A Minute With: Sarah Silverman on standup success, network TV failure

Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:06am EST
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - American comedian Sarah Silverman has been called profane, offensive, a provocateur and the funniest woman alive.

Silverman, 42, fond of ironic jokes that often play on race, religion and rape, will star in her own standup comedy special, "We Are Miracles," on HBO on Saturday.

Silverman, who also starred in her own cable series, "The Sarah Silverman Program" from 2007-2010 and works as a liberal political activist, spoke with Reuters about her brand of humor and why she is not cut out for network television.

Q: Why did you choose a venue that could only seat 39 people for "We Are Miracles?"

A: I thought it'd be cool to make a special that would feel like you were part of a very small, intimate crowd. I guess it's the Heisenberg principle that you can't ever purely observe something purely because ... by being there you're changing it.

Q: Can "intimate" ever be too small for standup comedy?

A: I very confidently decided to do this and then I went on tour and did a lot of big rooms and felt the laughter washing over me and went, "(Expletive!) What have I done?" But it felt like it was cool. ... You still want the crowd to be able to be a mob in that they work as one piece in lots of ways. You still hear individual laughs. You hear jokes hitting people differently.

Q: How has your standup act changed since your 2005 theatrically released special "Jesus Is Magic?"   Continued...

Comedienne Sarah Silverman performs a musical number mid-show at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake