“I don’t care if you think I’m racist,” says the controversial comedienne in her 2005 stand-up film, Jesus Is Magic. “I only care if you think I’m thin.” Well, we think Sarah Silverman is all-around awesome. While no social group is safe and no subject taboo (even AIDS) on The Sarah Silverman Program, her new scripted Comedy Central series, she proves herself to be one of gay people’s biggest allies — yes, even bigger than Brad Pitt.
By Brandon Voss
The Advocate: Your show satirizes some pretty racy topics. Did the folks at Comedy Central ever try to censor you?
Sarah Silverman: There were definitely days where I was like, Those fucking assholes! But a lot of their notes, even if I disagreed with them, made us come up with something we liked even more. Plus, the precedent that South Park alone set makes it so hard for Standards and Practices to have many arguments. That show really opened so many doors in terms of what you can get away with on that channel.
Yeah, I recently heard the c word on a Comedy Central stand-up special.
You can say anything, even “cunt,” after 1 a.m. And there’s a lot you can also get away with after 10 p.m., which is why we’re at 10:30 p.m. We can’t say “cunt,” but that’s OK.
What was the idea behind casting comedians Brian Posehn and Steve Agee as your bearish gay neighbors?
We knew we wanted them to be together — roommates, brothers, whatever — and it just organically felt right that they were lovers. I just love them because they’re obviously against any stereotype, but not gratuitously. They both play it so honestly, and you really feel like these two characters love each other. And the comedy comes from the circumstances — it doesn’t necessarily come from the fact that these two big slobs are a gay couple.
Do you have a lot of gay friends in real life?
No, none! [Laughs] Yeah, of course. I have a lot of gay friends, but my two closest gay friends are both comedians. One is a woman, Tig Notaro, who actually stars in episode 5, where I decide I’m a lesbian and I’m in love with her. And the other one is a guy, but the only time I can really tell he’s gay is when we play video games, because whenever he’s getting killed he’s like — [shrieks].
Is the lesbian episode based on your own experimentation?
No, I never did. I’ll admit it’s so exciting to think of, but I love boring cock.
Have you ever gotten any flak from gay groups who can’t take a fag joke or an AIDS joke?
Nah, the gays have the best sense of humor. We actually have an AIDS episode coming up where I wake up with a case of the blahs and decide I need some good news. So I get an AIDS test, because of course I don’t have AIDS, but once I get the test I convince myself I have it and start a whole AIDS awareness movement that’s really based on my pictures on posters. But I think that will go over well.
What would you do if your boyfriend, Jimmy Kimmel, came out of the closet?
I’d be devastated! He’s my life partner! I’d probably have to get a sex change and try to woo him. If he weren’t my boyfriend, I’d be totally supportive.
Is it true that you aren’t going to marry Jimmy until gays in the U.S can marry?
Absolutely true. I don’t want this government to be any part of our love, so I have no interest in getting married. What makes it less wrong than when interracial marriage was illegal? It’s fucking barbaric.
Did you make that statement before Brad Pitt did?
I did say it before Brad Pitt. I said it a long time ago. Actually, someone e-mailed to tell me when Brad Pitt said it, and there was a part of me that was mad! But then I was like, Why would I be mad? It’s a good thing. I don’t have to own that.
The Advocate, March 2007.