Australia’s Starobserver.com.au posted this interview today:
SARAH’S ACHE FOR EQUALITY
by Nick Bond
“Whether you are gay or bisexual, it doesn’t matter. Because, at the end of the day, they’re both gross.”
That’s just one of the countless offensive – and hilarious – statements Sarah Silverman has made throughout her 20-year career as a stand-up comedian, author and actor. Silverman takes to the stage armed with a raft of jokes about every minority under the sun.
“I don’t care if you think I’m racist,” she once famously stated, “I just want you to think I’m thin.” But away from her deliberately obnoxious comedy persona, Silverman is a fiercely committed political activist and equal rights advocate. In town ahead of her debut Australian stand-up shows in the coming weeks, Silverman answered a few of the Star Observer’s burning questions.
Q. You were a vocal Obama supporter during the US election, but as a comedian, did any small part of you want Romney elected? Republicans are pretty hilarious.
A. No. I’d much rather have women and gay rights move forward and have affordable attainable healthcare for all Americans. I’m selfless that way.
Q. After the response to your ‘Great Schlep’ video (Silverman’s 2008 campaign encouraging her Jewish fans to ‘schlep’ to Florida and tell older relatives to vote for Obama), have you been energised by the effect your voice has?
A. Sure – and inspired by all the other voices out there. Not just when people fight their own fights but when they are moved to fight for, and side by side with, others. So few people see the poignancy of the present. They’re blind until they’re looking at it all in the rear view mirror when it’s too little too late.
Q. Sydney’s recent Just For Laughs comedy festival was at the centre of some debate about the lack of female comedians on the bill. Have you felt marginalised as a woman in such a male-dominated industry?
A. When women comics ask me about it I tell them don’t worry about how other people may see you or if things aren’t always fair. You don’t want things given to you out of an attempt at “fairness” anyway. Be great. That’s all. Write jokes. Be undeniable.
Q. Your 2010 memoir The Bedwetter was a surprise – you really took the opportunity to open up, rather than just writing a collection of funny essays.
A. I’d been asked to write books for a few years before and never felt like I had it in me. I didn’t want to just transcribe jokes or something. But eventually I could see a book, I did feel like it was in me. That’s all. Boring answer! Sorry!
Q. Given your ‘offensive’ material is delivered with tongue firmly in cheek, do you find there are still people out there who aren’t in on the joke and think Sarah Silverman is a terrible person?
A. My material isn’t for me to defend. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and I hold nothing against those for whom it’s not. But I love doing stand up for the people whose tea I am their cup of. Does that sentence make sense? I know I ended with a preposition. Just so you know I know…
Q. This will be your first time doing stand up in Australia. What are you especially looking forward to about your trip?
A. Everything! I don’t even know what to do first. I want to ride around in a kangaroo pouch! What’s it like in there – is it wet? Is it like the inside of a body or is it dry and furry inside? I’m so ignorant! All I know about Australia is: kangaroos, dingoes, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Rebel Wilson, Jason Gann, counter-clockwise toilet flushing, Dundee, and that New Zealand has that same Canada/US complex.
Q. Finally, do you have a message for the gays who love you?
A. Just that I’m sorry that there are so many fear-based arseholes keeping them from having the same rights as everyone else in 2012. It gives me a stomach ache. I don’t know how anyone could get married in a state where there isn’t marriage equality. It’s EXACTLY the same as joining a country club that doesn’t allow black people or Jews.