When I recently met Sarah Silverman for brunch in Los Angeles, the first words out of her mouth as she sat down at the diner’s counter and opened her menu were ”I f—in’ love waffles!”
It isn’t just waffles that bring out the dockworker in Silverman. The comedian has a similarly profane love of pancakes, Honey Graham Life cereal, and Jell-O Pudding Pops. ”Whatever happened to Pudding Pops?” she asks. ”Those were so f—in’ good! There must have been cocaine in them or something.” Silverman starts licking her lips. ”Look, I’m salivating!” she says, wiping her mouth and holding her drool-slicked fingers an inch away from my face as proof.
Sarah Silverman is 34, but she acts just like the tomboy who might have had a locker next to yours in junior high school. With her long black ponytail, dark doll’s eyes, and a thin, swannish neck that she’s bragged is ”six inches long completely flaccid,” Silverman resembles a foxier Less Than Zero-era Jami Gertz, minus the ’80s hair. These aren’t just idle physical details, though. Silverman’s appearance is a stealth weapon on stage. Because part of what makes her so funny is the disconnect between her feminine beauty and the decidedly unfeminine spew that comes out of her pretty mouth. The Holocaust, AIDS, masturbation, African famine babies, Martin Luther King, teen pregnancy, midgets, rape, her boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel’s privates — they’re all taboos that Silverman will shatter into smithereens for a laugh.
Take these highlights from her new film Jesus Is Magic, a 72-minute politically incorrect blitzkrieg of stand-up, skits, and songs:
·”My nana was a survivor of the Holocaust…or, I’m sorry, alleged Holocaust.”
·”Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ. And then the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I’m one of the few people who believe it was the blacks.”
·”I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.”
For the past decade, Silverman has been steadily plugging away on the small screen (The Larry Sanders Show, Greg the Bunny) and the big one (School of Rock). But neither has been able to truly capture her uniquely provocative brand of humor. Earlier this year, though, Silverman seemed to find a high-profile arena for her voice when she unspooled an improvised, deadpan monologue in The Aristocrats, stealing the already obscene documentary from right under such comedy legends as George Carlin, Robin Williams, and Whoopi Goldberg. A couple weeks later, she committed another bit of foulmouthed larceny on The Comedy Central Roast of Pamela Anderson, where she uncorked a fusillade of blue one-liners like some filthy borscht-belt entertainer whose borscht had been spiked with Tabasco.
Now, on the eve of Jesus Is Magic’s release, and with a pilot for her own show on Comedy Central in the works, Silverman is finally on the brink of crossing over from cult comedian to mainstream star. Something she couldn’t be more ambivalent about. ”For the past 15 years, my agent has been saying ‘This is going to be your year,”’ she says. ”So I’m just trying to keep cool about it.”