Sarah Silverman Made a Bad Career Move by Attempting to be Funny While in Possession of a Vagina
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Sarah Silverman Made a Bad Career Move by Attempting to be Funny While in Possession of a Vagina

By Courtney Enlow | Miscellaneous | November 21, 2013 | Comments ()


I need to just create a standard template and use it everytime another one of these stories comes along. It would save a lot of time. Do you even know how many Pinterest projects I could have finished in the time I’ve spent writing “dumb fuck said another dumb fuck thing about them damn womenfolk”? I COULD HAVE CREATED A SECRET BOOK NOOK BY NOW.

Take it away, Variety’s Brian Lowry.

“Despite all manner of career-friendly gifts - from her looks to solid acting chops - she’s limited herself by appearing determined to prove she can be as dirty and distasteful as the boys.”

That’s the television critic version of someone saying “you’d be a lot prettier if you smiled more.” She’s gifted by not being a hideous troll and she’s ruining it by being impolite and indelicate, the craven fool!

“Comics often impress each other with that kind of bawdy fare (see “The Aristocrats”), but Silverman frequently seems to be playing more toward those peers and a loyal cadre of fans than a broader audience that’s apt to be turned off by the questionable stuff, which feels more about shock value than cleverness. And if she really think saying “c—t” repeatedly is a form of artistic expression, more power to her, but in commercial terms, indulging those impulses comes at a price.”

Not bawdiness! Anything but that!

“This isn’t meant to suggest that female comics can’t work blue…”

Could have fooled me.

“…The lament here is that in the wrong hands it can feel gratuitous or become a crutch, whereas unlike many of her contemporaries, Silverman has enough tools that she can and should do more.”

Except for no. This is who she is. This is who she’s always been. It’s what’s made her her, like her or not. To imply that she should change her persona to become more family-friendly and, dare I say, ladylike, is not only offensive but moronic. Hey, Jim Norton, you could be super funny, but you’re bald. Work on that.

Basically, everyone’s stupid. Let’s throw some fucking confetti.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Jezzer

    I absolutely adore Sarah Silverman. What people don't seem to get is that Sarah's standup persona is a character, a lampoon of a spoiled, upper middle class, totally unself-aware princess. Like Sascha Baron Cohen's Borat, she holds a mirror up to culture and reflects back the worst parts of it. And it makes people WAY more uncomfortable to hear these things coming from an adorable pixie than it does from a cynical, world weary male.

  • Devin McMusters

    "Attempting to be funny". Boom.

  • Robert Sanchez III

    I wonder what possessed this guy to write this article in the first place?

  • Giroux IA

    He's not a fan of mouthy broads.

  • Emm82

    I have to admit, i'm not a big fan of Sarah Silverman, but I haven't watched much either so I'd probably like her more if I'd seen more. But for the comment, i'm not a fan. however, i may not find her that funny but I'll bloody well defend her right to make the jokes until the end of time. Also, the woman can tell a rape joke like no other (shouldn't be admitting that really!)

  • Jifaner

    I enjoyed her voice work in Wreck-It Ralph but I just can't get behind her comedy. She is painfully unfunny to me, no matter what is between her legs.

  • Robert

    The cunt/diva song is amazing because it's intentionally ridiculous. I've never seen her finish a music video (even counting the weekly songs on The Sarah Silverman Program) where she shrugs, addresses the audience, and walks off. She's actually commenting on her reputation for being too dirty while commenting on media's obsession with canonizing total idiots for actually doing nasty thing on reality shows.

    NSFW, obviously.

  • carrie

    for me,she's not funny because she's unfunny (not because she has a vagina) and i only know her like the brunette woman in shorts on red carpet and tv show

  • Sean

    Funny, I thought the appeal of Silverman was that she used such language to make us think about society.

  • dr_zayaz

    “It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what." - Stephen Fry, exactly right.

  • Giroux IA

    Just because you're offended, doesn't make you right.

  • JJ

    "Silverman has enough tools that she can and should do more."

    No, pal, you've got the tool market on lockdown.

  • dizzylucy

    I'm sure he's picturing "lady" tools. Like these:
    Because when I built my back yard deck, it was important that my hammer be pretty, and "fun and comfortable".

  • e jerry powell

    Now I remember what this reminds me of!

    The late-eighties feud between Sandra Bernhard and the Village Voice's Laurie Stone!

    (That feud, if I remember correctly, involved both litigation and David Letterman.)

  • becks_

    Give more details on that feud. I missed it when it originally happened because I was pretty busy learning to read and mastering the whole fork and knife thing. I love pop culture scandals from before I was aware of Hollywood.

  • e jerry powell

    Actually it was more of a New York thing at the time, and it was mostly a thing at all because Sandra was doing her first Off-Broadway show at the Orpheum, which meant that she was on Letterman essentially at every opportunity. Laurie Stone had ripped her in a review for, in Sandra's words, "wanting to be more famous than [she] already [was]," among other things.

    Jonathan van Meter explains it better (the Stone stuff starts with the last paragraph on page one).

  • Giroux IA

    Yes, how dare a lady show such hubris as to draw so much attention to herself! ;)

  • becks_

    Thank you!

  • HerGuyWednesday

    Yep, clearly all Silverman cares about is being adored by everybody, which is why she's been very active in the current reproductive rights battle in Texas, and why she's been vocal against the gun lobby. She's trying so hard to be liked by everybody that she's willing to be hated by a huge chunk of society in order to be vocal regarding causes she believes in.

  • kasper

    Not only is it sexist, but just frigging stupid.

    Does the writer even consider that Sarah Silverman has the career she wants? That she would rather not trade who she is as a comedian for more popularity? That maybe she doesn't want to do shitty PG-13 movies?

    She is a pretty damn famous and successful comedian. Why should she change anything?

  • Giroux IA

    What the matter, you didn't like the broad appeal of Norbit?

  • Mrs. Julien

    That's true, but it does match with why the writer is suggesting she is not more conventionally successful.

  • kasper

    But why is more commercial success the goal?

    Lets look at her career...she is very successful as a standup (she sells out arenas), she had her own show for 3 seasons, she was in a very successful kids movie (Wreck It Ralph).

    I would venture to say that she has been more successful than 99.9% of comedians out there.

    I call the writer stupid because he makes the assumption that the most important thing is for her to obtain more commercial success, even at the expense of who she is and what she wants to say. Why? Why is that the goal?

    If you don't find her funny, I have no problem with that. Just about anyone could understand that the material doesn't appeal to everyone.

    But why should she need to? She has a point of view of her own. Why should she change it just to get more people to like her? Isn't there some value to being true to yourself?

  • HerGuyWednesday

    This is true. If you've read her autobiography or seen her drinking coffee with Seinfeld, you'd know that she's turned down plenty of roles that would have given her more exposure. I believe that she's being sincere when she says she would rather do things she believes in or enjoys than increase her fame and make more money.

    If her goal was to be universally adored, she certainly wouldn't currently be so active in Texas' battle for women's reproductive rights.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Silverman frequently seems to be playing more toward those peers and a loyal cadre of fans than a broader audience that’s apt to be turned off by the questionable stuff, which feels more about shock value than cleverness. And if she really think saying “c—t” repeatedly is a form of artistic expression, more power to her, but in commercial terms, indulging those impulses comes at a price.

    I think this is a spot on evaluation of her work. Spot. on. This issue, along with her more offensive material, is exactly why I don't like her and exactly why I don't think she's more successful. She either can't, or won't, get out of her own way. Now, whether these criticisms are being leveled at her because of her reproductive organs is a separate issue, and certainly clearly suggested by the writer's other sentiments. Comedy is a testosterone-drenched field and double-standards abound. Performers can do whatever they want, but that doesn't necessarily make it art or mean that they will find commercial success which, come on, is what they are all hoping for.

  • Giroux IA

    And Silverman has millions of fans and hundreds of contemporaries who consider her an artist. Also, her success is undeniable.

    The issue is a douche suggesting that toning it down, like a proper lady should, will give her broader appeal to all the arm chair moralists in this country. Male comedians are rarely judged in the same manner.

    Meanwhile, these same moralists are surfing free porn sites to watch angry buff men violate pretty young girls with all manor of objects.

  • OldSchool60

    I agree. Funny is funny. A good comedian will entertain you and make you laugh. With her, I always feel she's trying to impress us with her hipster shock "humor". She gets way more attention than she deserves.

  • Most comedians play only to their fans once they have been established. The ones that shift to a broader audience are seen as pedestrian and middle of the road sell outs. Silverman has always done blue comedy, it's who she is and obviously it works well enough that she doesn't care what anyone outside of that circle thinks of her, nor should she for that matter.

  • Three_nineteen

    The point (to me, at least) is that article isn't suggesting that the testosterone-drenched double standard
    is the problem. They are blaming Silverman for not playing into the
    double standard. It's the "of course construction workers cat-called
    her, look at what she's wearing" excuse.

    "I know people like Eddie
    Murphy, Chris Rock, and Louie C.K. are hugely successful in part BECAUSE they use shocking language, but Silverman should know she can't because she's a woman, so it's her fault" is total bullshit.

  • hoppergrass

    I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. Murphy, Rock, and Louie C.K. use language to shock you into paying attention to the point they're attempting to make; Silverman's language IS the point.

  • Three_nineteen

    I don't know enough about Silverman's comedy to make a judgement like that. But do you really think that about Eddie Murphy?

  • hoppergrass

    Eddie Murphy now? No way. But in his younger days, when he was first making a name in comedy, I do. And I think it's interesting to note that Eddie Murphy's most commercially successful films of the last decade were all family friendly.

  • Giroux IA

    So, what was Murphy's broader point with the whole 'Mr T. is ass raping someone' bit? Was that a political statement. Or just a crass cheap shot at homosexual culture back in the day when it was ok to do so?

    You give Murphy too much credit. A lot of his material was shock and little else. Interesting though, that he remade his image for the purpose of commercial appeal. Of course, I don't remember many people suggesting that he should tone it down like a proper gentleman should. The idea to sell out his artistic integrity appeared to be his own.

  • hoppergrass

    It was, without question, "a crass cheap shot at homosexual culture back in the day when it was ok to do so." I dislike Eddie Murphy quite a bit - both for his comedy and for his personality - and it isn't my intention to give him any credit at all. But in the case of the Mr. T bit, you could substitute any language you like and it would still be ugly, it would still have a viewpoint, however heinous. With Silverman, I think removing the salty language would basically gut the act.

  • seth

    Sarah Silverman isn't successful? That is a fairly misguided statement. Celebrity Net Worth suggests her net worth is ten million.

  • Mrs. Julien

    "More successful" and admittedly, I am using the model of TV show, movies, talk show etc. which is a stratospheric height few reach, but she has tried and had poor luck getting traction on those terms. Probably because she's a woman. Full circle.

  • JJ

    Again, based on your definition of success? Or that she should be striving for commercial success? She's had her own TV show, done lots of voice work (including Wreck-It Ralph), is a writer, producer, and successful comedienne. That's not poor traction.

    You don't like her work? Fine. But she's clearly doing her work the way that she wants to do it and IS being successful at it already on her terms.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I guess this is "progress" because, you know, at least the critic admits she's funny (see also, every argument that women aren't funny). Now if only she would behave like a lady!

  • Bob Genghis Khan

    It's because she's annoying. Not because she's an annoying woman.

  • GDI

    If anything, I don't she is a strong lead for any show (like her own program).
    She did a good job in her guest appearance on the League (although Goldblum stole the show, vinegar strokes and all).

    I do find Silverman to be gratuitous for the sake of it, not to prove any real point, or satire. She's not being witty nor funny with her "ironic" take on social taboos, she's just being a fucking hipster.
    Which is probably the underlying reason of why I can't stand her in extended doses.

  • I write off anyone who uses The Aristocrats as an example of how comedians are often crude. Find a more recent reference!

  • Mrs. Julien

    Really? We still say "Saget dirty".

  • Anthony Hoffman

    I could care less what kind of comedy she, her or anyone does. She's just not that funny to me as a stand up.

  • And that's appropriate. Comedy is subjective. Saying "You're not being the comedian I think you should be" is not appropriate.

  • JenVegas

    Courtney, you and I are made of the same flavor of rage. I like it.

  • Delicious, nougatty rage.

  • JenVegas

    mmmmmmh, nooougat gaaaah.

  • PDamian

    Enrobed with a dark chocolate coat of deepest contempt.

  • Coated in the peanuts of disdain?

  • bastich

    Topped with the brightly-colored candy sprinkles of scorn.

  • Bodhi

    I never see this stuff about Natasha Leggero, Rikki Lindhome, Kate Micucci, or any of the other comediennes out there. Are they just not famous enough?

  • I would argue that they are actually funny. Their blue is clever or silly while Silverman's seems pointless to me. Blue for blue's sake and "Is everyone looking at me now?!"

  • commanderfunky

    Yeah, how about Amy Shumer anyone? She doesn't get hate even though she's just as dirty as Silverman.

  • bonsi

    The same guy who criticized Silverman also criticized Schumer for the same reasons a while back.

  • Nicole_OCTV

    I feel like Natasha Leggero doesn't get this as much because she plays up her prettiness and her act, while awesome, is a little more girly and less raunchy than Silverman's. I think she's great, and hilarious, but she plays the funny snob angle more than the funny trashmouth. Also, she's just not as well known, so there's that.

    Lindhome and Micucci are just so adorable, and while their songs are completely blue and adult only, they're also so sweet sounding that it's like people aren't as taken aback by some of the things they say. And they are definitely not as well-known, outside of the comedy nerd world. I bet none of my friends would know who they are, unless I mentioned Scrubs or Raising Hope. (Incidentally, I will always associate Rikki Lindhome with one episode of Pushing Daisies where she was dressed as a sad flower at the launch of a new car - it was the first thing I noticed her in (her eyes!), and I still think of that when I see her.

  • Bodhi

    I think my husband would be very proud to hear that I too am now a comedy nerd. I wear the mantle with great pride ;-)

  • Sara_Tonin00


    Also: Micucci? Mi-COOCHIE? great name for a raunchy female comedian (whom I've never heard of)

  • Bodhi

    Check out Garfunkel & Oats, she is the little brunette & Rikki is the tall blonde :-)

  • Sara_Tonin00

    ah ha! Garfunkel & Oates I *have* heard of. Good stuff.

  • bastich

    I like your template idea. It could be like a "Misogyny Mad Libs"!

  • Sarah Weissman

    Repeating c*nt in itself isn't art, but I cracked up in the song's context. I love her stuff. I recommend her biography Bedwetters - practically singlehandedly it made me a huge fan. It's a great read.

  • Stu Rat

    I agree. Her vagina has NOTHING to do with why she's not funny.

  • Gistine

    I DETEST this broad. I have never, ever thought she was funny and her blasphemous Jesus is Magic or "I killed Jesus" makes me sick. Listen, I think anyone that would say such a thing about a person who just wanted to do good and died for it should be off limits. I mean, what if she said that about Buddha, Mohammed or even Xenu? Leave people's faith and spiritual leaders, (who or whatever they may be) out of it. And when completely disrespecting them, try not to REALLY take pleasure in it. Especially when their lives were taken so violently and unjustly There are other ways to kid religion, but she obviously didn't get the memo.

    *gets off soapbox*

  • Jezzer

    "Don't you dare make fun of my invisible sky giant! That's crossing a line!"

  • Nicole_OCTV

    Sorry, but due to freedom of speech, she can say whatever she wants. It's not up to her not to offend you, it's up to you not to listen to her. I get that you don't want to hear someone say things you don't like about a deity you admire, but then it's on you not to listen to it. You can't expect the world not to offend you; you have to be selective about your own entertainment choices.

  • Gistine

    You are absolutely correct. As soon as she said that, I promptly turned the channel and never looked nor listened to her since. Her resurgence is what made me speak up and since I found some people who agreed that she is unfunny, I chimed in as to why I feel she is not.

    I think one may poke fun at religion without being so vulgar. For example: Eddie Izzard KILLS me when he talks about "Jeezy Chreezy." George Carlin, amazing, though he toes the line with "should I be laughing at that?" Even Bill Maher was great in Religulous, but S.S., not so much.

  • Giroux IA

    "Hey, if you read history, you realize that God is one of the leading causes of death. Has been for thousands of years. Hindus, Muslims, Jews, Christians all taking turns killing each other 'cause God told them it was a good idea. The sword of God, the blood of the lamb, vengeance is mine. Millions of dead motherfuckers. Millions of dead motherfuckers all because they gave the wrong answer to the God question. 'You believe in God?' 'No.' Boom. Dead. 'You believe in God?' 'Yes.' 'You believe in my God? 'No.' Boom. Dead. 'My God has a bigger dick than your God!" -George Carlin

    The real question is, why do you read or hear Carlin pissing all over religion, using all manor of vulgarity to do so, as fine; however when Silverman does it, it's blasphemous? THAT, question gets the whole point of this article. The point that, somehow, it sounds dirtier and less socially palatable for some people, when the jokes are coming from a pretty lady.

  • commanderfunky

    I'm pretty sure George Carlin said, and I quote, "When it comes to BULLSHIT...BIG-TIME, MAJOR LEAGUE BULLSHIT... you have to stand IN AWE, IN AWE of the all time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims, religion." You know. Not so vulgar.

  • Dennis

    Freedom of speech doesn't mean that you can't get angry at what someone says. It just means you cannot stop them from saying it.

  • Gistine

    Right? I should have listened to the little voice that said "don't go there." Bona fide way to get a response: bring religious deities in the mix.

  • Nicole_OCTV

    Well, Gistine is talking about making certain subject areas off-limits - that's what I was referring to with my freedom of speech point. You can be as pissed as you want, but censorship isn't an option.

  • Gistine

    You know what, I take back, "off limits." That was not what I meant, entirely. I'm not saying people cannot say whatever they want. I am not certain I even inferred that, but if I did, let me be clear, it's just MY opinion of "Man! Did you have to go there?" I did add a caveat about kidding about religion tastefully, and that it is solely my opinion. What can I say? it still gets my goat.

  • Uh, really? Are...are you serious?

  • Gistine

    Yeah. I didn't like it. It just sealed the deal for me that she's unfunny. To each their own, right?

  • Some Guy

    Apparently you're new around here...

  • Here's the subtext: "if she wasn't so pretty I could see myself wanting to sleep with her, I wouldn't care about her act!"

    Because, let's face it, no one ever levied this charge at Roseanne Barr, Brett Butler, or Mo'nique. They could be as dirty, raunchy and bawdy as they liked. But you can't be pretty and foul-mouthed, it seems.

  • BlackRabbit

    Actually, I always thought Brett Butler was kinda pretty.

  • Yeah I did too. Hell, the blue act was part of the appeal.

    At least up to the point where I found out about how unfortunately messed up she really was.

  • e jerry powell

    Yeah. That was an onion that might have been best intact.

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