That foul-mouthed JAP? It’s not re­ally me

Con­tro­ver­sial US co­me­dian may have bombed in Lon­don last week, but she found time to give her views about God, Obama and her ob­ses­sion with Boots

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

Whatdowe knowabout Sarah Sil­ver­man? She is 37, lives in Los an­ge­les, and has a dog called duck. oh, and she is re­garded as the world’s hottest and most con­tro­ver­sial co­me­dian, hav­ing carved a rep­u­ta­tion in her na­tive United States for taboo-bust­ing stand-up rou­tines — sub­jects cov­ered in­clude race, rape and abor­tion — de­liv­ered in the per­sona of a sweet-faced Jewish princess.

oc­ca­sion­ally, her de­sire to shock mis­fires — her use of the word “Chink” to de­scribe Chi­nese amer­i­cans re­sulted in her hav­ing to de­fend her hu­mour on na­tional tV.

She re­cently hit the head­lines for a non-comedic rea­son, be­ing the im­pe­tus be­hind “the Great Schlep”. Un­der the slo­gan “Vote for obama, gonna visit Grand­mama!”, she has been cam­paign­ing to urge US Jews to visit their grand­par­ents in Florida and per­suade them to vote for Barack obama in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. She protests that only a “douche-noz­zle” — an un­flat­ter­ing ref­er­ence to an in­ti­mate med­i­cal ap­pli­ance — would not try to con­vince their grand­par­ents to vote demo­crat in next month’s poll.

Like obama, Sil­ver­man her­self has been try­ing to win over a na­tion — in her case, the Bri­tish. She brought her stand-up show to Lon­don last week, al­though the move may have back­fired. her ma­te­rial —a mix of old and new — went down fairly well, but some au­di­ence mem­bers were an­gry that she was on stage for only 45 min­utes.

Nev­er­the­less, she main­tains she loves us Brits, think­ing we are smarter than her “re­tard” of a na­tion — and she can­not get enough of top­shop and Boots, vis­it­ing the stores “three days on the trot” dur­ing her lat­est trip, she says.

the JC caught up with Sil­ver­man be­fore her show and on the night, in per­son and by email, to find out more about her re­tail pref­er­ences, and ask whether be­ing Jewish has any­thing to do with her non-PC hu­mour.

Play­ing with prej­u­dices can be risky, for ex­am­ple your “I love Chinks” com­ment. Are there any bound­aries? Sarah Sil­ver­man: well I just as­sume — at least hope — that the true in­tent of any com­ments come through. I don’t think half my stuff would be funny if the au­di­ence didn't feel at least a lit­tle bit safe that it’s not how I truly feel. or that who I re­ally am tran­scends through the a******e just enough.

Do you think com­edy should be about dark sub­jects, rais­ing aware­ness about dif­fi­cult is­sues — the Holo­caust, for ex­am­ple? SS: I think you said it. though, peo­ple can’t help what top­ics cut them deep. It all de­pends on who’s in­fer­ring — and what the con­texts of their lives are at the time, you know?

How do you write ma­te­rial for stand-up? Do you have a rou­tine or for­mula? SS: If I have to write by a cer­tain time, I can pull through, but usu­ally I just let stuff hap­pen, hang­ing

What made you want to be a co­me­dian? SS: Mak­ing my fam­ily laugh when I was lit­tle — it be­came an ad­dic­tion. It was a kind of sur­vival. and it con­tin­ues. des­per­ate? Yes. hid­den as well as pos­si­ble.

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