You know comic Sarah Silverman for getting publicly spanked by Asian activists and NBC for saying “chink” in a joke on Conan O’Brien in 2001. (The recap: A friend suggests that to get out of jury duty she write “I hate chinks” on her registration card. “But I didn’t want people to think I was racist, so I just filled out the form and wrote ‘I love chinks.’ And who doesn’t?”) You may also know her from roast appearances, bit parts in There’s Something About Mary and School of Rock, and her mystifying willingness to share a bed with Jimmy Kimmel. Though, oddly, you probably have no recollection of her one season on Saturday Night Live a decade ago. If you are a straight white guy in his 30s who owns at least one Guided by Voices album, you probably know her well enough to have fantasized about pawing her shapely tuchis. And if you really liked her on a 19-inch TV, you’ll like her 100 times more in Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic (November 11), a big-screen adaptation of her one-woman show.
RADAR: In your new movie you talk about replacing the word nigger in a joke with chink because you were afraid of the blacks in the audience.
SARAH SILVERMAN: Yeah, actually it was the same joke I got in -trouble for on Conan. I was doing my routine, and I looked down, and there was a whole table of black people, so I changed it from nigger to chink. Later on I felt so guilty that I wrote a joke about it.
When I saw your show in New York I noticed that the audience was pretty white.
Really? I get a lot of Asians. I get black people, too. It’s not like I get huge black crowds, but I definitely get an ethnic mix.
Who generally walks out of your shows?
Usually middle-aged Jews or long-fingernailed black women.
What parts of the stage show did you decide to drop when you made the movie?
I cut this whole bit about how the Bayer aspirin corporation allegedly performed experiments on Jews during the Holocaust. It’s like, “How does that experiment go? You give them the aspirin and they’re like, ‘My headache is better than the hunger, but not as bad as how much I miss my family. It feels much better than when I was in labor and you sewed up my vagina.’”
You met your boyfriend at the Hugh Hefner roast in 2001. What was your line about Jimmy Kimmel that night?
I didn’t really know him, but I said, “He’s fat and has no charisma. Watch your back, Danny Aiello.”
How did he take that?
Jimmy goes to a trainer three times a week, and I assumed he always had, but a year after we started dating he admitted to me that before I told that joke he had never exercised in his life. The day he got back from the roast he hired a trainer.
You started doing stand-up at 17. What was your act like then?
It was a lot of stuff about the popular girls at school. And I sang a song about being flat-chested, because I didn’t have boobs yet.
Do you think if you’d gotten breasts earlier you wouldn’t have had a miserable enough adolescence to become a comic?
I was really hairy, too. And I was a bed wetter until I was 16, which was a huge thing in terms of turning me into a comic. Well into my teens I had this deep dark secret. And I wet the bed a couple times after I got fired from Saturday Night Live. Both times in different men’s beds.
Explain to me why there are so few sexy Jewesses depicted in movies.
Hollywood is run by self-hating Jews who don’t want to see themselves reflected in the work they make. Some guy who works at NBC actually said to me, “There just aren’t any hot Jews. Winona Ryder’s the only one.” I was like, “You’re a fucking scumbag.” Yeah, Winona Ryder is hot, but of course her real name is Winona Horowitz. I asked all these suits I know, “If she went by Winona Horowitz would she have gotten all those lead in-genue roles?” One hundred percent of them said no.
So why haven’t you become the sexy Jewish lead in screwball comedies?
Everyone loves me, but nobody will give me the lead. The only things I get offered are the wacky friend, the bitchy friend, the cunty New Yorky girlfriend the guy’s with before he realizes that he really loves the other girl. I don’t want to play cunts anymore! It’s killing my soul. Then, of course, I make my own movie, and I still pretty much play one. But I love the way I’m cunty in my movie.
You’ve told a joke about how licking jelly off your boyfriend’s penis made you think you’re turning into your mother. Has your mom ever asked you not to do a joke?
My mom did ask me to cut my impression of giving a blowjob to a dentist. She just said, “I have a very visual mind. Please.”
You have this whole male fan base that’s hot for you. What do you think they see in you?
I think they’re attracted to me because they think they’re the only ones who find me attractive and they’ve discovered me. They see me as attainable.
Male comics frequently bed fans. You?
Never. Guy comics can fuck waitresses. They have no problem screwing women who don’t have their own thing going as long as they adore them and worship their cocks. But women are attracted to someone who shares the same passions. I was attracted to guys who are funny, so I screwed comics. I think I had a reputation for a while.
What sort of reputation?
When I first had sex I was like, “Oh my God, this is awesome.” I loved it so much. So when I was 19 or 20 and doing stand-up I’d keep a little thing of Noxzema in my backpack so I’d have it wherever I ended up sleeping. I just wanted to experience a whole lot of people. And there were these comics who judged me for that who had fucked a million times more whores and waitresses.
What’s the deal with this persistent legend about you masturbating onstage?
Eleven years ago, at the Montreal Comedy Festival, I was doing this show called Late Night Danger Zone. One night I made up this stupid thing where I was like, “I’ll bet any of you that I can say all the states in alphabetical order in less than 26 seconds, or I’ll double your money.” And then I said, “I only need two things: total silence, and two fingers in my vagina.” So I was wearing this sundress, and I pretended to do it. By the time I got to the hotel, where everybody was partying at 4 a.m., everyone was talking about how Sarah fisted herself onstage. My manager’s assistant came up to me drunk and crying and went, “I was talking to a bunch of executives, and they were talking about what you did, and they said, ‘I wonder who represents her?’ And I had to say me!”
From the Nov/Dec issue of Radar magazine, on newsstands now. To see what else is in this issue, click here. Feeling frisky? Claim your risk-free trial issue by clicking here.