Chris Hardwick’s famed Nerdist podcast featured Michael Sheen on September 10 (Episode 569), and Sarah “chimes in periodically.” Go here to listen.
[The voice you sometimes hear in the background is Hardwick’s colleague, Kyle Clark. Also, before the interview began, Hardwick mentioned that he enjoyed “hanging out with Sarah” on the Oddball tour. Hardwick is one of the comedians in the lineup on some of the Oddball Comedy Festival tour dates. At the very end of the interview they briefly get back to that topic.]
Below are transcriptions or summaries of some of the Sarah moments, in case you don’t want to listen to the podcast straight through. (It is 1h:38m long.) But fans could get a good sense of the personality of Sarah’s boyfriend (sharp mind, sharp wit) by listening to the whole interview. [Revealing example: Describing whether his father, who is a professional Jack Nicholson impersonator, can do Nicholson’s voice, Sheen says, “What he lacks in specificity he makes up for in commitment.”]
5:54 – Hardwick mentions that he captured digitally a “moment” when “Sarah and a bunch of the comics” were flying to “Chicago or something.” Sarah opened the New York Times and realized Sheen and she were a “giant story,” and she previously had had no idea it could break like that. Hardwick took a picture of the “shock registering on [her] face: Oh fuck, that’s us.”
CH: Where did you guys meet?
MS: I went to a benefit at Largo. And we were introduced by Mr. Mark Flanagan, who runs Largo. And then he and Sarah were playing tennis the following day together, and he e-mailed me and said, ‘I’m playing tennis with Sarah Silverman. She took quite a shining to you last night.’ And I said, ‘Oh, really.” And we started an e-mail conversation. Turned out she hadn’t taken a shining to me. And he had also said to her that I had only come to the benefit because I had a crush on her. Neither thing was true.
CH: Oh my gosh. What a shifty Irishman he is.
MS: Yeah. And yet somehow it’s all worked out well.
SS: But then it gave us both– We were so confident on our first date. ‘Cause I was like, ‘He likes me.’
CH: So maybe it worked.
SS: It did.
17:19 – [About whether he is losing his British accent after thirteen years living in California]
MS:…I don’t think so. I don’t think I sound Californian. I think I still sound vaguely–
SS: (from background) like a leprechaun–
CH: What I’ve been very fortunate with is that everyone I’ve met who has been a hero of mine– Sarah excluded– has surpassed expectations. You know, people say never meet your heroes. But every single hero of mine that I have met…they’ve been amazing.
MS: I’ve heard, ‘Never fuck your heroes.’
MS: Which is why our [Sarah’s and my] relationship is completely chaste.
SS: [after a pause]– from behind.
CH: Never butt-fuck your heroes. Who said that? Was that Churchill?
SS: I think it was Maya Angelou.
32:00 – Michael re-tells the famous Sarah-getting-punched-at-Comic-Con story, with corrections by Sarah.
CH: What’d you do on your first date? Is that too personal?
SS: We went to Craigs, this restaurant.
CH: Oh, yeah. On Melrose.
MS: Because Sarah said we might– If we go there we might see a Don Rickles,…or a Larry King. And I thought she was talking about some sort of clone army…We didn’t. But we did on a subsequent date.
48:21 – [Talking about whether young Jack Nicholson would be as successfully cast in movies today; how times have changed, movies are much less likely now to cast quirky actors in leading blockbuster roles than they used to be, Sarah chimes in that it differs by gender]:
CH: Is there anyone that’s sort of quirky and offbeat that’s considered a leading man now? I can’t think of anyone.
SS: There are plenty of leading men dogs. It’s the women that get the shaft. There was a time when Liza Minnelli was the leading actress in a romantic comedy.
CH: Arthur? That’s one of the greatest movies of all time.
SS: When they remade it, they asked Greta Gurwig to lose weight!
[After CH says he hasn’t yet watched much of Masters of Sex because he feels weird watching actors he’s friendly with having sex onscreen]:
MS: One of the first things Sarah Silverman’s father said to me when I met him recently was, ‘Nice tuchas’ (referencing Sheen’s naked butt on the TV series).
SS: He’s learned a lot of new words…You should hear him say “doody”…It’s like a baby learning a new word.
53:50 – [After admitting he had never heard the term “doody” before.]
MS: And now, whenever I hear someone…saying the word, ‘duty,’ I snigger like a four year old.
SS: That’s right.
MS: We were at someone’s wedding the other day–
SS: That was ‘snigger.’
MS: We were at someone’s wedding the other day, and whilst they were doing their vows, they swore to something to do with duty, and me and Sarah turned to each other and just chuckled, like a pair of malevolent leprechauns. So infantile… The couple that laugh at ‘doody’ together stay together… And they said it would never last, didn’t they Sarah? Oh, no–I said it would never last.
[Then Sarah continuing on the word topic:]
SS: He came up with a great joke when he spent a week with my family.
MS: Oh, that’s right. We’d had a week. Sarah’s entire family were there in New Hampshire Sarah’s sister, who is a rabbi in Jerusalem. You cannot get any more Jewish than that. She is a rabbi in Jerusalem. And she came over with her husband and her children. And all of Sarah’s sisters were there. And her mother, and her father, and her step-mother. Everyone. For an entire week. And I think at one point I turned to Sarah and said, ‘I’ve spent the entire week on jewy duty.’ …
This is now my favorite pastime, coming up with jokes around this. We went to the 92nd Y theater in New York the other day, because I’m going to do something there in October and we were sort of checking out the building –and it is amazing– and it’s just for Jewish people mainly.
SS: It’s not just for Jewish people. The Jews love culture and– It’s the Jewish Y and they have like incredible writers and performers and–
MS: What I’m saying is, it’s a Jewish building…We started walking around and it’s amazing…These amazing rooms and it’s quite opulent. Gorgeous place. And there’s this beautiful recreational room, with lots of old Jewish ladies in there. Sarah said, ‘It smells like a million Nanas.
SS: Yeah, it smelled so good in there.
MS: So we’re walking around and there’s a swimming pool there, and there’s a gym, and there’s theaters. It’s amazing. And I said, ‘It’s Xanajew, is what it is!’
SS: That was so much setup for– well, I mean, a terrible pun.
MS: Sarah really hates three things that I love. One is puns and wordplay. She hates that.
SS: I don’t hate it, I just– I feel a certain way about it.
MS: She hates magic. Let me just be clear about this, not magic with a ‘ck’ at the end. She hates magic done by magicians who are doing tricks.
SS: I don’t like magicians. They’re not magic. I love magic. I swoon for magic.
MS: Your dislike for it is based entirely on a false premise. They are not trying to convince you that they are magic. They’re not trying to convince you of that.
SS: Right, instead, it’s an illusion. So the difference is, they spent some time in their basement learning a trick, when I was busy. And that’s the difference between us.
MS: You were making up funny stories.
CH: That’s the thing, is that comics basically do the same thing.
MS: Yes! That’s why you don’t like it!
CH: There’s a turn where the people don’t see the misdirect. And it’s like, ‘bah-dah!’
SS: Well, that’s why I didn’t want Michael to keep coming to see me do standup, because I was like, ‘I don’t want you to see the strings.’
MS: But that’s what I find fascinating. What I love about going to see Sarah do standup over and over again, is that just seeing the tiny diff– because she’s building up her act again now after doing the special– and just seeing how that works, and how you change something slightly different, or put a different button on something, or something adds, or you find something new–I love it. I find it absolutely fascinating…
But she also doesn’t like magic because magicians have ponytails. Which is fair enough. I’m with that.
But the third thing she doesn’t like is farce. She hates farce. What’s the thing you say? Oh, look–
SS: I don’t know. I mean, I just, I don’t like, like, ‘Oh, look. You’re laughing because this door opened and this door shut and– you just missed him!’ And it’s all like, ‘Isn’t it incredible timing.’ And it’s– No, I don’t like it. I don’t like farce. I don’t like magicians, I don’t like farce, and I don’t like sensations.
CH: Any sensations?
SS: I don’t like to be cold or wet.
CH: I don’t know you well enough to make the joke that just–
MS: When she is eventually found dead in a desert, we’ll know why.
CH: Then she will find true happiness.
SS: I just don’t like sensations, or noises, or colors.
CH: Well that is a lot of things in the entertainment spectrum.
MS: Sarah says that I’m only funny just as I’m waking up. That’s the only time I’m ever funny. Apparently, I’m killing for the first five minutes of consciousness in the morning. And the rest of the time I’m a terrible comedic failure.
SS: Sometimes he’s funny other times.
MS: [sarcastically] Oh really? Oh thank you so much.
CH: Maybe it’s because in the first five minutes you’re just not aware yet.
MS: I think that’s right. I can’t even take credit for being funny in the first five minutes. Because I’m not aware of what I’m saying. I’m accidentally funny for five minutes of every day. That’s essentially what she’s saying.
MS: One of the things I’ve found with Sarah’s friends who are comics– Maybe they’re different when they’re not with Sarah or something, but– I’ve found that they’re very generous people. Whereas a lot of other comics I’ve come across in my life, I wouldn’t necessarily describe as being generous people. Or at least, the material– everyone’s trying to ‘outfunny’ each other, and all that kind of stuff. And people are telling gags in Sarah’s sort of social group, but there’s a different vibe to it. I really like that. Really supportive.
When talking about Michael’s having been nervous about acting opposite Tina Fey on 30 Rock.
SS: You know what I was just thinking? I know you’re embarrassed, and I won’t show it to anyone, but you actually made a video for me when we first dated, when you were like high on dentist drugs when you had just gotten your tooth pulled out, and that’s the story of you and Tina falling in love on 30 Rock. [He then tells the background of actually having made two, one that he knew and one that he hadn’t remembered until he found it on his phone.] They’re both very funny. I find them very romantic. But I know that you were on drugs and you might not still feel that way.
MS: I thought I was making it for Tina Fey. The first one I think was to Tina. The second one was to Sarah.
CH: What are you guys going to do for the rest of the night? What’s the rest of your night like?
SS: We’re going to have a fight about Tina Fey on the ride home. No. We’re going to have a dinner date.
MS: What we can’t do is go home and watch Project Runway because we watched all the ones we’ve missed last night.
CH: You’re still watching Project Runway? I haven’t watched it in a couple seasons.
SS: It’s still great.
MS: We can’t watch Fargo because we’ve both watched it all now.
SS: But he watches– I’ll get him into something and like I’ll go, ‘This is stupid and I know you’re fancy but I watch this show called The Bachelor. Then we’ll watch it and I’ll fall asleep and I’ll wake up to him going, like, [British accent] ‘Why would he say that to her?!’
MS: I get very involved. I really do.
SS: He gets so upset.
MS: That’s why I can’t watch horror films. Because I kinda go, ‘This stuff happens! This happens in life. It shouldn’t be entertainment.’
SS: Clowns kill!
MS: Clowns kill people! Have you not heard of the clown killer?…This stuff happens and I get very involved with what’s going on. Watching The Bachelor, she falls asleep, and then I can’t stop watching. I have to watch every single one. And I get so worked up about it and so upset. Other people don’t give a shit. They watch it and go, ‘Yeah, it’s great,’ and move on with their life. I can’t move on with my life!
CH: Now you need to get her into Dr. Who.
MS: She’d never go for Dr. Who, I don’t think.
SS: Yes I would.
CH: You would love it.
SS: Is it like Law and Order?
MS: No, it’s too much like magic.
CH: It’s like Law and Order meets Space and Sherman and Mr. Peabody and–
SS: But I’m so Dr. Who adjacent. My closest friends are obsessed with Dr. Who.
CH: Matt and Karen [of the Dr. Who cast] came to your fucking party!
SS: Yeah, and I had about four friends that almost died. They couldn’t even, like, deal–
CH: Rob Schrab.
SS: Rob Schrab, obviously. But then there were other ones, that, I was really surprised. It was like, ‘I…I…I can’t– Matt Smith– I don’t know what to say– I– I can’t even talk to him.’
MS: there was a time when my name was in the mix for Dr. Who. And I did do one episode. Neil Gaimon wrote an episode and he asked if I would do the voice of an asteroid in it, which I did.