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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 10/10/2007

High Brow: Sarah Silverman -- Funny Girl?

By Liz Kelly

(Photo Illustration by Liz Kelly/Photo: AP)

Does Sarah Silverman Suck? Sarah Silverman -- the thinking man's pin-up, the angel with a dirty mouth -- may deliver shock value, but does she make us laugh? I'm not so sure. Neither is writer Kera Bolonik.

Bon Mots: Sarah Silverman is like sushi, a raw delicacy that people either love or hate -- and too much will make you gag.

Just One More Before Bedtime!
New York Times. Dubbed "Pipsqueak Paparazzi" by David Spade, two tweeners armed with $6,000 cameras ditch school to cash in on the tabloid picture game.

Bon Mots: In an era when even the most mundane images of the marginally famous are fodder for magazines and Web sites, almost anyone with a camera, it seems, can make a living as a celebrity photographer. Even a couple of kids who haven't started shaving.

What is Pop?
Guardian Unlimited. Author Paul Lester says, "Christina isn't, Girls Aloud are and Britney used to be but isn't any more. So how do you know pop when you hear it -- and has Kylie made it with her new single?"

Bon Mots: Popness is bound up not just with the way it's written and arranged, performed and produced, but with the way it's perceived then consumed.

More Good Reads:
-- Plan the rest of your month around this handy guide to 31 Days of Horror.
-- Is "Control" -- the new movie about late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis -- truly one of the "most beautiful movies ever made"?
-- Here's Looking at You, Syd

By Liz Kelly  | October 10, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Highbrow  
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Next: Morning Mix: Reese & Ryan -- Officially Over


I actually can't stand SS. Everyone thinks she's hot and funny, but that whole "I was raped ha ha ha" schtick isn't funny to me. I dunno, maybe I'm too senstive. Lots of taboo topics can be funny, like ethnic jokes, etc., but I dont think rape or molestation are very funny. Meh.

Posted by: not bluto | October 10, 2007 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I like a lot of alternative comics, but Sarah Silverman is absolutely the worst of the popular ones. Ok, so everyone knows the racist stereotype says that Jews in hollywood mock all other races and religions but their own, right? They let anti-Christian or Anti-African-American stereotypes on-screen. Some racist told you that by now, so you know it's a theme. Sarah embraces that racist image of Jews by being a bigot in her stand-up. She's no better than Lisa Lampenelli and far less astute than Don Rickles. That's tragedy, not comedy. It's not only insulting to other races, it's insulting to Jews. I watched "Jesus is Magic" and was offended by the racism she expressed. It doesn't matter at all if she thought she was being ironic, the audience determines if she is or not and I voted with "not ironic" and "not funny." And trust me, I wanted to like her. It's tragedy, not comedy.

Posted by: DCer | October 10, 2007 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Sarah Silverman, I wouldn't call her funny at all but she has made some points with the stuff about Paris and Brit. I think she falls firmly in the snarky but not funny catergory.

I think of pop as a song that is just wildly popular, which puts a lot of artists in the same catergory.

Posted by: petal | October 10, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I co-sign on the SS not being funny thing. I wanted to like her too. Louis C.K and Lisa Lampanelli are good examples who use Shock Value humor well. When I saw that she was back for a 2nd season, I was truly surprised.

Posted by: Geist | October 10, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I'm relieved to see other people who *understand* irony and appreciate alternative humor who also don't like Sarah Silverman. Some people talk about her like she's some kind of genius, and I've never agreed, so I thought maybe I was just missing the joke... and I *hate* not getting the joke!

In fact, the only joke she ever seems to deliver is, "I look moderately cute and sweet, but I am deep down a sly, racist idiot." Sometimes I think Larry the Cable Guy has more range.

Posted by: oregonchick | October 10, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I too, want to think SS is funny, but I've watched her stuff, and I've never laughed. This mentality of "I'm going to be more shocking, disgusting, and crude than any other person out there" does not equate to humor. I appreciate how difficult it is for women comediennes to "make it" in a male-dominated field. But you have to be funny in the first place. SS is not.

Samantha Bee did an interview with BUST magazine a year or so ago where she addresses the male/female issue. If you can find it, its an interesting read.

Posted by: jelo | October 10, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

i, too, tried to like ss, but she's just not funny. and in a disturbing way.

Posted by: b | October 10, 2007 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Add me to the "I don't find Sarah Silverman" funny crowd.

(Well...except for that stint she did on Star Trek Voyager about 10 years ago, but I don't think she was supposed to be funny...)

When I want to listen to an intelligent comic talk about racism and other controversial topics that aren't supposed to be funny, I'll drag out my Richard Pryor collection...

Posted by: Chasmosaur | October 10, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Nice to see a horror movie list I actually agree with. I'm a huuuuge horror/Halloween (the holiday not the movie) geek. I'm actually taking a break from decorating for Halloween to type this.

Anyhoo....I agree with everything on those lists, especially the Dario Argento flicks.

I also would like to mention that TCM is showing horror flicks every Friday during October &, of course, all day Halloween. They're honoring great horror directors, the already did Jacque Tourneur, upcoming Fridays are devoted to William Castle, Val Lewton, Tod Browning & Roger Corman.

As for Sarah Silverman, she's just not my bag at all. Gimme Dennis Leary any day. once he made me laugh so hard I barfed.

True story.

Posted by: Bored @ home | October 10, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Liz - you've been wanting to do a New York Review of Books piece for a while and (feeding off Bored@'s comment) there was a fun article on Val Lewton a while back.

Now those are some weird and disturbing movies. Not really horror, just strange.

Posted by: Bogota | October 10, 2007 12:33 PM | Report abuse

That Syd article is pretty amazing. And I'm neither a Pink Floyd fan nor a Tom Stoppard fan...

Good call.

Posted by: Bogota | October 10, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

"I appreciate how difficult it is for women comediennes to 'make it' in a male-dominated field. But you have to be funny in the first place. SS is not."

Nicely said, jelo. And I couldn't agree more. Rude and racist and morally offensive do not equal funny, no matter whose mouth the words are spewing from.

Posted by: Helena Handbasket | October 10, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

-I never understood the hype over Sarah Silverman. As a comic, she is painful to watch and her jokes are for shock value. How hard is to make fun of Paris and Brit; my 10 year old niece has Paris and Brit jokes and she funnier than SS.

- For those celebologist who are into comedy, please check out albums of Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Moms Mabley, George Carlin,

Posted by: Lisa1 | October 10, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I thought I'd be completely flamed for not liking SS! I mean, I didn't like her when she was on SNL, either. We have to be Closet SS-haters, no more!

[For what it's worth I like stand-up from Jeff Dunham to Lisa Lampanelli to Lewis Black (man, I love him) to Lachlan Patterson so it's not like I can't handle shock and awe humor.]

Posted by: not bluto | October 10, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that I'm the first poster here that likes SS. I'll admit that the shock schtick is getting a little old, but I think she's hilarious.

Posted by: KG | October 10, 2007 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I, too, loved the IDEA of Sarah Silverman and wanted to like her, but her Jesus is Magic movie left both me and my husband cold. Very unfunny.

That said, I do find her half hour show on Comedy Central more entertaining than her standup. But that could be because of the supporting characters (especially the gay best friends).

And, no matter how hard I try, I just can't picture her with Jimmy Kimmel, yuk!

Posted by: CJB | October 10, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Cannot stand Sarah Silverman. "Shocking" doesn't mean "well written." I prefer comedians along the lines of Eddie Izzard, myself, but I have no problem with shock humor if it's well done. Her material is just mean-spirited and maddening.

Posted by: musicgeek | October 10, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Silverman reminds me, at least in my reactions to her standup, to Sandra Bernhard. Another comedienne that I really wanted to like, and who I liked the idea of, but whose standup left me cold (and I have seen her live).

That said, I do LOVE some of Sandra Bernhard's acting roles, especially in The King of Comedy.

Posted by: CJB | October 10, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Alright, Alright I know its fangirlish...but Jeff Jensen mentioned the book club in an article (2nd page):) Can we have him back again at some point? That was an awesome discussion..,,20151394,00.html

Posted by: 4 months till Lost | October 10, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I like the Sarah Silverman. I have a thing for alliterative names.

Posted by: byoolin | October 10, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

sarah silverman is lucky she has boobs. she's not funny at all. and i love how david spade was mentioned in this post. SS is the david spade of female comedians: all snark and no wit.

Posted by: boredatwork | October 10, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I hate Sarah. Her jokes are so dumb that I can't even stand to look at her anymore. Really, the pic that is posted made me cringe. I thought I would give her a try and I watched a clip of her show. It was the one where she had a cold and bought cough medicine only to end up in her car parked in a school yard with kids and a cop who thought she was drunk.

Her clip about abortion also made me sick. Not because I am against the right to have an abortion, but because it is not a funny topic.

Posted by: Irish girl | October 10, 2007 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Irish Girl, That's exactly how I feel about her rape schtick... just not funny.

Posted by: not bluto | October 10, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

I wanted to love SS so much I had her life-sized image tatooed on my back. Doh!

Posted by: SS Superfan | October 10, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

She was kind of funny in School of Rock. Well...School of Rock was totally funny, and she was in it. Being not that funny. So I take it back. Jack Black was freakin hilarious in School of Rock.

Posted by: h3 | October 10, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Silverman is like Dane Cook -- some people love them, they get way too much airplay, but they're NOT FUNNY at all.

Sarah's all elongated facial expressions and vocal mannerisms, and Dane's all stubble and arm gestures. Take away their tics and they'd completely disappear.

Why do people care about them? I mean, has every funny comedian gone into retirement or something and these two are the only ones accepting bookings? I don't get it.

Posted by: td | October 10, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Irish Girl, that picture of SS made me sick. I hate her persona and her comedy so much that the sight of her makes me queasy. Why does she have a career if no one really seems to find her funny?

Posted by: Scottish Girl | October 10, 2007 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind SS, but I won't seek her out. To add to the comedy name check - seems like everyone has forgotten the late Bill Hicks. Definitely worth seeking out his stuff.

Posted by: phil | October 10, 2007 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Silverman refused to admit to Howard K. Stern that boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel's mere touch causes all the blood to drain from her body.

Sorry, I thought this was the caption competition.

Posted by: SMACK | October 10, 2007 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I was on the fence about Sarah Silverman for a long time, pretty ambivalent about her stand up. When her show and movie came out, she won me over. I finally get her. And once you get her, she's a riot. I loved that music montage of her three abortions. After working with very contrary elderly people, her song, "You're Gonna Die Soon" made me spit soda all over my computer. I'm singing the little ditty in my head right now!

Posted by: L L L | October 10, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Ms. Silverman is good in character parts in film - but not on her own. The opposite of Robin Williams....

Posted by: Maritza | October 11, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

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