Read of the Day: Sarah Silverman Thinks Women Run Comedy
5:31 pm, November 22nd | by Colette McIntyre
I wanted to talk about using cuteness in your act. Not just your looks, but using a sweetness or bubbliness — and then subverting it.
I do definitely play with contrasts because I think that’s interesting. If I say something hard and then I say it in a hard way, there’s no natural dichotomy in it. Things aren’t all one thing. I don’t put too much thought into it, but, look, I can’t help it if I’m fucking adorable. I mean, that’s subjective, but if you find me adorable, that’s your problem.
You were on Totally Biased a couple months back, and you talked about the James Franco roast and the fact that all the other roasters felt comfortable making fun of your age, despite the fact that you weren’t even the oldest person there. You said it was partly because you were a woman. Have you given that more thought?
It’s hard to talk about it, because I’m very protective of the format of a roast. So, those guys had every right to say what they said. They were funny jokes. I was brutal to people. It’s all in good fun, but we’re made of feelings as human beings and it took me by surprise that I was suddenly perceived as old. I’m the same age as Kamau! I’m younger than a lot of new faces in comedy. I can’t help it if I’ve been around and haven’t died. I just feel like there is a conceit that’s maybe not spoken out loud, that is a gas in the air, that is, as soon as a woman is old enough to have opinions and be strong, she’s often encouraged to crawl under a rock and be ashamed of herself and that’s just bananas. That’s some fucked-up shit. Then it was cool to be forced to think through that. I think that was a gift for me.
To that point, is there any value in being asked about being a female comedian, as it allows people to think and discuss gender? Is it an interesting conversation or is it too hard to get away from the cliché of it?
What I say to that, and I don’t mean this to shame you, because I think the question being asked lets this come to light, but to me the last relic of the whole “women in comedy” issue is that interview question. That’s like the last thing left of it. I mean, women run comedy. I mean, it’s Tina Fey and Amy Poehler and Chelsea Handler. Women run comedy. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy. Women have had to be undeniable in order to come to light, and they have, so there’s a real force now. It’s an undeniable force. Is anyone better at hosting awards shows than Amy and Tina? I mean, it’s nothing. All that’s left is that question that is always, always, always asked. I’m glad you asked, because then I get to say that.
To read the full interview, click here.