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  • what is so last week is the way the referring website emphasizes being “nice” to dysfunctional celebrity establishment figures w/all the moral weight of a Durante quote. I agree that shock value alone doesn’t necessarily make for intelligent humor, although intelligent humor wouldn’t be possible without a risky and sometimes shocking pushing of the boundaries of what’s acceptable to look at in the first place. and without a substantive criticism of what fell short in Silverman’s stance on the writer’s strike (other than her not being the most eloquent spokesperson – and see the YouTube comments for a “democratic” assessment on the significance of that), I don’t see the difference between this post and Silverman’s bashing of hilton/lohan for their own vapidity.

  • I’m not sure that I understand what the problem is here. If you have a problem with Silverman’s humor in general, i.e. on her show, that’s fine, you’re obviously entitled to that opinion. But in this clip, she actually offers a fairly good explanation of what the WGA strike is all about: writers getting zero dollars of what’s made from digitally delivered formats of the shows that they write. She then goes on to explain that the writers’ demands are “extremely reasonable.”
    Again, I entirely understand if people find Silverman’s comedy offensive at times, but this sounds more like a veiled anti-union post than it does an anti-Silverman post.

  • Sarah Silverman is a Moron.

    About three weeks ago, I went to a seven dollar comedy night at a local bar in Brooklyn that featured “established” comedians who’d been on Comedy Central. There were about six of them, the first being a writer for Conan, who was the only good comedian, because the others didn’t have acts and simply filled the hipster crammed room with “F*ck yeah!” one liners and fart jokes. I thought I’d witnessed some of the worst standup ever.

    But then, the Queen of Bile herself, Sarah Silverman, walked in.

    After slamming the host for having an “unprofessional” microphone, she took out a note pad, and read off two or three lines – “I was raped by my doctor…good for a nice Jewish girl,” and “My niece is going through puberty so she has big tits and hair on her vagina”.

    The hipsters…half of whom were so drunk they’d probably laugh at anything….laughed like good little robots. Silverman then came right out and said, “Fuck, I guess you guys can tell I don’t even have any new material”. Then, she launched into stream of conciousness bile with nuggets of comedic orginality like, “I need to get waxed all the time ’cause’ I’m hairy” and “I love to sniff my boyfriend’s balls,” before imitating how she thinks a male friend of her’s masturbates.

    It was the worst live performance in any medium – music, comedy, theater, etc. I’ve ever witnessed…on the level of the most atrocious open mic night you can imagine.

    Silverman is a talentless joke. She has no respect for the audience, herself, or the craft of stand up comedy.

  • Huh? What’s moronic about what she’s doing or what she said? Only person coming out like a total douche in this post is beth…

    And since when is Sarah Silverman A-List?

  • Sarah Silverman is on my A list… what can I say? I know Beth hates her, and I respect that, but my standards are clearly lower. The only thing I don’t like about Silverman is her boyfriend.

  • By “the only thing I donÒ€ℒt like about Silverman is her boyfriend” you mean you’re pissed that Silverman has a boyfriend other than you, right?

  • Most Jewish boys love Sarah. Most Jewish women think she occasionally says something funny, but is mostly an adoration object for the aforementioned Jewish boys (who are also loving Natalie, btw, for different, still Semitic, reasons).

    Sarah gets props for hanging in there in a mostly male industry that’s not known for being particularly friendly to women and/or anyone with any self-respect or without a nascent drinking problem.

    I know enough people in this industry to know that although I occasionally like to be funny, I don’t have the constitution required to survive it. Women who do…are made of something much different.

  • The point is whether Ms Silverman’s intention in attending that strike is a serious one or not. From her exaggerated enunciation, gestures and seemingly deliberately chosen vocab akin to emphatic speech, I get the impression she’s not, and therefore I could well understand if Beth was under the same impression.

  • Most Jewish boys love Sarah? On what planet? She’s not a particularly attractive Jewish girl in the first place, and she’s not in the least bit funny.

  • Silverman’s physical appeal among males reaches way beyond Jewish boys (whether or not they’re, however, in fact, included I’ll leave for the two of you to continue to debate – although who knows to what end). And many are at least intrigued by a personality that’s at least willing to push the envelope – the (different) constitution mentioned by Esther is hardly a detriment. She’s had some comedic hits, although at fewer intervals and further between the bombast, but that’s a chance many of the truly original comedians have to take. She might not be all that, but I’d rather have the long interludes of her bombast between a couple of pointed jokes than the long strings of boring dreck cinematography coming from Ben Stiller, etc., etc. that fill the many spaces between when he and his gang can actually manage to be funny.

  • She is way overrated. Vulgarity is hardly pushing any envelope–it’s been done, since..hmmm..maybe forever? And I certainly think oldies like Joan Rivers and Carol Burnett had a harder time keeping up with the men. Take Sarah’s jokes and have them come out of the mouth of someone who looks like Roseanne Barr–it would be just gross, and no one would pay any attention. In fact, give her a few years and she won’t have an act because w/o her youth it becomes pitiful.

    I don’t see any real cleverness in her comedy, no sophistication. So if it’s shock value and dirty talk–well, almost anyone can do that, so I’d just as well eavesdrop on some 12 year old boys.

    Now those guys will have you ROFL(your)AO. I highly recommend it. πŸ™‚

  • As long as the mainstream Puritanical attitudes first seriously challenged by Lenny Bruce (hardly forever in the long view of American history) remain such a strong part of American culture then vulgarity will always be pushing the envelope. And we will continue not knowing how to avoid confusing the honesty that is possible because of it from immaturity until then.

  • I wrote about vulgarity actually with a much longer view in mind–“forever” meaning the ancient world. That’s really getting OT–but my point is, vulgarity and its shock value is hardly innovative, and thinking that Sarah Silverman is breaking new ground with her daring “openess” is wrong.

    Guys getting titillated by a cute girl who talks dirty and jokes? That’s not news, it’s as old as the hills. And it’s not comedic genius, either.

  • Giyoret, I get the impression that men are seriously ignorant of those pseudo-naive, ach-so-refreshing stunts women can pull off: simple vocab, eyes wide open in amazement, nibbling on the bottom lip, hints of pouting, “innocent” sleaziness, pretending we think you’re funny, and oh-you’re-so-my-hero-for-fastening-that-screw are just tools women can deliberately use to manipulate men.

  • I was not aware that Puritans founded the ancient world, that Lenny Bruce was a cute girl titillating the guys, or that his or other male comedians’ vulgarity were just a way to manipulate men. But thanks for the corrections!

  • (“Pretending we think you’re funny”…lol..low blow, but very funny, Sarah! We shouldn’t tell them all our secrets, though…)


  • Ladies, your perpetuation of a double standard here provides for a very touching “You Go Girl”, moment, I understand. But in the meantime, Silverman’s laughing all the way to the bank. That would be the same bank that Eddy Murphy, George Carlin, Chris Rock and all those other supposed female sex symbols with incidentally foul mouths cashed in at.

  • montana, I’ve never understood the attraction of Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock (no idea who George Carlin is; maybe he isn’t known in Europe yet). There are comedians / comedy shows though (e.g. the original British version of ‘Coupling’) that can be naughty and funny without turning vulgar. I’ll admit that everybody’s got a different take on humour, but the worrisome thing is that ck and I have determined that we share most likes re: comedy, but I just can’t bring myself to find Ms Silverman funny. She’s cute to the eye, not in a beautiful-grown-woman way though (as if men knew thew difference…), but enjoy it as long as you may. In the meantime, I’ll be drooling over the voice of Jack Davenport.

  • errr, what’s with all this ‘men are too stupid to see anything but boobs and miss all subtleties’ thing going on in this conversation? Can’t you gals just let muffti fasten a few screws so we can all get along?

    c’mon, pretend to laugh!

  • Ha! George Carlin is a sex symbol like Sarah Silverman is an A-List celebrity.

  • I just want to defend Beth from Ofri who wrote “total douche in this post is bethÒ€¦”

    There is no point is posting here just to call names to the posters.

    beth’s post is fine. It is Sarah Silverman and you who need help in expressing yourselves intelligently.

  • George Carlin may not be sexy but along with Lenny Bruce he is one of the most influential comedians of his era, using vulgarity to point to the irrationalities and hypocrisy of contemporary society. Google all that Sarah…

  • Uhm… Lauren? Beth is smart, totally hot and married. I don’t know much about you but I do know that you’re ignorant, superficial and pretentious as fuck! Now that’s what I would call a “definitive proof.” Quod erat demonstrandum indeed!

  • I’ll agree with Muffti on not taking this too serious, but I’ll in all seriousness agree with Rabbi Yonah that insulting Beth is way out-of-line. I’ll even go as far as claiming that an apology to Beth would be expectable.

    ck, shall I google the entire comment? πŸ™‚ As for reading on American Jewish comedians, I can recommend Lawrence J. Epstein’s ‘The Haunted Smile’. I’d comment more on the theory of Jewish humour, but I’m off to teaching another class in a bit, so I’ll leave it at that and will email you later..

  • Yonah, give me a break. You defend Beth, I defend Sarah Silverman. Neither one of them needs defending from either one of us. Moron is no less a name than douche, and it is no more intelligent a way to express oneself. Sure, she didn’t say anything to me, but then again I didn’t say anything to you and here you are deriding me in your own milquetoast way. We could just go in circles with this all day. Why so serious?

    If Beth is so grievously hurt, I’m sorry. It was totally douchy of me.

  • I saw Muffti, boobs, and screw. I’m a little distracted at the moment. But yes, yes, yes, Muffti, I promise I will laugh at any and all your jokes, just….

    Uh, what were we talking about? This is too much for a Monday morning.

  • Ok, I’m back, and just read m_u_l post. Dude, I was not talking about Puritans, I was talking about the Romans. And as for the rest, I was talking about Sarah Silverman. YOU were talking about Puritans and Lenny Bruce, I was not referencing them. I didn’t correct anything you wrote, you totally jumped all over what I wrote and made it about you. You might want to stop that.

  • We interrupt this program to bring you this urgent news bulletin……………..

    Israel is being sold down the drain at Annapolis by the United States and Israel’s own leaders.

    Sorry, why are we here? Wake up, Yidden! πŸ™

  • Israel is being sold is not news. Bill Clinton started that long ago and I imagine that Hilary will too.

    Bush is buying a larger plot in hell it seems.

    And where are the CHRISTIANS THAT SUPPORT ISRAEL (we thought – or do they?)

    And take that Walt and Shmearsheimer – if Israel controlled DC then there would be no conference. Or would there be?

    Are American Jews just lackies for Israel.

    I don’t think so.

    Sarah Silverman submit your resignation immediately you are not funny.

  • fl who posted comment #2 suggests on her blog that this post is anti-women because somebody compared Silverman unfavorably to Lenny Bruce.

    Here is Silverman at her best.

    She’s not funny. She’s not political. She’s vulgar without any reason for the vulgarity. I’d say this post isn’t anti-women but anti-not-funny-comedians.

  • Oh, please. SS stinks. She’s lucky she has a job and that she’s achieved fame and fortune. That’s all there really is to say. Anti-woman is something else entirely.

  • Since of the two individuals taking issue w/what i’ve said on the thread, at least Sarah admits to not knowing much about comedy in America, I would remind Giyoret that we are still talking about Sarah Silverman, who is an AMERICAN comedian, whose acts are topical to AMERICAN culture and relevant for American audiences, and for whom criticism must be cognizant of such facts, and not necessarily of those that are pertinent to the ancient world or your broader points, etc., etc., etc. That is not making the thread about me but making it about the actual topic of the post – an American comedian. To argue otherwise implies difficulty understanding how to read threads or how to follow the background information that goes into them. You might want to stop doing that.

    Also, thanks to ck for reminding everyone, especially those unfamiliar with the importance of George Carlin, of understanding the significance of comedians unafraid to push the envelope of vulgarity when it comes to American satire. This point stands regardless of whether one finds Silverman funny, which is a matter of taste and not therefore as easily given to debate. I understand that the fact that she’s a woman doing that seems to irk some and further complicate matters, but that’s not my issue. And for everyone still interested in following the relevance of Silverman or vulgarity in general to American comedy, I realize that I’d forgotten one other extremely important example – that true vulgarian Richard Pryor. Nope. Nothing new he brought to the foray. Just ask every American comedian how influential he wasn’t, including “nice guy” Jerry Seinfeld. Oops, I’m being sarcastic again. I have to remember to stop doing that – lest someone not get the point. Which might be easier to drop now that seven comments had built up between this one and #30, but the argument in the latter just was too weak to go unchallenged. As for the rest of you, resume your merriment!

  • Yes indeed, MUL. That was real envelope pushing by Silverman, the way she talked about Pam Anderson waxing and bleaching her asshole. Yup, I also thought she was really pushing the envelope when she talked about Kimmel’s balls – testicles, not baseballs – resting on Adam Carolla’s chin. I mean, this was society-shattering stuff and not the kind of material I would find in tabloids or Internet chat forums on a regular basis.

    Silverman’s a true original! Never before have women been this vulgar, so this should break that glass ceiling for all those struggling female executives. From now on, men will know that women can talk dirty just like men or discuss women’s body parts with the same vulgarity as the most vulgar men. They can do this without having three beers first as Silverman shows us. Wow!

    Or is she giving us a sophisticated commentary of the pornographication – or is that pornographicization – of mainstream culture? Sure, that’s what that video showed, a really sophisticated series of jokes about the banality of sexual references in our society. As I write, somebody must be writing a dissertation on the brilliance of this comedian. It’s great she’s Jewish, too, because we can all take pride! Now, if only she was funny.

  • I understand that extended sarcasm makes you think you’re funny, but for those wishing to make an actual point, the only other reasons given for her success were not all that serious. and neither is your essay. just because you think vulgarity is banal, doesn’t mean that Pryor’s/Carlin’s/Murphy’s/Rock’s, etc., etc., etc., audience has to agree. and it doesn’t explain why many of the hugely successful comedians “clean” enough to merit your seal of approval still proclaim them as incredibly strong influences. that you belittle Silverman for the fact that she’s a woman doing the same thing DOESN’T mean that it still isn’t an innovation – as uncreative an innovation as YOU find it.

    Look, you can decry vulgarity all you want. And you can decry an extremely simple analysis on the use of vulgarity in American comedy as only so much sophistry all you want. but when the next generation of Silvermans comes along with just as much (or more) vulgarity and a little more talent and reknown, the way Murphy did after Pryor or Bruce before him, then your sarcastic proclamations might make your preferences feel just as self-righteous to you, but with the strong possibility that less people will take them as seriously as they might today.

  • MUL, we weren’t talking about me being funny, we were talking about Silverman being funny, which she is not. She’s also not saying anything substantive or pointing out anything about women. This isn’t an issue of cleanliness or even of vulgarity but rather a question of the point of the vulgarity. I don’t see anything substantial in her comedy. Since you find her scintillating and provocative, maybe you can enlighten me as to her genius.

  • Hello, Urban Legend.

    (Giyoret, citizen of the world, lounges lazily under a fig tree, reclining on a cushion, eating grapes and contemplating life.)

    I apologize for taking the idea of satire out of the context of America. I did not know there were such boundaries to respect. Given the fact that the Jewlicious readership extends all over the globe, and that most commenters are more intelligent than the average Joe, I did not feel it was inappropriate to frame this in a broader context. Mentioning the bawdy satires of the Greeks and Romans in passing, without derailing the topic, was meant to serve as an example that this type of humor is not, in fact, innovative. And people have been shocked at it for millennia; the Victorians and the Puritans didn’t invent that either. It was all by way of discussion, and I didn’t direct anything towards you until you directed somehting towards me.

    I am blessed with an equanimous nature, so I will simply wave my hand at you from under my tree and wish you well. (And I shall wait to see if an attractive and interesting *philosopher* strays past these secluded parts, and might entertain me with his, um, lofty thoughts.)

    “Don’t come a-knockin’ if the sukkah is a-rockin’..” πŸ™‚

  • I just wrote something much more eloquent but the website ate it up as it was nearing completion. Here’s my best attempt to re-capture…

    I don’t personally find anything about her scintillating (nor do I remember saying as much), and again, whether or not ANYONE finds her funny or not is a matter of taste. But whether or not she herself is pointing out anything about women (she certainly doesn’t seem to be going out of her way to do so) doesn’t change the fact that pretty much all of her detractors on this thread made reference to that fact as if it was the point. Silverman didn’t make it one. Whether or not people find what Silverman says objectionable today seems to have less to do with what a comedian can say than it does with what a woman can say. And if we can agree (as you seem to) that a more-socially-critical-and-more-intelligent-but-just-as-vulgar version of Silverman in the future will be just as acceptable to either of us, that won’t stop that person from saying that her predecessor was influential, as such seems to have been the aforementioned trend in comedy – even if with a one step forward, two steps back pattern – among all the others. And like before, it won’t make those previous exhibits of vulgarity any more objectionable later on.

    In a way I can kind of sympathize with where you’re coming from because I probably felt the same way about The Jerky Boys or Andrew Dice Clay when they became popular. But later I realized that they weren’t so much a problem as was the perception of what they (rightly or wrongly) saw themselves as a reaction against. I don’t think U.S. society is any worse for going through its Jerky Boys or Andrew Dice Clay phase – although I might have at the time. Or will be for going through its Sarah Silverman phase. But it doesn’t mean we can just wish these phases away. It just means that growing up is not the prettiest of processes.

    Giyoret – I wish the best of luck to you under your fig tree. (Or sukkah as the case may be). Your points about about the Greeks and Romans are well taken. Hopefully one day the Puritans who are still the more influential party in the States will take a cue from that lesson and realize that suppressing a willingness to be shocked sometimes comes at the cost of suppressing the need to say things that, while shocking, might still need to be said. Even if most of us don’t understand why we should need to hear them at that moment.

  • Andrew Dice Clay has a stupider and even more vulgar act than Silverman. If he had made a joke about Pam Anderson’s asshole being waxed and bleached, my reaction would be the same as to Silverman making the joke. In other words, this is not about her being a woman but about her pointless vulgarity having little to do with funny. She is not breaking new ground here.

  • Growing up the son of working class Holocaust survivors in suburban New Jersey, a boy who admired/desired the rich Jewish girls of my youth, I love the way in which she parodies the JAP and embraces the ethos at the same time. When I hear a joke (from her tv show) that goes something like, “Interrupting a Jewish girl going to the bathroom is like denying the Holocaust,” I guffaw in recognition of the spoilt, priviliged holier than thou attitude I witnessed as a kid–and yes, I still adored girls who felt special like that. If you don’t get the joke or find it tasteless, I understand–people have different senses of humor–but I identify with Silverman’s brand of humor and am glad it has found its way on tv, while a show with non-Jewish Jews like Seinfield, always seemed to be about someone else….

  • TM: Thanks for the link to Sarah Silverman performing at the Pam Anderson Celebrity Roast! I thought it was quite amusing.

    Now lets talk about vulgarity. You seem to have focused a lot in your comments on the issue of bum waxing and bleaching. The funny thing is that all across America, anal bleaching (which requires bum waxing first) is all the rage! It’s not just for porn stars and strippers anymore. It’s yet another thing women do to themselves, along with labia trimming and other stuff, to make themselves look a certain way – to conform to society’s expectations of what they (and their buttholes) ought to look like. And men do it too. Never mind that the active ingredient is a known carcinogen banned in France and the UK…

    So all over America, toddlers are wearing thongs, junior high girls are dispensing blowjobs on the school bus, children are being sexualized and sexually abused, people are cheating on their spouses, women who’ve only had 4 sex partners feel like they’re missing out, a new drug resistant strain of syphilis is spreading out of San Francisco, everyone’s fucking everything and yet parents won’t let their kids watch a man and a woman getting frisky on TV but they’ll let them watch 50 people get killed. When Sarah Silverman shocks people’s sensibilities with her vulgarity, I laugh because it really, really shows how hypocritical America is with it’s surface puritanism and it’s below the surface incessant obsession with booty.

    Sarah Silverman makes me think of stuff like that. And she makes me laugh. But I recognize that comedy is subjective and y’all are entitled to your opinions, just as I am entitled to mine.

  • Uhmm, a 28-year-old peach isn’t exactly the most enchanting thing that comes to mind πŸ˜‰

  • ck, that was beautiful. You’ve convinced me that vulgar jokes about tuches bleaching and waxing are a form of social critique. Silverman should hire you to do some PR.

    Now excuse me while I try to purge my little naive mind of some of these images that I would never think about or consider were it not for Silverman and the magic of Youtube. As Silverman herself points out – in her brilliant social criticism, of course – most of us out here connect Anderson’s fame to her breasts, not her ass. I have to regain my focus.

  • TM, I can’t avoid impression that not even both our charms combined would make ck feel different about this issue πŸ˜‰

  • I guess I’m confused as to how the nether regions, of THE co-star of the infamous Pam and Tommy Lee sex tape, suddenly became unmentionables in public. The public honor of you-know-who’s fill-in-the-blank hardly seems worth defending, but I digress. In this sense, I really don’t think that what Silverman does is all that different from what Kathy Griffith does, she’s just less verbose. And I’ll have to thank ck once again for articulating all the points that I think are related to this, or at least articulating them better than I felt like I could have during work hours.

    In any event, lest we think an invisible line can be drawn between the bunch of hooha we make over this body part as opposed to that body part, let’s remember that with all the public fetishization that occurred over (someone’s) breasts, why should we have ever assumed it would have stopped there? And as for the surgical implications regarding this insanity, an episode of Dr. 90210 should clear up any lingering delusions when it comes to acknowledging the sad, surgical extent of the phenomena that ck mentions.

    Jewlicious is a cool site, but is now a two-time offender for eating up posts-in-waiting. ;-(

  • TM! Why just last week you and I discussed anal bleaching. I mean come on, to whatever extent Silverman is popular, how much of that can be attributed to the disconnect between how she looks and sounds (wholesome, girl next door) and what she says. Isn’t that kind of what America is like? Wasn’t that the focus of much of our great comedy? Exposing hypocrisy? Bruce, Carlin, Pryor? Doesn’t any of this seem plausible? Richard Pryor made vulgar jokes about niggers in order to show the persistence of racism, George Carlin used vulgarity to demonstrate the stupidity of censorship. Lenny Bruce got arrested for indecency. I think any episode of COPS is far more indecent than Sarah Silverman for what it does to your brain cells.

    MUL – I’ll fix that problem, sorry. I suggest you use FireFox, it never eats posts.

  • TM! You obviously never saw the infamous and widely disseminated (err..) video of Pam Anderson in flagrante delicto with Tommy Lee. We got to see a lot more than just her boobies.

    Just sayin…

  • I’m curious as to what TM would think of Lisa Lampanelli vis-a-vis comedic talent – who’s linked to the Silverman video. If lack of intelligence/humor is where he takes issue with Silverman, it’d be hard to say that someone as vulgar as Lampanelli can’t be uproariously funny – or at least as appealing as Murphy was. And yes, it’s hard to see why the vulgarity in American humor is somehow worse than the rampant hypocrisy in this country – when we just had a senator, who made a career out of sponsoring anti-gay legislation – convicted for soliciting sex w/a guy in the next stall in the airport men’s room.

    Clearly the cognitive dissonance bred by all the hypocrisy in this country, by encouraging such a disconnect between achieving an honest understanding of what people really want and what they are afraid of not proclaiming in public is more damaging – at least when one looks at how badly it f’s up the political process. At some point people should use their brains to encourage all of us to be more honest w/at least ourselves first, and then with others. But that’s just my opinion.

  • Sorry – the senator was arrested, not convicted, for /allegedly/… yada yada yada. Or at least not yet. Everyone’s got their rights in America.

  • I’m listening, guys, so explain it to me. We have established that SS is vulgar and a comedian. You have also mentioned other comedians who used vulgarity to make social statements. Fill me in on her message. I am obviously missing it. See, I think she stops before she ever gets to meaning; she goes no further than, in simple terms, talking dirty. The fact that her subjects are socially topical does not give them weight as social commentary. I think that the other comedians you mentioned are different in that respect.

    And on a related topic, I am wondering when the “America as publicly sexually repressed and privately completely sexually obsessed” idea is going to run out of gas. (“In *Europe* they show boobies in magazines and on the beach! They’re so HONEST and NATURAL! Just TRY to find the hypocrite in **Sweden** who thinks sex should be restrained in any way!”) Once and for all, I wish someone would tell me WHERE on this planet these sexually balanced, un-hung-up societies are located. The ones who are doing it right. Seriously, tell me what society that is–and not just examples here and there of topless beaches and legal prostitution.

    You all seem to have a lot to say, and I don’t mean that sarcastically.

  • Lisa is funny. She’s funnier than Silverman.

    Okay, that seemed at least to be addressing some social issues.

    This one, from the same roast, didn’t seem that different from Silverman. Maybe less angry and direct. I didn’t see any social commentary in there. She seemed to be trying to be funny, if in a vulgar setting and way. She is funnier than Silverman, to my taste, but still not much of a social commentator.

    I just don’t see the depth y’all are seeing.

    Montana, I’m not the one who mentions the asshole for effect, Silverman does. She does it not because it’s mentionable or appears in videos that Anderson may not have sought to have distributed all over the world. She does it because she is trying to elicit a laugh by referring to a body part that in polite company one would normally not mention. Isn’t that what you guys are saying? If I understand ck and your appreciation of her routine, it’s that she openly states things that make us see what we think but don’t say which is the reason we – that is, those of us who supposedly think about assholes being bleached and waxed but never discuss it publicly – are supposedly dishonest and hypocritical.

    So Silverman stands in front of a woman who is a sex symbol and cuts her down to size by discussing her asshole. She could talk about Pamela’s “behind” or “tuches” or “butt” but she uses “asshole” to diminish sensuality and bring up a negative connotation to the body part and the body part’s owner. Wow, that is just genius! Then again, maybe it’s not genius and it’s not funny and it’s not social commentary. Maybe it’s so obvious and unsubtle that it’s nothing but a woman trying to make the argument that the attractive woman is not that attractive. Or maybe she thinks that if she uses really foul language or foul references to sexual organs, some in the audience will be so surprised that she’ll generate laughs. It reminds me of a child trying to shock his friends by using words that could get him in trouble with the adults. It causes embarrassed tittering for most kids, and maybe educates the naive kid who hasn’t been exposed to this language before, but it is nothing more than childish noise and has no greater meaning.

  • TM, I’m really trying to think of what would be the best response to all these questions you bring up, but I can’t think of how else to do it other than emphasizing the same points ck reminds us of – the utter hypocrisy bred by the whole idea of “not mention(ing)” something, of this obsession with certain things (what things? should we make a list?) being beyond being mentioned. I understand that you buy into this idea of some things being better off if they weren’t mentioned, or if they could be justified by good humor, or more cutting satire, I’m just not sure why. I don’t find Silverman as funny as Lampanelli either, but I am not as bothered by her as you seem to be. Surely someone would not be inspired to write all these paragraphs you do simply because someone is not their cup of tea. What is it really that bothers you so?

    As for the problem with hypocrisy, the hypocrisy of certain things not being acknowledged, not discussed, yet secretly obsessed over, you seem to have acknowledged the power and pervasive nature of this problem earlier. I’m not sure why you’re changing course now, especially when, if anything, we’ve pointed out even more prominent examples of the destruction of psychological censorship.

    What I think is ironic, since every now and then I find something in your questions that I think I could possibly relate to and explore – you say that Silverman uses words about Anderson that demean sexuality in general. But I guess that would mean that you think her pornographic real-life sex tape that are referenced by those words didn’t already do the job, though?! Now that would be funny.

    Giyoret, I’m pleased that your pointing out our verbosity implies that there’s something important to be said, but I’m really not sure how to explain the hypocrisy of sexual obsession/sexual repression in America any more than has been tried. If I come up with a better explanation, I’ll give it a go, but don’t take that to mean that I’m brushing you off. It just seems like a true challenge because to me (and I’m assuming I’m far from the only one) the issue seems obvious as daylight.

    “The power of authority is never more subtle and effective than when it produces a psychological ‘atmosphere’ or ‘climate’ favourable to the life of certain modes of belief, unfavourable, and even fatal, to the life of others.”

    Arthur Balfour

  • Montana, why not write all these paragraphs when the topic is the scintillating asshole of Pamela Anderson? Man oh man, saying “asshole” was so liberating.

    So now you’re saying that since Pamela Anderson was exposed in a sex tape, that she is already demeaned and referring to her asshole isn’t demeaning. If I get this logic, being captured on video in a sex act is demeaning. Is it the sex act that’s demeaning? I thought sex was a natural activity that only hypocrites disdain and people like Silverman exist in order to point out this hypocrisy.

    The other possible version of what you said is that being captured on video having sex is – demeaning or not – sufficient exposure that Silverman calling out Anderson’s poop chute (I feel liberated from my hypocrisy!) is nothing special. So then, if it’s just another day talking about testicles on the chin and bleached assholes, what is so special about Silverman’s comedy?

    Let’s stop going around in circles. You may disagree, but my opinion is that Silverman isn’t funny. Her crude humor is banal and contains no remarkable or even useful social function or meaning beyond enabling her to make a nice living.

  • Sarah takes chances; some of them pay off, and some of them don’t, but even babe Ruth struck out plenty. I really respect her as a talent, and there is often a lot thought behind her jokes that don’t work. She certainly isn’t a moron, and I can’t believe you felt comfortable writing that.

  • I’m from Europe, over here we are used to public displays of nudity, still I don’t feel that vulgarity can be equalled to social criticism. If people wanted social criticism, they’d go for just that and not a cutish “girl” (turning 37 on Saturday..) using vulgar vocab to rise a few laughs.

  • Right, the sex tape was, uh… romantic! Well, at least as romantic as was “asshole” – a term which, again, doesn’t seem to have been my focus. And again with “scintillating”. Let’s keep a consistent standard, shall we? Either it’s all good, or some terms/actions are more elegant than others. As it stands, I’m only responding to your (as in, not mine) premises. That such distinctions are sacrosanct. Except when you decide to change it around – as if my responses within the context of your sense of categorization somehow obviates my (own) lack of a need for one. What awful logic indeed. But perhaps perceptions are everything. And who owns them. As it stands, I don’t see Anderson complaining.

    You’re obviously right that this can continue going in circles. Especially when you keep repeating these veiled straw men about me finding Silverman especially funny when I said no such thing. I could have let you have the last word, but the fallacies do get a little personal when you keep reading past what I’ve said, only to NOW decide to agree on disagreements re: humor being not worth debating. Which I’ve said all along. But I’m glad you at least got to that point – of clarifying the same opinion you first voiced many posts ago – except minus the sense of justification that it never required in the first place. It gives us the freedom to not debate the undebate-able as well as you the freedom to not like Silverman for what she seems to be free to make a good living at.

  • I’m curious if Sarah could tell me how many politicians in Europe get nabbed for soliciting the same gay sex in bathrooms that they publicly claim to be an abomination?

    The thing about context is that you can’t be selective about applying it. If vulgarity is not a part of social criticism /there/ I don’t see why it is such a leap to conclude that it has to do with personal displays being more acceptable publicly. It’s not a good idea to go half-way with an analogy and say that an idea should be regarded in the same way while simultaneously neglecting the precise difference in environments in which that idea has meaning.

  • Also, I’m noticing my comments are awaiting moderation at some points and not at others. Is someone (an ostensible debate partner, perhaps?) holding my comments until a quick(!) response can be suddenly generated to them, while other administrators might not be? Just wondering, is all. It seemed kind of odd. I’m not being paranoid, just observing…

  • montana, it’s not so sophisticated πŸ˜‰ It more or less depends on certain words used (ask ck about the specifics…)

  • Give me a break. No one has a problem with Sarah Silverman’s vulgarity or the fact that she’s a woman instead of a man making vulgar remarks. They’re just not funny, nor are they satirical. She’s a yawner. If her last name were O’Connell instead of Silverman, none of you would pay any attention to her, but because she has a Jewish last name, she’s supposed to represent some great cultural movement. Bleah.

    If you want to talk funny Jewish comedians, I’m putting my money on Jon Stewart before Sarah Silverman.

  • montana, you also need to consider that within the fifty European states there are wide differences in mindset. E.g. the very poltician one of my buddies hooked up with during a national convention of his party located at a city nearby after that politician had made contact with him on online (big deal…) was beaten up at protest rallies for gay rights in Moscow and Warsaw, still, sexuality as such is nothing people get hyped about in Poland and Russia even tough hostility towards homosexuals is still strong in both countries. It takes more than mere below-the-belt jokes to be a critic of one’s society; political cabaret is still a big thing over here, yet the most successful cabaret artists aren’t vulgar to bring their point across. Those that try to include vulgarity in their shtick usually are anything but imaginative and, if at all, get the laughs from that kind of audience no cabaret artist would hope for having. The story of the cabaret also is the story of (more recent) Jewish humour in Europe as it were Jewish comedians that formed the first cabarets, but their means of social criticism were wit and subtlety – even during the more uptight times of the 1950s and 1960s – , occasionally with a frivolous twist, but blunt vulgarity has always been short-lived over here. My great-grandmother was an actress on stage and into cabaret as a young woman; she was witty and wise, but I can well imagine what she’d have to say about any of the vulgar comedy mentioned above: “Ach, Dreck…”

  • i didn’t read all the comments cuz then i would be a blogger, but i have to say, I don’t understand why people are hating on mz Silverman. “Jesus is Magic”. is pure genius. Its perfect post-modernism. it’s like she is makin fun of a medium, the audience and the material at the same time and I think her delivery allows her to pull it off and seem stupid, just like the other comedians that spit racist jokes, all while being covertly cerebral and awesome!

  • I personally don’t find Jon Stewart all that funny at all and half-wonder if those that do either think the political satire he can’t even manage to pull off with a straight face is just the cat’s pajamas b/c it fits spot on into (and within the narrow boundaries of) their own political worldviews or are responding just as much to the fact that they find HIM attractive – which is a sentiment expressed just as commonly among women as the same is expressed among men toward Silverman. Stephen Colbert is much more intelligent – but then again, I tend to prefer that when a comedian expose hypocrisy and double standards sarcastically that they can actually do it while, like, at least attempting to remain in character. It makes the act much more believable and actually makes you feel that they really, fully thought through the inanities of the mindset that they’re trying to expose. Americans seem to have not realized the potential of perfecting this approach until Sacha Baron Cohen broke onto the scene.

    I honestly find the amount of text people have devoted to WHY they don’t like Silverman kind of funny, as if the sentiment really is no longer about her not being funny so much as her making these people uncomfortable in a way. There’s no way I could see myself spending as much text arguing why I don’t think so-and-so is NOT funny. I would have just stated it, and only given a short reason to the extent I thought one was meaningful, and left everyone to enjoy their own visions of talentless chicanery unfettered.

  • THere are presentations done in good taste and there are those that are not. Why she had to do it that way is her choice.