Sarah Silverman Talks to W. Kamau Bell About Ageism, Sexism, and the Franco Roast
3:08 pm, September 16th | by Colette McIntyre
During a recent appearance on W. Kamau Bell’s Totally Biased, Sarah Silverman confirmed what we have all been thinking since the James Franco roast: that shit is rough and can’t be particularly easy to survive.
As we reminded you this morning, most of the ~*~zingers~*~ lobbed at Silverman during the Roast (and even after, like in Totally Biased‘s own response to the incredibly homophobic event) focused on her age. Granted, roasters always rely on shallow signifiers for punchlines — race, weight, sexuality, etc — but something about the attacks on Silverman seemed especially insidious and emblematic of a larger truth. I mean, while Silverman is forty-two, she still looks like a teenage summer camp counselor who wouldn’t survive a ’70s horror flick. After being treated like a haggard crone for more than ninety minutes while sitting on the same dais as Jeffrey Ross, Silverman stayed “in bed for two days,” she joked:
And I wish so much that that didn’t cut me to the core. I wish so much, I don’t want young girls see me be hurt by jokes about age. Because I feel it’s not a good example. I know (audience applause). Oh, thank you! … First of all, me being old, first of all, at the roast? — completely took me by surprise. I mean, first of all, I don’t think anyone thinks of themselves as old. But I think ultimately, it’s a roast, and in a way, I feel like a hypocrite even addressing it. But to me, it touched on something. Just like ‘Jesus Is Magic’ touched on something with you (to Bell). Because it’s personal, that is just so woman-based. I wasn’t even the oldest one on that dais. I’m the same age as fresh-faced new star W. Kamau Bell! I mean. I feel like it’s a part of, as soon as you get — a woman gets to an age where she has opinions and she’s vital and she’s strong…she’s systematically shamed into hiding under a rock. And this is by progressive pop-culture people! You know what I mean? It’s really odd! I feel bad that it cut me. Because I should be like this about it (brushing her hand off her shoulder). I feel like your joke is that I’m still alive. My crime is not dying.
And I feel like, I just did this special and it made me think of something I said, which was — to so many women, especially when I watch Real Housewives — (muffled, through gritted teeth) which I watch, I wish I didn’t, but I do — I just want to say, “Your heartbreaking attempts to look younger is the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future!”
While I really wish Silverman were more willing to enter into a discussion about race and didn’t deflect Bell’s criticism, she was on point when talking about ageism and gender. On. Point.