With Sarah Silverman, it’s just a matter of time before things get dirty. But by way of introducing herself to viewers of Comedy Central, she starts slow. We meet her gay neighbors. Her eternally patient sister. Her dog. It’s enough to make you wonder what the hell happened to the woman who in The Aristocrats accused geriatric TV host Joe Franklin of raping her. (It played like high comedy. Trust us.) But before long, she treats her audience to a cheerful comparison between her sister’s nether regions and Cat Stevens’ face. Or has sex with God — who, in Silverman’s telling, talks dirty and is so needy that he has to be kicked out of bed. And that’s not even touching the extended lyrical ode to a fart gone awry.
Yep. That’s our girl. Silverman’s game should be familiar to most comedy fans by now: She tilts her impish face toward the camera, widens her huge brown eyes, and then — in the tiniest of little-girl voices — unleashes a torrent of vicious and uproarious filth. The Sarah Silverman Program, her new half-hour show (premiering Feb. 1), is more or less just a miniaturized version of her 2005 movie Jesus Is Magic — featuring wan plots that serve as carriers for savage cultural observations, tiresome musical numbers, random sketches, and smart-bomb one-liners. (The first episode, for example, concerns a quest for batteries.) But where her movie overstayed its welcome, the quick-shot format of TV works beautifully. The result is haphazard, amoral, ridiculous, wildly offensive…and, you know, totally hilarious.