Like I said, Sarah Silverman took part in a conference call this afternoon to talk about season three of The Sarah Silverman Program, which debuts Feb. 4 on Comedy Central — and also on Logo, the gay and lesbian cable channel that helped fund production costs for the third season.
The first episode, "The Proof is in the Penis," has a more cinematic sweep and tone to it, even if it may set a new record for the number of times the word "penis" is said in 22 minutes — including one scene in which Silverman screams "I swallowed my penis!" over and over. You'll also find out that Silverman's donning of a mustache at the Emmys might not have been a prank as much as it was a tease. But the look and feel of the third-season debut definitely feels like a movie, and with a sisterly duet thrown in, reminded me of Silverman's movie, Jesus is Magic. The second episode, "The Silverman and the Pillows," written by comedian Chelsea Peretti, also opens with a musical number, and might have some people mistakenly trying to draw a parallel to the Leno/Conan debacle at NBC. That'd be silly, although Silverman said she's on Team Conan.
"I think the first one, 'Proof is in the Penis,' feels really cinematic to me," Silverman told me today. "We haven't been on the air in 14 months." With such a long wait for new episodes, she wanted to return to the air with something big and "special" for the fans. "We weren't on the air in 2009 at all," she said. "You'd think we were The Sopranos or Lost with all of the gaps in production, and not a 21-and-a-half-minute show about fart jokes."
As for the added musical element, Silverman said there's no hard and fast rules about it this season. "It's very uneven," she said. "I think the second episode has three songs. It's just however it works with the story and however we were moved…Usually in the (writers) room, someone will get a snag in their brain. There's an episode where Steve writes a song that becomes famous called 'I'm Glad You Hurt Your Hand.' That just came from me, and Rob Schrab hurt his hand, and I just started singing, (singing) 'I'm glad you hurt your hand. I'm glad you hurt your hand.'"
A lot of people continue to think that Silverman is all about being taboo, but she denied that, saying instead: "We never go for shocking if it's not funny to us. I think we go for aggressively dumb."
"Does anything shock anyone anymore?" she wondered. "I hope we reach a little bit farther than that with our fart jokes."
And Comedy Central has not had any problems with any of their storylines. "They are supercool about the most important thing, which is content. They really have not meddled with any of the content." Even cooler to her and her program has been Logo, which agreed to help fund this season's production budget in exchange for the rights to rebroadcast all of the episodes. "They saved us," Silverman said. "We wouldn't be on the air if it wasn't for Logo. I was talking with some gay friends of mine. They said, it's not just that Steve and Brian are gay…it's that the absurdist humor is up their, is the cup of tea of the gay community than more in general, the straight community. I'm so grateful. I know the gays belong to Kathy (Griffin). But any fallover, I'll take it. I'm so grateful to Logo. And in terms of content, they never ever had a request."
So what else can we expect from season 3? Silverman said both couples (Brian Posehn and Steve Agee, and Laura Silverman and Jay Johnston) will get significant storylines, "there's a new mayor who makes gay sex and brunch illegal," you'll see Silverman defend herself on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Andy Samberg plays her imaginary friend, Ed Asner shows up in an episode involving Nazi war criminals, "there's a lot of drugs," and she claims the eighth episode includes a main plotline for Brian and Steve "in which I dare say, you'll cry in the end." OK. Enough words. Here's a new trailer for the season. Roll it!