Got heck­led, re­tired early… Sil­ver­man’s UK de­but shocker

The con­tro­ver­sial US co­me­dian of­ten up­sets audiences with her non-PC hu­mour. At her Lon­don pre­miere last Sun­day, it was her time-keep­ing and the brevity of her per­for­mance that en­raged the au­di­ence, says

The Jewish Chronicle - - Arts&entertainment -

When the au­di­ence, mut­ter­ing re­sent­ments, spilled on to the street at around 9.15pm, barely 45 min­utes af­ter no­to­ri­ous Amer­i­can co­me­dian Sarah Sil­ver­man came on stage, one was re­minded of that old gag, re­counted by Woody Allen in An­nie Hall: “the food here is ter­ri­ble — and such small por­tions.”

Sil­ver­man’s live UK de­but hardly cap­i­talised on her rep­u­ta­tion as the fun­ni­est woman on the planet. the doors opened late, sup­port act Steve Agee, who plays one of Sil­ver­man’s gay neigh­bours in her se­ries on US ca­ble chan­nel Com­edy Cen­tral, can­celled due to ill­ness, and the first 10 min­utes of what should have been her set com­prised a show-reel for her new se­ries.

Worst of all, when she fi­nally did ap- pear, to many in the crowd, in­clud­ing celebrity au­di­ence-mem­bers David Wal­liams and Chris Mor­ris, much of her ma­te­rial would have been fa­mil­iar from her tele­vi­sion show or re­cent stand-up DVD, Je­sus Is Magic. Fac­tor in her hes­i­tant, seem­ingly ill-pre­pared will-this-do? man­ner — rou­tinely part of her shtick, only this time it served to un­der­cut her jokes rather than en- hance them — and you had 3,000-plus se­ri­ously dis­grun­tled fans, who felt the £30-40 ticket price was too much for too lit­tle.

the prob­lem with vis­it­ing Amer­i­can co­me­di­ans is the im­pres­sion they give of cast­ing pearls be­fore swine, and never mind the tired no­tion that Amer­i­cans have no sense of hu­mour. Quite the op­po­site — they’ve got a su­pe­ri­or­ity com­plex, and for good rea­son. An onform Sil­ver­man ef­fort­lessly makes our best comics seem like end-of-the-pier en­ter­tain­ers.

tonight, she was coast­ing, but even a sub-par Sil­ver­man per­for­mance con­tains enough ex­plo­rations of the dark side of the hu­man psy­che to keep your mind reel­ing well into the night — in which case maybe it was money well spent. “I have had an abor­tion. Abor­tions. And ob­vi­ously it’s, like, one of the top 50 hard­est de­ci­sions a woman can make,” she dead­panned at the start of the show. Later, she ex­plained that she does not give money to starv­ing African chil­dren be­cause they will only spend it on drugs, so she sends DVDs in­stead. She en­quired about the Jewish quotient of the au­di­ence, and imag­ined it might be a ter­ror­ist plot to get all the Jews in eng­land un­der one roof.

She also won­dered at the nazis’ lack of busi­ness acu­men, with their geno­cide of a peo­ple who would have in­evitably be­come the best cus­tomers for their Volk­swa­gen and Mercedes cars.

And with her acous­tic gui­tar she satirised the sin­cere trou­ba­dour genre, most notably dur­ing the ditty in which she dreamed of a world where “re­tarded” peo­ple might be “re-smarted”.

the ditzy JAP per­sona which she uses to spear big­otry un­rav­elled, how­ever, when she re­turned for an “en­core” and, hav­ing run out of ma­te­rial, tried awk­wardly to en­gage with the au­di­ence “as her­self”, with an im­promptu ques­tio­nand-an­swer ses­sion. Af­ter a cou­ple of bland en­quiries, one woman shouted out: “Sarah, you’re over­hyped, I want my money back,” to which Sil­ver­man turned her back, bent over, mimed break­ing wind, then headed off stage, this time for good, a desul­tory end to a dis­ap­point­ing per­for­mance.

Sarah Sil­ver­man ar­rived late and fin­ished af­ter a mere 45 min­utes

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