Sarah Silverman: interview

Before she flies in for her London gig, sensational US comedian Sarah Silverman bats a few emails across the Atlantic to the Time Out inbox

  • Sarah Silverman: interview

    Sarah shows her softer, thoughtful, hosierily mismatched side © Barry J Holmes

  • In a recent online Q&A, acerbic US comedian Sarah Silverman was asked why she preferred to be interviewed by email rather than face to face, to which she replied: ‘Because I can say things like, “You are a fucking idiot! That question is stupid!” In person I’m way too nice and my heart would break to be so rude.’ So we put her claim to the test and, poking her with a metaphorical stick, emailed her a load of questions ahead of her London show.

    Any intelligent person watching your routine will realise you’re a racist and a misanthrope. Do you sometimes worry that people won’t actually understand that and will mistakenly think you’re being ironic?

    ‘It’s hard to answer funny questions. You’re setting me up to be the straight man. But, funny question. I’m glad. I really want you to shine in this interview. Great…’

    Who do you most enjoy offending?

    ‘Hilarious interviewers.’

    Is there anyone you’d like to offend but haven’t had the chance to yet?

    ‘Hmm… I guess just your mother.’

    At the age of 22 you were on ‘Saturday Night Live’. If you could bring one of the cast who have died back to life, who would it be and why?

    ‘Phil [Hartman] and Chris [Farley]. Their lives were taken from them.’

    You can’t actually do that, can you?

    ‘I just did. Boo-ya.’

    You, Jackie Mason and Woody Allen are all Jewish and you’re all comedians. Is that a coincidence or is there some kind of Jewish comedy mafia at work?

    ‘Jews, black people – any people who are hated or who have suffered, either as individuals or as a people – use humour. It is a survival skill. Of course, that is a generalisation. I’m not looking for pity. I just had unwanted hair.’

    Do you think having a vagina gives you the edge on those two old duffers?

    ‘One thing about vaginas in general – no edges.’

    Are you Jewish or Jew-ish? How has this affected your comedy?

    ‘I have no religion, but I can’t escape being extremely Jewish ethnically – that is, culturally. In other words, I’m not religious, but I worry and I’m neurotic. And I’m very good with money.’

    Anyone with access to YouTube will know that you’ve fucked Matt Damon. We give him a ten out of ten as an action hero, what mark would you give him in the sack?

    ‘I’m sure he is spectacular… at least, that’s what your mother told me.’

    In your film ‘Jesus Is Magic’ you say humiliation drove you to become a comedian. You’ve made a shedload of money now – would you recommend that I humiliate my daughter in the hope that it will make her successful and rich in the future?

    ‘That’s actually a sketch my sister Laura once wrote. Yes. You can do that but it’s a grab bag – either they turn into artistic geniuses or they become serial killers (see: young art student Adolf Hitler).’

    How much are you the Sarah Silverman we see on stage?

    ‘I tend to be more arrogant on stage. Far more ignorant. I sometimes say what I think and sometimes say the opposite of what I think and the lines get blurred, but I can only hope that some kind of absolute power transcends. It mostly boils down to poop jokes, so I probably shouldn’t get too deep and pontificate-y.’

    When you think of London, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The Queen, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Mary Poppins, kids with knives and bad transsexuals singing ‘Lola, she was a showgirl…’ aren’t acceptable responses.

    ‘Hyde Park, Mildred’s, Topshop, H&M, hoity-toity types, runny noses, Madonna, “Doctor Who”, French and Saunders , Ricky Gervais.’

    What message would you like to pass on to the people of London via the medium of this emailed interview?

    ‘Hold me.’Sarah Silverman will be performing at the Hammersmith Apollo, Sunday October 19.

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