Interview: Toronto Star 9/18/13

Sarah talked to the Toronto Star (Canada), promoting her upcoming appearance at Toronto’s 42nd edition of their Just for Laughs festival. She has two shows there on September 20.

By Philip Brown, Special to the Star,
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Sarah Silverman you think you know might not be the one you see at Toronto’s JFL42 comedy festival.

Silverman says she’s moved on from some things in her standup act.

“I brought that kind of arrogant, ignorant character from standup to The Sarah Silverman Program and I love that. It was a great character for me, you know, saying something by saying the opposite. But I’ve moved on to talking a little more genuinely and honestly as myself. At least I think so anyways. It’s tough to tell because I’m inside me. That sounds weird, but it’s a good tweet.”

Silverman is one of dozens of comedians coming to Toronto for the 10-day JFL42 comedy festival, which begins Thursday, Sept. 19.

“When I first started I was 17 and talking about 17-year-old things. I think the goal is to always talk about what you’re interested in and let those interests change, so that hopefully you grow and become an adult at some point between 17 and 42,” joked Silverman.

“I saw myself doing standup when I was 20 as part of Louis (CK)’s show recently and I was surprised to see things in how I move or talk that are similar, even though my act is very different now. I think it’s important to look back at your old stuff and cringe because you’re in a different place.”

Growing older is one reason Silverman’s comedy has evolved; another is the Silverman clones who started popping up in comedy clubs throughout North America in the 2000s.

“People think that’s flattering and it really should be. But as a comic, it’s hard because you start feeling old or irrelevant or relegated to one thing,” admitted Silverman. “You see people pick up on your tricks and I think that’s probably natural. So I’ve moved on from certain things.”

Silverman began her career as a teenager and quickly developed a unique voice that mixed ironic ignorance with personal observation to touch on everything from racism and religion to international politics and insecurity.

Her humour tends to use shock value to explore uncomfortable themes in an act that has influenced a generation of comics.

She’s appeared in dozens of films and ran her own Comedy Central series, yet standup remains her passion.

Silverman says JFL42 is “like summer camp for comics. It’s nice because for once we’re not by ourselves in a hotel room in a strange city. We all get to see each other, even just sitting in a lobby or a diner. That for me is the best after-party, not somewhere where you have to yell.”

Silverman’s desire for reinvention has served her well over the years and now she’s in that rare position of doing what she wants with her career. At the moment that’s the popular online comedy collective JASH along with the likes of Tim and Eric, Reggie Watts and Michael Cera, but in the future it could be anything.

“I’m very lucky in that I’ve pretty much always had my choice because I keep my overhead low,” Silverman explained.

“Thank God I have standup to pay my rent. But you know, I live in an apartment. I drive the same car I’ve had for 10 years. I don’t have fancy tastes and part of the reason for that is that I like to do whatever I want creatively.”

Weirdly for the controversial comedian, that could be children’s entertainment in the future. She concluded the chat by saying, “My dream is to be on Sesame Street and I’ve actually got an app for toddlers. It’s called Uncle Sarah. Little known fact.”

For someone with such an unpredictable career, it’s almost appropriate. Or at least inappropriately appropriate, kind of like Sarah Silverman.

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