Funny lady Sarah Silverman established herself as a serious gay ally when she publicly vowed not to marry then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel until all Americans can legally wed, so it’s fitting that an LGBT network saved her Comedy Central sitcom from cancellation. Thanks to a financial partnership with Logo, The Sarah Silverman Program, for which she earned a 2009 Emmy nomination, returns for a third season February 4. Never one to skirt controversy — remember that AIDS episode or her jabs at Paris and Britney as host of MTV’s 2007 VMAs? — the 39-year-old Saint John of Las Vegas star embraces lesbian stereotypes and chastises straight liberals who continue to get married.
By Brandon Voss
Advocate.com: Logo prevented The Sarah Silverman Program from getting canceled when it offered to cofinance the show with Comedy Central. What’s the appropriate thank-you gift for a five-year-old gay network?
Sarah Silverman: I don’t know, but we owe them everything. We would not be on the air this season if it wasn’t for Logo, hands down. And in return they asked for nothing — just to air the shows on their network, which is awesome. Truly, we are so grateful to Logo. They asked for no changes to content — nothing. So cool.
But did Logo’s involvement encourage you and your writers to increase the show’s gay content?
No, but there’s a lot of gay-centric stuff this season, which I’m excited about.
Can you give us any scoop on what Steve and Brian, everyone’s favorite overweight gay stoner couple, will be up to this season?
Steve and Brian have a pretty amazing arc this season. I really don’t want to give too much away, but they take their relationship to the next level. You’ll also meet Steve’s parents and Brian’s father this year. Steve and Brian actually have the “A” story line — the main story line — in our eighth episode this season that will make you cry at the end. Seriously.
Will gay comic Tig Notaro return as a lesbian cop?
Tig is all over the show this year. She’s so fucking funny — truly one of the great comics working today.
Speaking of Logo, are you watching season 2 of RuPaul’s Drag Race?
I don’t know — should I? Sounds excellent.
When you and I last spoke in early 2007, we discussed your decision not to get married until all Americans could legally marry. That was in reference to your boyfriend at the time, Jimmy Kimmel, but does that vow also apply to your current and future relationships?
Absolutely. Not only that, but lately I’ve been really annoyed by any liberal person getting married who says they stand for gay rights. How can anyone in good conscience get married right now? How is that different than joining a country club that doesn’t allow Jews or blacks?
You also told me that you get away with a lot of jokes because “the gays have the best sense of humor.” But I read a gossip item that a gay prostitute once verbally attacked you about your VMAs Britney jokes while you loaded groceries at a Santa Monica Whole Foods.
I honestly have no idea what you are talking about.
Never mind. So what’s your favorite “gay” joke? We can take it.
Um ... fuck, I can’t think of any! Oy, how is this possible?
After you almost kissed Jessica Biel on the VMAs, some lesbian friends of mine called you a total “cunt-tease,” which is a term I’d never heard before. Thoughts?
I’ve never heard that one either, but I love it! Two of my best friends are lesbians — one from L.A. and one from NYC — and they would never call me that, because I think if either of them imagined me in a sexual way, they’d gag. We’re like sisters. But yeah, I’m pretty much a lesbian in every way other than loving penis. I love Nanci Griffith, Patty Griffin, and Tegan and Sara. I play all sports — I have a b-ball, softball glove, and football in my trunk at all times. Plus anyone would tell you I wear cargo pants daily. When I try to dress up, I look like a tranny.
You and Adam Lambert joked about your mutual love of penises when you presented together at the Critics’ Choice Awards in January. What inspired that bit?
I thought of it a few nights before, but Adam came up with saying, “Who doesn’t?” when I said I loved penis. It was awesome. I am such a huge fan of his and I was happy to meet him, albeit briefly, and see that he’s a doll and a half.
Speaking of flamboyant stars to emerge in 2009, what do you think about Lady Gaga?
Love her! I think she’s — as my dad would say — hot shit. I love looking up her old “Stefani Germanotta” stuff on YouTube. She’s so talented.
Tell me about Jill, the perky, sexy office worker you play in your new film, Saint John of Las Vegas. Did you base your performance on anyone in particular?
Maybe a little bit of Jimmy Kimmel’s cousin, Micki. She’s the sweetest, kindest love of a person I know.
When it comes to your film work, I — along with most show queens I know — enjoy your cameo as Alexi Darling in the 2005 Rent film adaptation. What sticks out most in your mind about that experience?
I had a huge zit and the makeup woman was so put out by it. She was like, "Ugh, I can’t even cover this. We’re going to have to make it into a mole or something.” I was so embarrassed and felt so bad. But from there I walked to set with Idina Menzel, who was so cool to me and cheered me up. I also fell in love with Chris Columbus, the director, who is proof that you don’t have to be mean or douchey to be a big shot director; you can be just lovely and still do great work.
When you were nominated for an Emmy last year for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, one of the funniest moments of the ceremony was your fake mustache. What’s the story behind that gag?
I had the idea since the day I found out I was nominated. We were in the middle of shooting an episode where I had a mustache — our premiere episode. I knew I had no chance of winning, but I didn’t care because this mustache idea made me giggle so much. Amy Poehler had a similar idea — she wanted to take the air out of the Emmys and had everyone in her category fuck around too — so it was awesome.
You ultimately lost to Toni Collette, but you did win a Creative Arts Emmy for writing “I’m Fucking Matt Damon” back in 2008. So who are you fucking in 2010?
Who aren’t I fucking?! Right?! Am I right, folks?!
Advocate.com, February 2010.