Here’s a Twin Cities interview with Sarah just prior to her July 21 appearance at the Mystic Lake Casino in Minnesota.
With a raunchy, razor-sharp sense of humor; a disarmingly friendly, yet devilish smile; and an unassuming way about her, Sarah Silverman has carved out a place for herself as one of the most talented comedians in the business.
Whether it’s the hilarious viral video she created with Matt Damon or her short-lived but memorable Comedy Central show, there’s a reason the outspoken comedian has an impressive Twitter following of more than 4 million.
Lately, Silverman has been busy filming Seth MacFarlane’s comedy/Western “A Million Ways to Die in the West,” but she’s back on the road for a short stand-up tour that hits Mystic Lake Casino on Sunday.
Talking by phone earlier this week from Los Angeles, Silverman revealed that one of her best friends is Minneapolis native Lizz Winstead. She even offered an over-the-top Minnesota accent to demonstrate how Winstead “calls everyone Marge.”
The rest of the conversation touched on making folks laugh at an early age and her app for toddlers. Here are some of the highlights
Q: When did you first know you were funny?
A: “I was 3. My dad taught me swear(words) because he was one of those dads who thought it was hilarious to teach your toddler (that). I would yell out swearwords, and I would see this reaction from adults of, like, shock and amazement and belly laughs. It made my arms itch with excitement. It wasn’t until I started doing interviews like this and writing my book that I realized it was so obvious I would grow up to be a shock-based or graphic comedian because I became addicted to that feeling of surprising people with words and getting positive reinforcement from it. Getting love from it. Really from third grade on, I wanted to be a comedian.
Q: How did your Uncle Sarah app for toddlers come about?
A: “I love kids. I love babies. I’m crazy about that stuff. And I have all this material for little kids that I do when I’m with little kids. And I go, ‘Oh my god, I can make an app,’ and I just came up with Uncle Sarah. It’s more complicated than I thought because there’s all this science stuff to make it all work. I also tried to make it entertaining for the parents. But toddlers seem to like it.”
Q: What do you think about the comedy scene right now?
A: “I think it’s so exciting. Everyone is on a different timeline. I started with Louie (C.K.), and to see him having this moment right now that has been 30 years in the making, it’s just so exciting. Louie has been every comic’s favorite comic for years. Tig Notaro, who’s just so brilliant and so singular, to see her start to get really known is just so exciting. I love it. I’m a fan of comedy. I love comedy. There are so many new voices and new mediums. I think it’s a great time for comedy.”
Q: Before you were famous, was there anything you expected fame to be like and it turned out it wasn’t really like that?
A: “I think when I was young, I would think about what my stage name would be. But I never really thought about what it would be like. My life is very normal in lots of ways. I live in a three-room apartment. I drive a car I’ve had for 10 years — a Saab. I’m famous for having a short-lived Comedy Central show and for making free videos on my couch. Stand-up is really the only place I make a living.”
Q: What was the dream stage name?
A: “I don’t know why, but it’s probably because ‘Family Ties’ was really big then, but I kept coming up with the same name. I would always go, ‘Tina Yothers.’ ‘Oh, that’s the girl from “Family Ties.” ‘ And then I’d land on it again, ‘Tina Yothers.’ I don’t know why. That was always the name in my head.”
Q: What’s your relationship like with Twitter?
A: “I love it. It’s so funny. The first person I ever knew who had Twitter was Jon Favreau. He was at my apartment, and we were playing poker one night. I was relentlessly giving him s— about it — ‘You going to tweet it, you going to tweet it.’ A few weeks later, I was on the road, and I was listening to Howard Stern, and they were saying, ‘And now we’re on Twitter.’
“I sat there on my laptop and looked it up, and you had to sign in to see everybody’s account, so I did it, and then I just fell in love with Twitter. I just fell in love with the medium of it because, to me, it feels like this message in a bottle. Like it’s so not anonymous, but it feels that way. I’m just alone in my apartment most of the time. It’s just that pure expression.
“There are people who probably only promote their shows, and sometimes you only see on famous people’s Twitter accounts, ‘Check out this clothing line.’ I don’t do any of that. I don’t monetize it in any way. The only thing was once I tweeted about how I was eating Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for dinner, and they sent me a whole bunch of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese singles, which I just finished.
“But I never tweet things for people. Really big directors have said, ‘Will you tweet about my movie?’ And I think, ‘Jesus, put me in your movie.’ I don’t like doing that stuff. I like it to be purely my own thoughts.”
Q: What can folks expect from your stand-up show on Sunday?
A: “It’s always kind of socially political and also aggressively stupid. And embarrassingly honest. It’s just what I’m into now. Come see if it’s your cup of tea.