Artwork by REXPLUNA
EDITOR’S NOTE: There is more to Sarah Silverman — who kicks off a two-night stand at the Keswick on Sunday — than just ‘fake-racist meta-jokes’ and fucking Matt Damon. There is also doody jokes. But seriously folks, after 34 episodes of The Sarah Silverman Show, 30 movies, two Emmys, and one memoir, she’s just getting started. On the doody jokes. Just kidding. You’ll see. The following is an exclusive excerpt from my 6,300 word 2014 MAGNET cover story. Enjoy.
BY JONATHAN VALANIA When I meet Sarah Silverman for the first time she is coming out of the bathroom. It seems somehow fitting. Her sets are rife with grimy bathroom humor, ‘doody’ is her favorite word and she’s been telling audiences as of late that she wants to make a phone app “that will let you know when your friends are shitting.” For the first and probably last time in my life the prospect of asking a complete stranger if she made a doody actually seems like not just a good idea, but a great one. Still, I think better of it and it passes. Probably all for the best.
Like everyone on TV, Sarah Silverman is smaller and more vulnerable in the flesh. She looks trim, adorable and 10 years younger than her 43 years — which she chalks up to her zero intake of booze or meat. And yet, upon closer inspection something is wrong. There is a dull black bruise under one eye. There is something deeply disturbing and angry-making about a woman with a black eye. Right away, your jaw clenches and your hands ball up into fists. All you want to know is who did this and where is he now.
“Oh, shit. I keep forgetting how crazy I must look,” she says, when I ask what happened. “I tried covering it . This is with cover-up on. I thought it’d be gone by now. I got a concussion playing basketball, like I just landed on my head.”
It is the middle of August and we are backstage at Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, New Jersey, where Sarah is performing as part of OddballFest, Funny Or Die’s moveable feast of comedy, featuring state of the art stand-up practitioners circa now, people like Louis CK, Amy Schumer, Bill Burr and Aziz Ansari.
We sit down on her dressing room couch and chat about her career (in less than two weeks she will win her second Emmy and be tapped to host SNL), her dad (‘Hey, he does look like Harry Dean Stanton, now that you mention it.”), her weed (never before a show; no regrets about showing America her pot pipe on the red carpet at the Emmys, it’s legal in California), her vegetarianism (“I don’t eat meat or fish, but I eat dairy and eggs. I don’t eat anything dead, but I’ll eat it if it comes out of an animal’s boobs or vagina.”) where she draws the line in pursuit of a laugh (“Nothing’s off limits if it’s funny enough, and it doesn’t make me feel more rotten than excited to tell it. That’s the only gauge you can really go by.”) her nervousness about her impending appearance on the Howard Stern Show (“It’s my first Stern being with Michael.”)
Michael is the esteemed actor Michael Sheen, born in Wales, graduate of London’s Royal Academy Of Dramatic Arts, three-time BAFTA winner, better known in the UK for his stage work, probably better known in this country for playing David Frost, Nixon’s chief interrogator in Frost/Nixon, and for playing Tony Blair in 2006’s The Queen. Or his current incarnation as Master’s Of Sex’s titular Dr. Masters. (Sarah played Betty’s ex-GF Helen for two episodes this season and is expected to return next season) In some quarters he will be better known for being Kate Beckinsale’s main squeeze/baby father from 1995-2003. When she goes on Stern in a few weeks, he will point out that Kate Beckinsale is one of the most gorgeous creatures on the planet ask if Sarah feels intimidated by that fact. This is one of those carbomb questions Stern likes to drive into guests, one of the questions she was dreading, but she defuses it like Jeremy Renner in The Hurt Locker. You can almost see the gears turning. Do I cut the red wire — threaten to scratch that bitch’s eyes out? Or the blue wire — acknowledge Beckinsale’s extraordinary beauty, but instead of being intimidated, take the high road and say you are flattered that her boyfriend is surrounded by all these beautiful creatures “And he chose me!” She snips the blue wire and…nothing happens. Defused. Crisis averted.
She has a cute story about meeting Michael that she clearly loves to share, so let’s indulge her:
“We were fixed up, without knowing it, by Mark Flanagan who owns the club Largo in LA. I did a benefit show there that I will talk about tonight if I remember, and he was there. Flanagan introduced us, and the next day, Flanagan was like, ‘He has a crush on you!’ And I was like, ‘Oh, he’s cute.’ And then without me knowing, he told Michael, ‘She has a crush on you.’ He connected us by e-mail. We went out to dinner, and we were both so confident, because we thought the other one had a crush on us. It wasn’t true. It wasn’t not true. It wasn’t until his 45th birthday dinner, and one of his friends said, ‘How’d you meet?’ And I was like, ‘I’ll take this. Michael had a crush on me, and he told Flanagan, and they made a plan for him to come to one of my shows.’ And Michael’s just politely listening, and then he was like, ‘That’s not true.’ It was so embarrassing.”
And then Louis CK walks in. Just to say ‘hi.’ That almost never happens to me. MORE