Sarah Silveman's Response To Sh*tty Ageism Jokes May Be The Best Thing She's Ever Done
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Sarah Silveman's Response To Sh*tty Ageism Jokes May Be The Best Thing She's Ever Done

By Joanna Robinson | Videos | September 16, 2013 | Comments ()


Everything is fair game at a Celebrity Roast, right? That’s the whole point. And it’s not just the subjects of the roast who are under attack, it’s the hosts as well. That’s. The. Whole. Point. So at the recent James Franco Roast, Jonah Hill’s weight was fair game. Aziz Ansari’s race was…uh…fair game. And, apparently, Sarah Silverman being a super old hag of a lady who should probably just give up and get a bunch of cats is fair game.

She’s 42 people. Anyway, here are some choice words Jonah Hill flung at Silverman:

Sarah is a role model for every little girl out there. I mean, every little girl dreams of being a 58-year-old single stand-up comedian with no romantic prospects on the horizon. They all dream of it, but Sarah did it…People say it’s too late for Sarah to become successful in movies at her age. I again do not agree. It’s not impossible. I mean it’s not like they’re asking you to bear children or anything like that.

So yeah, that’s a sh*tty, stupid thing to say. But as I mentioned, that’s the point of a roast. Everything is fair game. So what makes Sarah Silverman’s response so noteworthy? Let me preface this by saying I’ve had issues with Silverman’s comedy in the past. I’m not a huge fan of her racial humor. And I haven’t kept up with her stand-up routines so I can’t speak to the her statement that she no longer does that kind of humor. And she certainly seems to think gay jokes are fair game. But I can tell you I’m in love with her reaction here. Why? Because she doesn’t whine about how the ageist jokes were out of line. She admits to being hurt, but she said she would defend anyone’s right to hurt her. She’s both honestly vulnerable and tough in this segment. And I adore it.

Money quote on ageism, gender, Hollywood and The “Real” Housewives: “Your heartbreaking attempts to look younger is the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future.” Age is fair game, I guess, as is race, weight, sexuality, etc. But none of the males would be called out for their age, would they? But I guess, to paraphrase Sarah Silverman, (42, not 58) is crazy for even talking after no one wants to f*ck her anymore.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • joe smith

    When she was 'joking' about Joe Franklin raping her (this apparently hurt him greatly) , I don't remember people trotting out to defend his hurt feelings. Fuck her. She's an overrated hack who went on a roast and got burned. Suck it up.

  • kirbyjay

    Joan Rivers, Sarah Silverman? They dish it out but can't take it? Nonsense.
    It's ok for racist jokes, and homophobic jokes, and fat jokes and dumb jokes but poor wittle Sarah got offended over an age joke?
    My opinion of her just dropped through the floor. It's a joke Sarah, get over it.

    As for women who are not allowed to age in Hollywood, it's usually the ones that play off the sex appeal that can't get a job after 35. The ones that showcase talent, not boobs,, and there are many of them, have long rewarding careers.

  • okayflint

    Weird that people still consider 42 old...

  • Shan

    To use (modified slightly) what Simpson Snr said to Homer J:

    "I used to be with it, but then they changed what *it* was. Now what I'm
    with isn't *it*, and what's *it* seems weird and scary to me. [It happened to me and] It'll happen to you."

  • MichiganJack

    If I wasn't such a coward and a average mid-west CHUD, I would ask Sarah out on date to Bennigans: we could go dutch.

  • Emm82

    I know it's besides the point, but i can't get past it - Jonah Hill was at a roast? Why? That man couldn't be funny if the nitrous oxide was on!

  • Kat87

    I think it's great to defend someone's "right" to say anything, but I think it's greater as an individual to think about Why we would want to say things that injure others.

    OR we should think about why something is funny in the first place. Like jokes about Aziz being Indian. Yeah you have the right to laugh about it, but what does it say that you think it's funny? and by making the joke and trying to convince other people that there's comedy in the basic descriptors of a person, what are you supporting?

    Why is it funny to poke fun at certain things about a woman's age or sexual behavior that are SO blatantly sexist and primitive that you wouldn't otherwise support saying in everyday life? I'm not saying take away from people's right to say things... but.... in making our own choices it's really not that easy to toss off the responsibility with "it's just a joke". The fact that you pick those ideas to laugh at kind of says something about what you really believe.

  • ryallen

    I'm 17. I would go baaaaaaalllllllssss deep.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I am sure Ms. Silverman would be tremendously flattered to know that you find her sexually viable.

  • Salad_Is_Murder

    Wait a minute, something's amiss...did Rowles ghost-write this or did Joanna forget to log out at the office computer?

  • VohaulsRevenge

    At 42, I give her secret even odds of being either good genes, or spice melange.

  • John G.

    ALL the jokes about Aziz being Indian were so stupid. Aziz was kind to mock them as being from the 90's. Yeah, maybe the 1790's. They were absurd and ridiculous and nothing to do with Aziz Ansari, who was born in North Carolina.

    The Kanye jokes, though, were totally fair game, and Aziz's comeback that he only did one joke about it on his last album is absurd. Fully half of that stand up special is about Kanye and all the jokes are really about nothing except isn't it great that Aziz knows Kanye. Those critiques were spot-on.

  • e jerry powell

    Sarah Silverman is younger than me?

    Oh, I will be kicking some roast ass. Hide and watch.

    I assume that Joanna will not have any part of Anthony Jeselnik or Amy Schumer either. Three peas in the same comic pod.

  • JoannaRobinson


  • L.O.V.E.

    I would expect and can appreciate that on a personal level Silverman was hurt by those jokes.

    But she has no more right to be offended than a Quarterback has a right to be offended when a linebacker knocks him on his ass. She is not just a professional comedian who exchanged barbs. She knows the game and was an active participant. She's not the ball boy on the sidelines tangentially involved in the action.

    The thing is that she KNOWS that Hill is full of shit. She KNOWS that anyone up there has two options in roasting someone: 1) make up some BS characteristic about a person and dig them on it (as in, he is going to call this attractive woman an old hag; she is going to make jokes about Franco being gay) or 2) make a joke about her that really cuts to her core. (In this case, a joke about her relationship with Jimmy Kimmel would qualify, and it was the comedian on Bell's show that made that joke and the guy didn't have the guts to say it to her face or be present for her response). Now which one is going to hurt more?

    The reality is that Hill had to find something to make fun of her for, and he went with an easy target. Just like Silverman did with the fat jokes.

    I think she is being honest that even though they all know what the roast is about, it still hurts on some level. But there is a distinction between being hurt and blaming, and I think she is acknowledging that she was hurt by Jonah but not offended by what he did.

  • ted

    I'm serious. I really want to know this. Why aren't all jokes fair game? They're all just jokes, right? Sorry some folks sometimes feel badly... I try to pretend to care. But I just can't.

  • John G.

    There are some roast jokes that are about an individual person, their personality or behavior, and then there are roast jokes that attack not just you, but your role in society. The latter are the lazier joke, since you're not tailoring it toward your target, you're just repurposing a standard joke and throwing it at someone based on the fact that they are part of some subset of "x".

    It's lazy and unfunny and can be more offensive, because it's usually someone who doesn't suffer from some injustice in society pointing to the injustice and just laughing that they aren't a part of it.

  • Slash

    Yeah, I never watch those "roasts" because they're just not funny. I've never really thought insult humor was funny. I don't have a problem with being mean or saying insulting things about people, but putting it in the format of a joke means the subject of the "joking" has to pretend it's funny, even when it's not. So you can basically say anything in a "joke" context, you don't have to give it any more effort than a "yo mama's so fat" joke, and you expect to get credit for it.

    It's the most gutless kind of commentary. And the least intelligent. Usually, it's just age jokes, homo jokes or fat jokes. How very subversive.

  • Bodhi

    The fact that Jonah Hill was there makes me miss Greg Giraldo even more

  • Slash

    Yeah, this. Giraldo was one of the few who actually could do funny and mean at the same time.

    Now I has a sad remembering that dude. I wish he was still around to do a talk show. I'd watch an hour with him, no problem.

  • Nick DiPaolo is pretty good at that well. I always like seeing him on the bill for one of these.

  • Paddington

    Saying you would defend someone's right to be offensive is so hollow, I don't understand why it would lead to kudos from people. Really? How would you defend it? Going to march for it? Get beaten for it? Probably not. What she said was an out. You can't couch a complaint in a feminist critique and then say ".... but you have a right to say it" because the entire point is to dismantle the reasons for saying it or shaming people into changing. It is amazing how she gets a free pass on her racist humor because she's had a Bender Bending Rodriguez moment of self-interest but couldn't extend that sympathy when it didn't directly affect her.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Jonah Hill WISHES he had a chance with Sarah Silverman.

  • George Tarleton

    As do I.

  • Roast always go to extreme exaggerations, so extreme that they are obviously not true. They always take some bad stereotype and pretend like that person is it x1000. It becomes such a joke that it's really just making fun of bad stereotypes... But you know? How many black / jew / women / white / mexican etc jokes can they do with random "celebrities" hanging around?

    Maybe it's just time we, as humans, all just move on from roasts, you know?

  • Tinkerville

    Roasts make me physically uncomfortable, even if they're roasting someone I don't like or if it's all done "in good fun." I might be overly sensitive but such vicious humor makes me vicariously upset. :-/

  • Bert_McGurt

    Or retire the old, tired stereotype jokes.

  • yeah, but then lots of these non-comedians wouldn't have anything to talk about. Or... they'd have to resort to getting genuinely personal. But yeah, time to move on world.

  • mairimba

    Most people live till what? 80? 90 years? How the fuck is being half way through your life make you old? I've never understood this.

  • Guest

    The naked truth:

    "My crime is not dying."

  • emmalita

    This is why I love W. Kamau Bell. He is so scathingly funny, but thoughtful and human about his targets. I'm glad he's starting to get some real love.

  • Fredo

    I remember when she was doing "Greg the Bunny" in those ridiculously short skirts and showing her great legs out for all to see. I would then and I would now.

    But, you're right. It's a roast. Never take a thing said there seriously. They have to highlight the worst of you and make it 100 times worse.

  • apricot ashtray

    I couldn't stand her before but after this she's won me over.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I guess I would feel hurt by it. But I also feel that roasts are, as you say, an anything goes scenario. And not just "anything goes" - they are for the easiest, most stereotyped riffs. Hence the "Jews are accountants" "Franco is queer" "Aziz is brown" etc etc. Andy Samberg's set at the Franco roast was so weird and brilliant because he completely subverted it. Aziz Ansari did a great job calling it out, but Samberg just flat out upended it.

    For women the basics are ugly/fat/old/slut. Since Sarah dresses so young (and I don't blame her - I still do jersey shirts, jeans, converse myself as I approach 40) it makes sense that age would be what they nail her with.

    Sarah has gone so long being so lowest common denominator - often in funny ways - that all I can feel is a little glad that she might gain some personal insight into how the stereotypes not just hurt - but damage.

  • Bananapanda

    My issue (and I guess the 'line' crossed) was when Jonah went after Sarah's uterus. Basically he said she's old and can't have children anymore. That's really really mean.

  • John G.

    Why would that be across the line? She may not want to have children. It's only across the line if you think having children is something that validates you as a woman or something.

    The age thing is more annoying, because he's not just insulting her, he (a tiny little troll of a "man") is pointing out something that's totally unfair in the industry as a whole that punishes her and all women in a way that little self-important jonah hill (again, fat troll) will never be punished for.

  • kirbyjay

    Good Grief. And being black or gay is not being punished for who you are? She's made a career out of those kind of jokes and now she calls foul? Fuck her!

  • John G.

    that's a fair point. I wouldn't stand behind Sarah Silverman in all things, just in this one point against women and ageism.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    It's a roast. It's supposed to hurt. There's pretty much no non- or poorly-functioning body part off limits.

    Besides, the assumption that it is really mean is based on the assumption that being able to bear children is the primary indicator of a woman's worth.

  • Repo

    Nailed it. I like you.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Aw, thanks. I'll take self-esteem boosts anyway I can get 'em on a sleep-deprived Tuesday morning.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Samburg won me over big time with that bit.

  • lowercase_ryan

    The thought of Jonah Hill making fun of anyone, for any reason, appalls me. Their should be a person at every roast who is forced to wear a shirt that says "lowest rung" and you don't get to make fun of anyone, you just have to sit there and take it.

    Even Jeffrey Ross is more talented than you Jonah.

  • mairimba

    Jeffrey Ross? Really?

  • John G.

    There is literally nothing lower than Jeff Ross. Pond scum has more integrity, and I think is probably funnier.

  • Lee

    Wait... bottom tier comedians are supposed to have integrity? Is someone going to send that memo to Carlos Mencia?

  • John G.

    not having integrity is part of what makes them bottom tier comedians. Carlos Mencia has been defeated. Jeff Ross is still on television from time to time.

  • ryallen

    Jeff Ross is THE funniest of them all.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I may have taken that too far...

  • Or not far enough, really.

  • Mrs. Julien

    May have? Really?

  • Robert

    This reminds me of watching Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and being shocked by how deep a lot of the criticism about Joan Rivers actually cut her. Not once did she ask people to stop making jokes about her or change their material.

    A true comedian would never try to censor another comedian who isn't actually hurting anyone. But the jokes can signal greater issues that we just accept as a culture without thinking twice. No one is going to joke about John Hamm being older than dirt for being 42 years old, but Sarah Silverman being the same age is easy material guaranteed to get a laugh even from someone who needs a scripted monologue to be funny like Jonah Hill.

  • BWeaves

    Why is she wearing a cross?

  • Robert

    Because Jesus is Magic.

  • APOCooter

    42? Seriously?

    Whatever. I'd still totally fuck Sarah Silverman. Can I retroactively update my five freebies?

  • NateMan

    Too scrawny for my taste, but definitely a beautiful woman.

  • Zen

    She sure as hell doesn't look it; woman looks amazing. Sarah, you and your sister keep being Andy and Ollie, and I'll have no complaints.

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