Jewish Journal


November 19, 2007

Silverman on Silverman on blacks and Jews


The Jewish Journal‘s cover story this week was an essay about Sarah Silverman by her sister, Rabbi Susan Silverman.

“Bitch, bastard, damn, s—t.” Okay, her menschiness has never taken a traditional form. But the crowds roared. The performer was 2-year-old Sarah. The stage was our living room. The set was our father’s lap on one of our giant round sponges—1970s artsy chairs—in orange and beige stripes, upon the bright green carpet of our living room. The audience was our house full of volunteers for the 1972 McGovern presidential campaign, home at the end of a long day before the general election.

Sarah’s ear-length, jet-black hair and pale skin emphasized her big brown eyes, and she smiled so that every tiny tooth sparkled. Who wouldn’t laugh when this beautiful toddler—all eyes and smiles—swore like a longshoreman? A recipe for success? Our mother didn’t seem to think so. She rolled her eyes in mock disapproval as our father beamed. We, her big sisters, couldn’t believe our luck—this juxtaposition of adorable and crude. It was genius. We couldn’t get enough of it.

We had her perform for everyone. At large family gatherings, our Nana would say, “don’t let her say that,” but stood—transfixed, smiling—like the rest of us. Nana didn’t always love what came out of Sarah’s mouth and knew exactly whom to lay into when she went “too far”—her son, our father. One Saturday afternoon, Sarah sat in the family room, tush on heels, her elbows leaning on the yellow plastic coffee table. Nana stood in the doorway and said, “Sarah, what are you coloring?”

Sarah (focused on her work): “A house.”

Nana: “Guess what? I brought some brownies for you.”

Sarah (still focused on her work): “Shove ‘em up you’re a—, Nana.”

In light of that, I went searching on YouTube for the funniest Silverman moments. None of them were really God Blog, or even work, appropriate. But in the video above Silverman tells us the similarities she sees between elderly Jewish people and young black men.

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