn’t own her own domain name: ‘I know I should.’
‘Jesus’ is saving Silverman’s irreverent humor for posterity (Boston Herald)
Sarah Silverman is sweet and endearing offstage.
That makes her taboo-crossing humor that much more powerful onstage and onscreen – a formula that has drawn comparisons to Lenny Bruce and Larry David.
But the 34-year-old comedian and actress from Bedford, N.H., doesn’t get the latter reference.
“I don’t really see myself in any way like Larry David, except that I let myself be unlikable,” Silverman said.
Even then, she does so with a sly smile.
“I’ll tickle your back until you fall asleep while I’m feeding you these horrible things,” she said. “I’ll give you a nice warm sponge bath while talking about black people and Mexicans and rape.”
All of those topics – plus the Holocaust, AIDS, Sept. 11, 2001, and her infamous Asian joke that prompted an apology from Conan O’Brien – get covered in her new movie, Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic, which played to a soldout audience earlier this month as part of the Boston Jewish Film Festival. It opens officially in Boston on Friday.
One of Silverman’s older sisters, Susan, is a local rabbi.
Sarah Silverman, however, left New Hampshire for New York City after high school and soon embarked on her comedy career, getting her first, albeit brief, big break on Saturday Night Live.
Since the mid-1990s, she has cultivated a cult-like following, especially among comedians who wish they had the courage to write and deliver material like hers.
Earlier this year, she turned The Aristocrats joke inside-out. Film critics applauded her for it. She also appears briefly in the film adapatation of Rent (opening Wednesday). Silverman is developing her own half-hour show for Comedy Central, and many publications tout this as her moment to break out to mainstream success.
Silverman isn’t exactly holding her breath.
“I was always a button-pusher growing up,” she said. “But when you start doing standup, it takes years to kind of become yourself or find those best things about yourself comedically onstage. I’m certainly not myself onstage. But I am. I am, in that it’s me talking, it’s the way I talk, it’s the way I move. And those are things that are hard to finally get to. And to continue as I change, once I get old and become a Republican, my material will change and I’ll have to do ads for whatever Dennis Miller does ads for these days.”
But first, a musical number.
To some, the most surprising aspect of Jesus Is Magic is the revelation that Silverman has singing chops, displayed in several musical numbers.
“It was just fun. It was so fun,” she said. “I love musicals, although they’re a little cheesy. Although some are really good. I just saw ‘Wicked.’ That was so good. And ‘Spamalot.’ But I’m a total theater fag, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory homosexual way, but in an, I, too, am a fag for theater. No, wait. That’s still bad.”
The British meaning, perhaps?
“I’m a cigarette for theater,” she said. “See, theater’s smokin’!”
And so is she.