Last night I went to see Sarah Silverman perform for a sold-out crowd of 2,700 people. Her show was funny and pushed the boundaries, as expected. However, due to recent events, I had to overcome my fear in order to go to the show.
On February 1, Silverman ill-advisedly reacted to the news from Washington with a tweet reading like a call for a military coup. Following swift on-line backlash, she didn’t delete the first tweet, but instead tweeted, “FEAR can motivate even peacenik snowflakes 2 incite violence & last night I felt it hard. Trying 2 keep in check bc damnit I love u America.” There are now YouTube videos specifically aimed at stirring people up about this and on-line commentary is pretty scary, with some people even making death threats toward the comedian.
Security was high at the theatre (for which Silverman apologized), but I noticed that they were not patting down or scanning everyone. When I got to my seat (I went alone), the single seat between myself and the aisle was taken by a large unsmiling, bald man. On his lap he held his jacket carefully, and I noticed something black and cylindrical poking out from between the folds. My heart began to race as I considered the possibilities – should I ask him about it, go to the usher, stand at the back, assume it was nothing? As people came into our row and we had to stand up, I tried surreptitiously to see what he was holding. And it didn’t help when the opening comedian cited recent events, and asked if we had ever considered that this could be the last thing we ever saw! In any case, finally the coat moved enough that I realized… it was an umbrella!! Phew! Glad to be still alive!
The opening comedian was Vancouver’s Charlie Demers, who warmed us up nicely. He likened being the uglier of two brothers to losing on a show like Top Chef – you’re given the same basket of ingredients but your dish just falls short!
Sarah Silverman was lively and down-to-earth, and appeared very youthful in her cut-off jeans shorts and pony tail. She covered a range of topics, including politics, sex, women’s right to choose, laser hair removal, and religion to name a few. She is funny precisely because she pushes the boundaries and says things so outrageous that you couldn’t possibly think that she actually believes them. But at the same time, she stays true to her beliefs, makes important points, and leaves the audience with a lot to think about, which I think is part of the role of the comedian and social commentator.
Silverman is also an accomplished actress. She starred in I Smile Back opposite Josh Charles (The Good Wife), which is available on Netflix. This is not a happy movie and is R rated. It is, however, a very realistic and tragic portrait of a woman in a deep depression, struggling with addictions to alcohol, pills, cocaine, and sex, all of which she uses to self-medicate against the emotional pain she lives with. The acting is great and the filming is done in a realistic almost found-footage style. Reviews weren’t very good, but I think that has more to do with many people not liking raw tragedy where things may not all be tied up in a nice neat package.
I just downloaded Silverman’s audiobook, The Bedwetter, from iTunes. This will be my next car book to laugh my way to and from work.
I want to leave you with Sarah Silverman and (one of my screen faves) Jeff Goldblum singing “Me and My Shadow”. (Note that starting at 2:32 there are some narrative/visuals that are NSFW, as she advertises her YouTube channel.)