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    My exclusive interview with Sarah Silverman. - 06/07/07

Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Interview: Sarah shy about lunch with Kanye

Posted by Gator on January 28th, 2015

Amy Kaufman’s Los Angeles Times feature (January 27) on Sarah is another must-read for fans:


Sarah Silverman was sitting in the lobby of her hotel with a bunch of dudes. She’d just met the guys, who all looked young and kind of star-struck, like they’d high-five one another after she left.

“OK, so I’ll text you later,” she said, waving goodbye.

“How adorable are they?” she asked, making her way over to a nearby restaurant. “We’re all going to go play basketball later.”

After performing for over two decades as a stand-up comedian, this is the brand that Silverman, 44, has established: the goofyeverygirl who brings her marijuana vape to the Emmys instead of extra lipstick. As she puts it: “The mayor of everywhere.”

“When Nicole Kidman walks into a room, people are like, ‘Oh, my gosh,'” she said, acting intimidated. “But with me, it’s like, ‘Oh, Sarah!’ People feel like they went to camp with me.”

012715LAtimesPullquoteWhich is great, for the most part — until one day you decide you want to be a little more like Kidman. That’s where Silverman’s at right now, and why she’s at Sundance for the first time with “I Smile Back,” a bleak drama that barely offers even one moment of comic relief. Silverman plays Laney, a housewife who seems to have it all — two cute kids, a loving husband who dotes on her. But she’s struggling with crippling depression, and instead of taking her prescribed pills, she self-medicates by doing lines of cocaine and sleeping with random men. Sometimes she’s pretty despicable.

Adam Salky, who directed the movie, knows that may be hard for moviegoers to accept. “The business is always trying to put you in a box,” he said. “But Sundance is the perfect place to take risks, because that’s what it’s all about.”

A couple of days before her film had its premiere, Silverman was nestled into a fancy booth with a view of the Wasatch Mountains. An eager waiter came over to offer her the house specialty, fondue, but she grimaced and said she wasn’t hungry. She ordered a ginger ale and rubbed her stomach as if it hurt.

“I’m not sick,” she said, readjusting her ponytail. “I’m just Jewish.” (more…)

Video: THR asks Sarah for slogan

Posted by Gator on January 28th, 2015

Straying from the standard interview subjects at Sundance, The Hollywood Reporter, for its “Sundance Short Cuts” feature, asked celebrities, “What is a word or phrase that each of you overuses?”  The full video includes two different Sarah segments.

At timecode :30 (30secs), she digresses:

“I don’t know, but my manager pointed out yesterday, and I guess it’s true, that at some points I go like this– [Makes clawing at neck motion with both hands.] Do I do that? …When she did it, I was like, ‘That’s crazy– but– it does look familiar. I can imagine doing that. And it makes so much sense, because at night when I wash my face, I’m like, ‘I have a rash on my neck. It’s just red!'”



At timecode 1:50, she more directly addresses the question:

“I want to have a signature phrase, though. I’ve been really trying to push this [takes a blue collar pose and voice]: ‘Sounds like my ex-wife.’ (Host: I don’t know if that’s totally fresh and new, but–)”


“What about–um–‘What a country!’ Is that fresh– [Adam Salky observes the Yakov Smirnoff reference, so Sarah drat-punches fist:] Dumb-dumb!”


P.S. Fans will recognize “Sounds like my ex-wife” from Sarah’s invocation of that bit on the January 8 episode of @midnight.

Interview: Sarah’s hour at Sundance

Posted by Gator on January 28th, 2015

Sarah’s first time talking extensively about I Smile Back since completing the movie was apparently this one hour live-streamed New York Times “Times Talk,” at Sundance, the morning of January 24. Times movie blogger, Cara Buckley, interviewed both Sarah and Tig Notaro. Notaro was at Sundance for the documentary about her, called “Tig.”

Tig Notaro is a long-time friend of Sarah, including having worked on The Sarah Silverman Program. (In this interview, they mention that Sarah visited Tig daily in the hospital when she had her cancer surgery.) The interplay between Sarah and Tig in this interview is hilarious; you can see from some of their shorthand that they are real friends. But if you haven’t seen Tig before, prepare for her frequent irony.

It’s interesting for fans to observe Sarah’s difficulty finding the right words to talk about I Smile Back in this interview, seemingly unsure how to “promote” such a troubling story. In the subsequent interviews, Sarah became much more fluent in her “talking points.”

(Note: It will take some persistence for you to watch this, since half of it is Tig talking not about Sarah. Sarah’s more significant segments are more toward the beginning and toward the end. Also, we’ve transcripted several of them below. And to save some time, you can manually skip the first three minutes of Sundance personnel introducing, to get to when the actual interview starts.)


Video: Sarah talks I Smile Back to Rolling Stone

Posted by Gator on January 26th, 2015

Below is the video of Sarah interviewed by Rolling Stone’s Peter Tavers at Sundance Film Festival, as well as the print article that Rolling Stone posted January 26.


January 26, 2015

Sarah Silverman’s work is known for eliciting laughs, not tears. But the acclaimed stand-up and comic actress has taken a creative detour by starring in the intense addiction drama I Smile Back, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. In the latest installment of “Off the Cuff,” Rolling Stone movie critic Peter Travers talks to Silverman about her dramatic break-out role.

 “There really is no evidence of ‘me the comedian’ in this movie,” Silverman says in the above video, before describing her character. (“[She] is a mom and housewife – smart – and living the life in suburbia. And a drug addict and a manic-depressive, I would say.”)

Elsewhere, the actress ruminates on the unexpected challenge of filming such emotionally heavy scenes during four-week shoots. “It actually is a bummer to be in a drama that has bummer scenes,” she says, noting that on off-days, she would “come home and go straight to bed, watch Law & Order.”

As the conversation veers, Silverman discusses her “full-on phobia of drunk people,” noting that she bolts at the “first sign of drunkenness at any kind of event.” (If forced to stay at a party, she usually tries to seek out a “comedy corner” with friends like Jack Black and Jason Sudeikis.) She also confesses her addiction to television – whether it’s “heady stuff” like Game of Thrones and Mad Men or “whatever’s on USA.”

Sarah featured in NY Times 1/25/15

Posted by Gator on January 24th, 2015

This article about Sarah and this weekend’s Sundance Film Festival showing of  I Smile Back, in which she stars, was posted yesterday on the Times website, and will be in print in tomorrow’s paper. It includes a new interview with Sarah.

012315NYThdlnby Brooks Barnes

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — The harrowing drama “I Smile Back,” making its debut on Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival, opens with a drawn-out shot of a naked, forlorn woman. She is an alcoholic suburban mom having a cocaine-fueled affair and wrestling with mental illness. At one point she gets beaten bloody in an alley.

Sundance insiders think the performance by the lead actress will land with a sonic boom at the festival and, perhaps, on next year’s movie awards circuit. “An indelible performance” in a “career-defining, intensely layered and heartbreaking role” is how Kim Yutani, a senior Sundance programmer, summed it up.

But moviegoers could also snicker and cringe. It all depends on whether the unlikely star, Sarah Silverman, is allowed to be something other than a comedian.

With her squeaky little-girl voice and filthy vocabulary, Ms. Silverman has carved a reputation as one of the comedic greats by playing with extremes. She’s the sweet, responsible-looking one in pigtails who cracks sexually explicit jokes — the woman who wrote a song, “You’re Gonna Die Soon,” put on a great big smile and sang it to nursing home residents. (“It’s not cold in here/You’re just dying.”)

Now, through a circuitous casting route, she’s working a wholly different extreme. “I Smile Back,” adapted from Amy Koppelman’s 2008 novel of the same name, finds Ms. Silverman, 44, tackling two firsts: anchoring a feature film and playing a brutally dramatic part.

“I have no idea how it will be perceived, and that makes me terrified,” she said over iced tea at a cafe here on Monday in a decidedly unsqueaky tone. “I would like for the movie to be liked. But that’s also an uncomfortable spot for me. I don’t normally give control of my self-esteem to other people, or at least I’m trying harder not to.”

We’re all socially or professionally typecast to one degree or another. You can be the clown or you can be the studious one, but you can’t be both. If you are a hard-charging man, you are chief executive material; if you’re a hard-charging woman, you are a you-know-what. (Am I “just the color guy,” meaning a feature writer, as an editor once dismissively referred to me? Or can I be good at both soft and hard news?)

But Hollywood, despite some minimal progress, continues to make pigeonholing an art form. Comedians, especially women and especially ones as successful as Ms. Silverman, have it particularly rough.

“People are not all one thing,” she said.

Not long ago, when a casting director refused to let Ms. Silverman read for a part, she challenged him. “I said: ‘Why do I always have to be the sassy best friend? I know I’m good at that. But what about that character who is kind and tries hard and deserves love? Why can’t I read for her,’ ” she said.

His answer: “Because no one will ever see you that way.”

Ms. Silverman took a gulp of her tea. “Tears fell out of my eye holes even though I kept smiling,” she said.

Ms. Silverman plays that kind of character in “I Smile Back.” Laney is a smart, pretty woman who has it all — the house, the husband, the adorable children — and yet falls, though no fault of her own, into depression, alcoholism and reckless compulsion.

Her frustrated husband, played by Josh Charles (“The Good Wife”), at one point asks what he can do to help. Laney replies, “To not pretend that it’s all going to be O.K. when nothing is going to be O.K.”

In person, Ms. Silverman was every bit as foulmouthed as her fans would expect. She arrived wearing a Beer Nuts baseball cap, her ponytail shoved through the hole in the back, and seemed genuine in a way celebrities often are not.

“What do people wear to Sundance?” she asked, having never been. Answer: Locals in Park City, Utah, where the festival began on Thursday, call movie industry attendees P.I.B.s, for People in Black.

“I Smile Back,” directed by Adam Salky, came to Ms. Silverman in an unusual way. Ms. Koppelman, who wrote the screenplay with Paige Dylan, was listening to Howard Stern’s radio show one day in her car. Ms. Silverman happened to be the guest, and she was talking about her memoir, “The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee.”

“I heard Sarah say something like, ‘The more people that surrounded her the more alone she felt,’ ” Ms. Koppelman said. “And I just immediately knew she would understand Laney. I thought, ‘This woman is a professional smile-backer.’ ”

Ms. Koppelman said she was aware of Ms. Silverman’s reputation as a comedian at that point but that she had never seen any of her work. (It must be said: Ms. Koppelman has a high-pitched voice that is reminiscent of the one Ms. Silverman often uses when she is playing Sarah Silverman.) Doggedly, Ms. Koppelman got a copy of her book into Ms. Silverman’s hands and ended up meeting with her.

“I honestly wasn’t looking for this,” Ms. Silverman said. “I’m not one of those actresses out to prove something or rejuvenate a career by chasing an award. I’m a comedian. I’m still going to make funny videos from my couch.”

Some people will find it hard to believe that Ms. Silverman isn’t trying to prove a little something. I’m admittedly one. But she is known for being brutally frank.

When did she first meet Ms. Koppelman? “I’m a stoner, so I have no sense of time,” Ms. Silverman answered. “Between two and 10 years ago?” (It was 2010.)

Sitting in the middle of a crowded restaurant at the only available table, she warmly chitchatted about her dogs and doing laundry. She does her own, for the record, in a communal washer-dryer in her apartment building. No, she would not like anything to eat; she was planning to meet a male friend for a late lunch. (No, it was not Michael Sheen, the British actor whom the tabloids have identified as her beau.)

The self-serious audience at Sundance will decide whether Ms. Silverman, a longtime skewerer of the self-serious, can go out on a new limb without falling off. But in one important way she has already succeeded. She’s delivered in “I Smile Back” perhaps the perfect example of what Sundance is about: challenging boundaries, stretching in unfamiliar directions and forcing viewers to be a bit more open-minded.

Video: Sarah on 1/20/15 Late Late Show

Posted by Gator on January 21st, 2015

Here’s Sarah, January 20, guesting on The Late Late Show on CBS, with her friend Jim Gaffigan as host. Two of his children escort Sarah on. And that’s his wife, Jeannie Noth, as his sidekick. Sarah and Jim talk children, sports, TV, and more.

Sarah profiled on Israel TV

Posted by Gator on December 26th, 2014

TV i24 News, out of Tel Aviv, Israel, broadcast this three minute profile of Sarah as part of their “Culture” segment this week.

122314 Israel i24 report