Sarah Silverman post-roast
September 13, 2013 7:09 PM   Subscribe


 
I didn't like her much for the longest time because I didn't like the "no holds barred" Mexican/Black/Gay jokes whatever she would do, plus her "hot girl comic" shtick, but between this thing and the Black NRA video and the essay about the loss of her dog, she's quickly becoming a girlcrush/hero/badass/something else awesome.
posted by sweetkid at 7:23 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was...awkward. But also raw. Her point about the roast was probably right, but Kamau made the best point of all by just not going to that roast or any ever. If people stopped going to roasts it would totally be ok guys.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:33 PM on September 13, 2013 [10 favorites]


fwiw, billie jean king said a lot of the same things in this interview yesterday that silverman did about meatballs :P (around the 36m mark) inspiring!
posted by kliuless at 7:34 PM on September 13, 2013


Her point about the roast was probably right

What point about the roast? I think this interview was about a lot more than the roast.

That bit from the gay guy was totally awful, with the old and the dick jokes about her. That guy has a segment on Totally Biased? I only ever watch clips.
posted by sweetkid at 7:38 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


They should really just stop with the roasts. They've run out of victims. It's one thing to roast a legendary comic, to have someone roasted by all his close comic friends up on stage where you can tell that maybe they do all really love each other so it's OK to laugh- but James Franco? Donald Trump?! I think it's possible that everybody kind of hates Donald Trump and it's not like he has much of a sense of humor about himself, so what's the point?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:42 PM on September 13, 2013 [24 favorites]


Comedy Central roasts are a pretty deep level of hell. Best to avert one's gaze and enjoy some classics.
posted by planetesimal at 7:43 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Although the Flavor Flav roast will always be special.)
posted by planetesimal at 7:44 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


I generally don't like any roasts, but the one with Donald Trump was just.. oh god. He clearly just thought it was going to be some dumb press event, but people just eviscerated him in such a beautiful fashion. I generally hate Jeselnik, but goddamn, this was amazing.
posted by lattiboy at 7:45 PM on September 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Comedy Central roasts are a pretty deep level of hell. Best to avert one's gaze and enjoy some classics yt .

Speaking of classic roasts.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:50 PM on September 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Haha yeah the Flavor Flav one was great. When he got called "a skeleton wrapped in electrical tape" I almost crapped myself laughing.

I can't figure out if this interview is an example of comic irony or what. She's hurt by jokes made at the expense of people in her demographic. She feels that people should be allowed to make them but it kinda seems like she thinks they shouldn't do it. But this is basically every joke in her comic vocabulary. So I dunno, I'm sort of left trying to figure out if her earnestness in this interview is itself a meta-joke.

Anyway, I think she's pretty funny, I don't feel any topics are off limits for jokes.

Oh and again with the irony, the gay guy who doesn't like her gay jokes responds with a bunch of stereotypical anti-women or age jokes. Weird. Is it like a kind of blindness that people have where you can make fun of anything except me? If it's me you're making fun of then don't you think that's just a little bit too far missy?
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:57 PM on September 13, 2013 [14 favorites]


(Apologies for feeding any Comedy Central derail; the linked video is only tangentially related to the roasts.)
posted by planetesimal at 8:03 PM on September 13, 2013


the gay guy who doesn't like her gay jokes responds with a bunch of stereotypical anti-women or age jokes.

When I was in college I had gay male friends who would make jokes about how fat, ugly, etc certain women were (or "joke" about my hair or whatever). Like because they're not attracted to women it's OK to say women's bodies are gross. I remember similar stuff from Sex and the City.

Now I don't have any gay friends who talk this way because either they never did that stuff or they grew the hell up. That kind of thing always bothered me though. I don't think gay sex is gross, why is it OK to say women's bodies are gross/old/slutty etc?
posted by sweetkid at 8:12 PM on September 13, 2013 [22 favorites]


I don't watch a whole lot of her stuff (mostly because I hardly watch TV), but every time I see her I'm struck by how goddamn funny and smart she is, and then I'm in love with her all over again.

...and if I could stomach watching more TV, I'd probably see a lot more of her. :)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:15 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"My crime is not dying."

She isn't wrong on that one.

I have mixed feelings on Sarah Silverman--I like some bits of hers, others annoy me--but I'm with her on this one.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:21 PM on September 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Sarah Silverman, like Jon Stewart and Bill Maher and Ellen DeGeneres and a bunch of other people, was a fucking awesome comedian before her thing became being a celebrity. Now she's funny occasionally, and that's okay but it sucks* how the reward for being great at stand-up comedy is you quit doing stand-up comedy.

* For audiences. Probably less for the comedians.

I think this interview was about a lot more than the roast.

Agreed. I'm not sure it really had a point or was all that notable, either. I had never heard of Kamau before today but he's not very good at this job. (Maybe he's a great stand-up comedian...?)
posted by cribcage at 8:22 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


scaryblackdeath, you might be interested in reading her memoir, "The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee." I read it in the past year and found her even more fascinating as a result.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:23 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Everyone stop talking about meatballs or they'll remember they haven't ruined it with a heartless reboot yet.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:33 PM on September 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


People that stay in bed for two days after other people make fun of them professionally, ought to just stay in bed, where it's warm and safe, and Mr. Warmth never comes around. The bawdy, hearty, everyone-gets-theirs-sooner-or-later sense of American humor I grew up with is dead, and its rotting corpse is pushing up fragile, sensitive daisies where ordinary folks used to try to tell one another jokes, sometimes well and sometimes so badly, it was funny in itself to watch them, several times a day. You can't breathe hard without offending somebody in this country, these days.

And in a society where you can't breathe hard, you sure can't guffaw, belly laugh, slap backs, stomp and/or laugh so hard that you lose that very breath to laughter, and cry "Uncle!" Nah, it's a laugh track world, more and more these days, where only comedians (and sometimes, sequestered groups of old friends) can readily get the temporary suspensions of judgement that humor, with all its ability to encapsulate, reflect and relieve social pain, needs to thrive.
posted by paulsc at 8:38 PM on September 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is what else is cool about Kamau Bell. Jim Gaffigan v Lindy West.
posted by sweetkid at 8:45 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


reflect and relieve social pain

The social pain almost always seems to be that which is afflicted on white cisgendered men when having to deal with the rest of us. Just like this attitude of, "ya know, sometimes we just wanna let our hair down and be RACIST"
posted by sweetkid at 8:47 PM on September 13, 2013 [48 favorites]


Yeah, I totally miss the good old days of mother-in-law jokes, my wife went on a holiday, she's so fat, Mr Wong the Ching Chong (inscrutable!), stupid Indians, minstrelsy and all the other great stuff that made all the pain go away.
posted by Wolof at 8:49 PM on September 13, 2013 [35 favorites]


This is what else is cool about Kamau Bell yt . Jim Gaffigan v Lindy West.

That's Jim Norton, not Jim Gaffigan!
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:50 PM on September 13, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ah HAHA you're right, I have already taken my sleep meds.
posted by sweetkid at 8:50 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


sweetkid: "This is what else is cool about Kamau Bell . Jim Gaffigan v Lindy West."

That's not Jim Gaffigan.
posted by boo_radley at 8:51 PM on September 13, 2013


The flowers quiver and wilt in its tread
The liberals whimper and shake their fair heads
"Let not that rough beast disturb us from our beds!"
The Great R A P E J O K E rides again!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:52 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's not Jim Gaffigan.

... that's my wife!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:52 PM on September 13, 2013 [31 favorites]


yes we covered that Jim Norton not Gaffigan I was wrong and sleepy
posted by sweetkid at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2013


oh well shit, fine, then, let's all take melatonin and customized russian dopaminergics and start blogging.

(that may sound sarcastic, but it's not.)
posted by boo_radley at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


Gaffigan? I didn't even gaffe the first time!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2013 [14 favorites]


ugh i'm just going to google hangotus.
posted by boo_radley at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


This was beautiful for the way that people were able to just be real and funny about what offended them personally without the other taking it personally that they were the offensive one. They know that they offended, they can admit that they were offended themselves. They can discuss it without defensiveness.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:58 PM on September 13, 2013 [7 favorites]


Huh. I just watched that roast late last night. She's right of course that roasts are really really really mean, least common denominator and lacking subtlety. Ms. Silverman said of Aziz Ansari, “I’ve been a huge Aziz supporter for years, and only for the price of a cup of coffee. By the way Aziz can’t stay here all night, he has to get back into the cupboard.” hitting the Indian convenience store owner, short and gay trifecta in one swipe.

I think it's the point of these events to be transgressive and go over the line. I want to be clear - I like this - I think it's important and when done well casts society in high relief. My fear is that some viewers might not recognize the subtext and take it as license or encouragement.
posted by vapidave at 8:58 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


"By the way Aziz can’t stay here all night, he has to get back into the cupboard.” hitting the Indian convenience store owner, short and gay trifecta in one swipe.

Pretty sure that's just a reference to the kid's book series, and a totally silly one that makes fun of her confusion about Indian vs Indian
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:01 PM on September 13, 2013 [25 favorites]


I think you didn't get the cup of coffee joke either, I think it's about those "you can support a kid in a 3rd world country for only a dollar a day" or whatever.
posted by RustyBrooks at 9:02 PM on September 13, 2013 [18 favorites]


Sarah Silverman, holding a mirror to our own unconscious biases. (Just kidding just kidding.)
posted by stoneandstar at 9:03 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


It kinda bugs me that she didn't address the gay jokes that she made, only addressed how upset she was by the gay comic's (poor) jokes about her age and gender. I would like to know why she believes it's still ok to make gay jokes, even in the context of a roast.
posted by aabbbiee at 9:17 PM on September 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is what else is cool about Kamau Bell yt . Jim Gaffigan v Lindy West.

Weird, I had the total opposite reaction to this interview when it came out a few months (?) ago...I like Kamau and have seen him perform live, but this clip totally made me lose a little respect for him. I felt like he was pulling some sort of "two sides to every story, truth is somewhere in the middle" BS when Lindy West was being completely cogent and on-point while Jim Norton was bad-faithing all over the place. Kamau should have got his shit together and stopped legitimizing Norton's nonsense.
posted by threeants at 9:18 PM on September 13, 2013 [8 favorites]


I would like to know why she believes it's still ok to make gay jokes, even in the context of a roast.

I think it's the same reason the gay comic believed it was still ok to make age and gender jokes...
posted by Justinian at 9:31 PM on September 13, 2013 [4 favorites]


Early in the clip she basically says she thinks it's okay to make jokes about anything. She may get offended, she says, but she'll also defend to the death somebody's right to offend her. "I think that comedy is art."
posted by cribcage at 9:55 PM on September 13, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sarah Silverman is a great comedian, smart and funny, who mainly treated in taboo topics in the early part of her career and always got much more shit for it than other ironic "alternative" comics, ostensibly because she's female and attractive. The Sarah Silverman Program was a gem.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:20 PM on September 13, 2013 [5 favorites]


She did a great job sidestepping that boring black and gay stuff to talk about women!
posted by roll truck roll at 11:00 PM on September 13, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe I'm confused but - isn't the interview about Sarah Silverman being upset at being attacked / roasted by a critic of the roast, not at being roasted at the roast itself?
posted by Bwithh at 11:05 PM on September 13, 2013 [1 favorite]


ugh i'm just going to google hangotus.

About 649 results (0.30 seconds). Did you mean: hangouts
posted by one_bean at 11:17 PM on September 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sociologists could save a lot of money by quitting with the expensive field studies and just studying stand-up comedians.
posted by Camofrog at 11:28 PM on September 13, 2013


> isn't the interview about Sarah Silverman being upset at being attacked / roasted by a critic of the roast, not at being roasted at the roast itself?

I think the parts where they're ginning up the sassy putdowns like that is because they're all in the business. The main gist of the interview were about things such as all the age jokes about Silverman at the roast, even when she wasn't the oldest roaster.
posted by planetesimal at 11:29 PM on September 13, 2013


The Sarah Silverman Program was a gem.

I agree. The day I reached the end of my Netflix binge watch of the series was a sad one indeed.

Ironically, given the context of this post, The Sarah Silverman Program featured in my opinion the absolutely funniest, most loving, least stereotypical (especially when compared to the more high-profile "Cam and Mitchell" portrayal of gay men as effeminate drama queens) depiction of a gay couple on TV.
posted by The Gooch at 11:32 PM on September 13, 2013 [6 favorites]


The weird thing about making an "old" joke about Sarah Silverman is how inaccurate it is. She easily looks 10+ years younger than she actually is. But still, it does seem hypocritical for her to complain. Once you start questioning the fairness of one target or joke within a roast, you'd have to question almost everything and the premise of the whole thing collapses. And maybe it should.

In the past, the Friar's Club roast was a way for a legendary comic to be honored by their peers. At a certain point, Comedy Central realized they could be big moneymakers so they dropped the Friar's Club connection and started putting on these spectacles devoid of warmth, class, or any kind of context. It stopped being about honoring the roastee (why would anyone want to 'honor' Charlie Sheen?) and started to be about taking random celebrities down a notch.

Now, I enjoy watching a real asshole like Donald Trump being dismantled by professional comics for an hour, but for the most part, I don't see the point. It's usually just "edginess" for its own sake without any cleverness or insight.
posted by seymourScagnetti at 2:57 AM on September 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


"By the way Aziz can’t stay here all night, he has to get back into the cupboard.” hitting the Indian convenience store owner, short and gay trifecta in one swipe.

Pretty sure that's just a reference to the kid's book series, and a totally silly one that makes fun of her confusion about Indian vs Indian
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:01 PM on September 13 [9 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]

I think you didn't get the cup of coffee joke either, I think it's about those "you can support a kid in a 3rd world country for only a dollar a day" or whatever.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:02 PM on September 13 [10 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Thanks for the interpretations Potomac Avenue and RustyBrooks. This wouldn't be the first time I was more cynical than the circumstance warranted.
posted by vapidave at 3:01 AM on September 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's upset at her own reaction to the fact that her age is now a thing that's getting mocked, not the actual mocking. Additionally, she's having some trouble accepting the fact that she's now considered old. Being right about the same age, I get that.

And adding to what The Gooch said, her show demonstrated that her whole shtick is a modern, more edgy and corny Carrol O'Conner in All in the Family. It might not show as easily in her earlier standup, but once I got that she was doing a dead-on impression my racist relatives, it all made so much more sense, and suddenly got an order of magnitude more hilarious.
posted by mcrandello at 3:05 AM on September 14, 2013 [9 favorites]


I live in fear of the day when we start doing MetaFilter roasts, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up running off-stage crying while holding my notebook in a way I'm told is how girls hold their notebooks.
posted by sonascope at 5:24 AM on September 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sarah Silverman is correct and insightful about something? Well, you know that old saw about stopped clocks being right twice a day...
posted by pxe2000 at 6:03 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the Denis Leary roast since, unlike previous roasts, this one featured people who knew him. Joan Rivers' response to hers was classic, she tore the panel to shreds.
posted by zzazazz at 7:35 AM on September 14, 2013


*taps the mic* Ahem. Greg Nog is here tonight...whoops, no he isn't, his comment got deleted! *crowd goes wild*
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:50 AM on September 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I try to stick with David Letterman's approach to comedy (which he is often inconsistent about, but nonetheless he makes an effort) -- go after things that are volitional, steer clear of stuff that is not volitional. Fellow has a funny tie? Fair target. Fellow has a big nose? Unfair target.

Weirdly, Guy Branum's response mostly consisted of that sort of thing. He mocked Seth Rogan for attempting to be an action star -- volitional. He mocked James Franco for pretension. But with Sarah Silverman, he mocked her for getting old (and there was also a weird little dig at her sexual behavior; it seems like it was meant as a way to make fun of her for dating Jimmy Kimmel, which is fair, but then ended up being oddly slut shaming).

Ultimately, I think this is the problem with this sort of comedy -- that put downs tend to bleed over into just reenforcing stereotypes and hateful cliches. And its one thing for a group of comics to do it at a private party where there is a mutual understanding that this is a space where everybody understands the ironic remove. The moment it went to Comedy Central, it became a different animal, and the ironic remove disappeared -- not it was no longer a group of comics testing the boundaries of tasteful comedy, but instead, to many audience members, it was a group of comics being publicly homophobic, sexist, racist, etc. And that just reenforces the status quo, it doesn't challenge it.

Jerry Seinfeld did a Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with Don Rickles recently, and obviously Rickles is maybe the first insult comic, and easily one of the best. And they spend the entire interview trading barbs. But Seinfeld points out the extraordinary charm that a comedian must possess to get away with that sort of comedy; and he's right, Rickles always made everybody feel like they were in on the joke, that his persona was a put-on, and so we all mutually understood we were in a shared ironic space. Very few comedians are able to do that (Silverman, when she was at her best, arguably could). And when you see Rickles interact with Seinfeld, his barbs are almost entirely things that are volitional, and Seinfeld retorts in kind, and I remember that being a large part of Rickles comedy routine -- although he certainly traded in a lot of ethnic jokes, he often targeted the folly of making decisions and failing, and those always worked better than the jokes about the folly of being born a woman, or black, or Irish, or whatever.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 8:02 AM on September 14, 2013 [18 favorites]


> I think you didn't get the cup of coffee joke either, I think it's about those "you can support a kid in a 3rd world country for only a dollar a day" or whatever.

Isn't it a reference to the fact that Aziz, like Louis CK, sold his special online for $5?
posted by Monochrome at 8:54 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Monochrome: "Isn't it a reference to the fact that Aziz, like Louis CK, sold his special online for $5?"

No, it was definitely the "support a kid in a third world nation" angle that references the old Sally Struthers commercials. The comedic premise is based upon Aziz being Indian and shorter (implying he's child-like.) There's no comedic premise or put-down in the angle of him selling his special online.
posted by bluecore at 9:23 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is why I never get the "everyone gets a turn" no holds barred whatever you want to call it ethnic joke thing. As far as "Indian jokes" go the "five cents a day thing" is sort of mild ( I don't think the reference is that Aziz is childlike because he's short, but whatever, I also didn't see the special) but still - I still don't understand why Indian people, or any ethnicity or women or anything, need to be laughed at by (usually) white people or put down. We can make fun of ourselves. I've watched two comedy specials by Aziz and he makes a few Indian jokes but they're usually about nerds playing video games, which rings much more true to me as an Indian American than cab driver jokes or poverty jokes or whatever.

The thing is - genuinely - we have one famous Indian American male comic. We have one. That's a damn fine accomplishment. Why do we need him "taken down" by white people just for having that heritage? Seriously, why? There are plenty of reasons to joke about Aziz Ansari without that.

If as an Indian American I need to laugh at myself, I'd prefer the jokey joking to come from one of us.
posted by sweetkid at 9:33 AM on September 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was just listening to the Marc Maron WTF interview with Lisa "queen of mean" Lampinelli and my head was spinning. She's famous for tearing everyone apart at roasts, but has some form of a guru that she sees to work on her self esteem when she's afraid someone is going to be mean her (one time she had to visit him because she was TERRIFIED Howard Stern was going to make fun of her gaining 10 pounds; it turned out that he didn't say anything). Then she made a point of saying it was REALLY offensive to her for someone to say they liked "the gays" because there are so many different types of gay people, but this was after making every kind of ethnic joke possible.
posted by armacy at 9:41 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think the reference is that Aziz is childlike because he's short, but whatever, I also didn't see the special

FWIW, his shortness is a running joke (and a plot point!) on Parks & Recreation.

i notice this because i am short
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:05 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


> No, it was definitely the "support a kid in a third world nation" angle that references the old Sally Struthers commercials. The comedic premise is based upon Aziz being Indian and shorter (implying he's child-like.) There's no comedic premise or put-down in the angle of him selling his special online.

You're right, the joke mimics the commercials. So colonialism.

But there are put-downs available to insult someone who sells their stand up special online. I'm no comedian yet I'm sure there's a joke about a comic shilling to stoned frat boys on the web — where $5 is a high price, let alone the $20 + S&H for a professional's DVD.
posted by Monochrome at 10:06 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]



FWIW, his shortness is a running joke (and a plot point!) on Parks & Recreation.


I know, but as far as I've seen ( I haven't seen a ton of Parks and Rec) I haven't seen any references to him seeming like a starving orphan child because he is short. It's possible though.
posted by sweetkid at 10:14 AM on September 14, 2013


The supporting Aziz joke with coffee is actually kind of a good example of a joke that is essentially racist but more interesting than one that is just a re-iteration of a stereotype. I kind of feel like it is a particularly modern joke but I have to admit I don't know that much about comedic history.

Basically, it's a pop culture recognition joke (combined with a race reference). To "get" the joke you have to remember the commercial and apply it to Aziz. To me it seems like a lot of modern comedy is really heavy on pop culture recognition, because pop culture has gotten more pervasive. In the past a reference to 30 seconds of a TV show that probably not everyone saw wouldn't get recognized. Today, that 30 seconds is available as photo sets on tumblr, little clips passed around on youtube and other places, re-referenced in shows like The Soup and what not.

The application to Aziz, I don't think it's because he's child-like but I could be wrong. To me it comes across more as "you come from a place where it's so poor that people can feed off my pocket change"

The comments above about making fun only of things that are intentional is pretty interesting. But ironically these would probably be TAKEN the worst by their recipient right? If you make fun of my race or where I was born, I mean, it's a little hard for me to be offended by that, because it's just something that happened to me. But the things I *chose* to do, my follies, those are like personal. I'm more likely to be offended by someone making fun of my haircut than of my face. (I guess - I don't know that I've ever really been offended by something someone's said to me)
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:18 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know, but as far as I've seen ( I haven't seen a ton of Parks and Rec) I haven't seen any references to him seeming like a starving orphan child because he is short. It's possible though.

No, I think Silverman was the one who introduced the starving orphan aspect of it. At the very least, the joke would be weirder if Aziz was this huge, hulking guy.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:19 AM on September 14, 2013


If you make fun of my race or where I was born, I mean, it's a little hard for me to be offended by that, because it's just something that happened to me.

Ok, that's you. Personally I'm tired of "I'm holding up a mirror!" type jokes about my ethnicity or as a woman when I don't see myself in that mirror. And it's a majority group holding the mirror.

Also! I'm not alone in my feelings.
posted by sweetkid at 10:24 AM on September 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is she wearing a crucifix? That's unusual.
posted by gertzedek at 11:11 AM on September 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is she wearing a crucifix? That's unusual.

Good eye! Yeah, what's up with that?
posted by Sticherbeast at 11:12 AM on September 14, 2013


Well, I can certainly accept that.

But do you really find it better if someone mocks your job/ambitions/hopes/dreams? Your clothes/food/education/opinions? Because those are all things I'm invested in.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:13 AM on September 14, 2013


But do you really find it better if someone mocks your job/ambitions/hopes/dreams? Your clothes/food/education/opinions? Because those are all things I'm invested in.

I didn't say I thought it was "better." But yeah, if someone I know makes fun of me because of things that are actually about me, I can think it's funny, in a "don't take yourself so seriously" way.

If someone makes fun of me in a "don't take yourself so seriously" way by saying a joke that is essentially along the lines of "Based on what I know about your cultural background based on the media, I could feed your entire extended family based on the change I found in my couch," it's not funny, doesn't convince me to take myself less seriously, and is also profoundly untrue.

Also, as far as being invested, I am invested in the media and cultural acceptance of Indian Americans in "mainstream" culture because there is so very little to be seen and heard out there, which has an importance that seems almost impossible to parse if one is a white person in our culture and is seeing themselves represented as default.
posted by sweetkid at 11:20 AM on September 14, 2013


I agree with you that it's almost impossible to parse. I'm white, male, middle class, basically every TV/movie/whatever show ever is either about what I was, I am, or will be. I can't claim to understand what it's like.
posted by RustyBrooks at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I still don't understand why Indian people, or any ethnicity or women or anything, need to be laughed at by (usually) white people or put down.

They don't need to be laughed at, there's no law that requires it, but this is what comedians do. Basically you're saying that nobody should be laughed at or put down, especially by white people... In your universe, can non-whites tell jokes about whites? What about a white woman, could she tell a joke about non-whites? Is Silverman considered a white for these purposes, could she tell a polish or irish joke?
posted by amorphatist at 11:44 AM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


this is what comedians do

Yes, I'm aware of that. So? What I'm saying is "no holds barred, we pull no punches" excuses for comedy by a majority group, making jokes at the expense of a minority, group, mostly to entertain, again, the majority group, isn't the "we're all making fun of each other, everyone gets some" thing that people claim it is.


Basically you're saying that nobody should be laughed at or put down, especially by white people...

No, that's not what I'm saying at all.

In your universe

It's the same as yours. You're just willfully misunderstanding what I'm saying. If a white person wants to make fun of Indian people, sure, they can, just be clear that you're doing it because you want to make audiences of (mostly) other white people laugh at stereotypes about Indian people, not because you want Indian people to notice something about themselves in your comedy and go "oh, we ARE like that!! Ha ha."


I'm white, male, middle class, basically every TV/movie/whatever show ever is either about what I was, I am, or will be. I can't claim to understand what it's like.


Thanks for this, RustyBrooks. Very cool comment.
posted by sweetkid at 11:57 AM on September 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


sweetkid: " I don't think the reference is that Aziz is childlike because he's short, but whatever, I also didn't see the special)"

Perhaps the shorter/childlike angle wasn't intended in that specific joke. I could be extrapolating because there were other jokes in that vein (Indian in the cupboard, Kanye no longer needing him because he has a child of his own now).
posted by bluecore at 11:58 AM on September 14, 2013


Kanye no longer needing him because he has a child of his own now

Ha. That seems like an Aziz-specific joke because of their relationship and how Aziz always seems so psyched about it).
posted by sweetkid at 12:04 PM on September 14, 2013


For Aziz specifically, reaching for jokes about him "being from india" doesn't seem as ripe for satire as the actual truth, which is that he's very American. No trace of an accent, raised in the american south, loves hip hop and the associated culture. He's so completely un-ironic about all of it, which on the surface kind of leads to a double-take.

The jokes would make more sense if he'd moved here from india, or had more outward indian-ness.

I was thinking about this whole thing while I made some coffee just now, trying to think if there's any cheap shot you could apply to me and the only thing I can come up with is my name - Rusty. Which is my actual given name, not a nickname. No big deal but basically every "funny" person who meets me is going to make some obvious joke I've heard about a million times, I roll my eyes and go on.

But of course I do. There's an episode of The Boondocks that I think mentions this a bit. The show calls it a nigger moment (please forgive me, it's literally what they call it) and they show why/how this stuff rolls off white people's backs and why the experience of some minor slight just isn't a big deal to people with privilege.
posted by RustyBrooks at 12:20 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's the same as yours. You're just willfully misunderstanding what I'm saying. If a white person wants to make fun of Indian people, sure, they can, just be clear that you're doing it because you want to make audiences of (mostly) other white people laugh at stereotypes about Indian people,

No, I don't think I am willfully misunderstanding you, I'm actually trying to understand exactly what it is you're proposing. I notice that you left out addressing this part of my comment:

What about a white woman, could she tell a joke about non-whites? Is Silverman considered a white for these purposes, could she tell a polish or irish joke?

And re "(mostly) other white people laugh", would comedy involving Indian people be ok if the comedian and audience were (mostly) black, or (mostly) jewish? etc. And where would bi-racial comedians figure in this?
posted by amorphatist at 12:28 PM on September 14, 2013


For Aziz specifically, reaching for jokes about him "being from india" doesn't seem as ripe for satire as the actual truth, which is that he's very American. No trace of an accent, raised in the american south, loves hip hop and the associated culture. He's so completely un-ironic about all of it, which on the surface kind of leads to a double-take

Yes! Exactly what I mean. Plenty there to actually make fun of him for, and funnier too.
posted by sweetkid at 12:29 PM on September 14, 2013


What about a white woman, could she tell a joke about non-whites? Is Silverman considered a white for these purposes, could she tell a polish or irish joke?

I didn't leave it out, I said people can make whatever joke they like just like I'm able to say their joke doesn't represent me (if about my culture) and is based on mainstream biases meant to make mainstream audiences laugh.
posted by sweetkid at 12:34 PM on September 14, 2013


I was not really a fan of Silverman's earlier work because it baldly repeated stereotypes and seemed unusually mean even for a comedian, but I always understood my reaction as possibly a failing on my part. That maybe this was some next level of comedy that I wasn't hip or transgressive enough to appreciate.

But Silverman's seemingly surprised reaction over her hurt feelings to typical female stereotype jokes makes me think there wasn't much there to some of her earlier comedy. Like, it is news to her that jokes enforcing stereotypes of marginalized people hurts their feelings, because only now are the same kind of jokes hurting her feelings? I don't really care that she defends everyone else's right to make these types of jokes -- I mean she has to right, because she built her career on making those jokes herself.

So maybe I'm still not getting something. And I'm glad that she can have a intelligent conversation about what these jokes mean and why they hurt, etc. I'm still trying to figure out how she is just getting to this current place of self awareness, rather than earlier in her career. I mean, it's not actually possible that she thought her jokes about stereotypes weren't actually hurtful to people because she was a pretty girl, is it? I doubt it, but that would be really offensive.
posted by onlyconnect at 1:01 PM on September 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think what I liked about this roast was that it shone at exactly what a roast is supposed to be, a temporary transport of the viewer into the inner world of a bunch of comedians and jokers, for just a little while you get to feel like one of the gang.

What makes good roasts good is, as seen amazingly clearly in this thread, the realization that the majority of other viewers are missing the joke, so you can feel like even more of "one of the gang" for a moment.
posted by Cosine at 1:13 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


"we have one famous Indian American male comic"

what about russell peters?! well i guess he's canadian but still...

both of 'em are awesome. \o/
posted by raihan_ at 1:22 PM on September 14, 2013


Yea he's Canadian.
posted by sweetkid at 1:24 PM on September 14, 2013


what about russell peters?! well i guess he's canadian but still...


Kumail is Pakistani I know, but I would include him, at least in spirit.
posted by Cosine at 1:25 PM on September 14, 2013


I'm a bit surprised by the position Silverman takes here in this interview, and I think it damages her brand a bit, but maybe she's moving in a new direction with new audiences. or maybe this is all done with her fingers crossed behind her back, so to speak. maybe that's what the crucifix means.
posted by Bwithh at 1:28 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was my impression, that she's changing her brand. That's why I feel like I'm willing to look at her old stuff from that perspective. People can change. The black NRA thing I thought was pretty good satire without being at the expense of black people. She was only a part of it, of course, but she seemed to be the "lead" for whatever reason - possibly because she wrote it.
posted by sweetkid at 1:32 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Not liking a woman because you don't like her jokes seems really weird to me.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:25 PM on September 14, 2013


I tend to think that, just as eighties comedy was essentially all about mimes, amusing interests of the French, ha ha fags and hurf durf that fag got AIDS, and how dumb you were if you drove a small economy hatchback, the humor of the self-conscious internet age has been the indefinite extension of socratic irony and its unfortunate parlay into a sense of ownership of the category one is joking about.

I enjoyed Seth MacFarlane for a while as a sort of diversion, particularly when Family Guy was sharp and absurdist and The Simpsons were starting their stretch of being ever so sad, but he overdoes it in the same way that hip and enlightened people who are delighted to have black friends start having their hanging-out-with-the-black-folks alternate personality mode. As a consequence, I don't much watch MacFarlane's work much anymore. I'm not bothered that it's there, but it's just sort of shrug-worthy. There's much better stuff out there.

Silverman's an interesting case because she has often overdone it, too, albeit in ways that, when they're right, are verging on the sublime, but she's a bit loose with her writing, and when she's lazy, the result is lazy. I was fascinated by The Sarah Silverman show, which could be so meanspirited that I almost couldn't stand it, but then would have these quiet, perfect little coda moments. I'm a bit tired of the endless parade of buffoon lead characters beloved by so many, but hers had moments of inspired brilliance, and I had to give it to her and her eponymous show for being one of the first programs I've ever seen that presented a gay couple that in any way includes characters that resemble me or the kind of queer folk that populate my social circle.

She seems to be mellowing, and while she's not in my pantheon of great comedians yet, I think there's a lot of intelligence behind all that farting, so she's got more to offer. The hardline take that we have to reject every creative person for their failures and weaknesses along the way just seems to guarantee that we'll all just have to forever lament that things were better in the good old days.
posted by sonascope at 2:40 PM on September 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


huh? " I don't like Sarah Silverman" is usually seen as " I don't like her comedy" or whatever, not "I'd slap her at a party."
posted by sweetkid at 2:40 PM on September 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sweetkid is touching on one of my many, many bugbears with Sarah Silverman. And that is...you can't really subvert or reclaim something if you're coming from outside the culture at which the slur you're "reclaiming" is aimed. Just to hold up another example: I love Maria Bamford, in part because a lot of her comedy is about her depression. I suffer from depression, and her work hits a nerve because she's been there, and I recognize a lot of the truth in her humor because I've been through it. With Sarah Silverman, she's lived through very little of what she's trying to reclaim, and it rings false. The only thing that's at all funny about her racial humor is the shock value of a white girl saying these things now. There's not the same kind of truth to them because this isn't something she experienced. Her racial bits make me uncomfortable in the same way that watching someone walk around with her skirt stuck in the back of her stockings makes me uncomfortable.
posted by pxe2000 at 3:31 PM on September 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


Weirdly, Guy Branum's response mostly consisted of that sort of thing. He mocked Seth Rogan for attempting to be an action star -- volitional. He mocked James Franco for pretension. But with Sarah Silverman, he mocked her for getting old (and there was also a weird little dig at her sexual behavior; it seems like it was meant as a way to make fun of her for dating Jimmy Kimmel, which is fair, but then ended up being oddly slut shaming).

Guy's bit was meant as a roast OF the roast. Hence the out-of-character attack-ness that might seem strangely hypocritical or ironic.
posted by Brainy at 3:35 PM on September 14, 2013


I dunno, I think I've seen Guy Branum be offensive to women or someone in the past. Didn't we have a thread about it or something? Or he popped up somewhere as an example of a "subversive" comic who was really talking about something outside his frame of reference.
posted by sweetkid at 3:39 PM on September 14, 2013


oh yeah it's this thread.
posted by sweetkid at 3:44 PM on September 14, 2013


I think what I liked about this roast was that it shone at exactly what a roast is supposed to be, a temporary transport of the viewer into the inner world of a bunch of comedians and jokers, for just a little while you get to feel like one of the gang.

But... it wasn't that, at all. It was an event put on by Comedy Central to make money, using a non-comedian actor as the focal point because more people might tune in to see him than to see an esteemed comedian. There was no "gang"; this was a loose collection of available comedians who were paid to be there, put together by capitalists, that served as a simulacrum of prior decades' roasts because the programmers at Comedy Central projected it to have high viewership. This was a charade, made by profiteers, in order to appeal to the lonely and/or spiteful.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:54 PM on September 14, 2013 [6 favorites]


Without casting any judgment, I recognized paulsc's comment a paragraph in, scrolling down, as being his voice :)

To those who are like "well she 'goes there' with all of her humor, intentionally pushing buttons and offending people, why is she being all tender 'n shit here?"

I think she's basically just saying "yes, I do this, and I know it hurts other people because it hurts me, but it's what we do, and I'm just saying that yes we do have emotions and feel sad when people attack us and point out things about ourselves we maybe didn't even realize were noticeable enough to mock and make fun of."

It is what it is, the roasts have largely devolved to finding the most formulaic cheap shots against any given person and having the mostly mediocre members of the deus recite predictable written salvos. There are good parts here and there and certainly Greg Giraldo was the fucking king, but lines are crossed regularly and it's become a race to the bottom. I still watch them though, I'm a sucker for comedians on the idiot box and grew up on Comedy Central, SNL, One Night Stand, etc...I can see why a lot of people are actually genuinely offended by some of the Flava Flav bits. The Trump one was priceless IMHO. The Saget one was pretty Aristocrats-ish but not as intense gross and I dug it.
posted by lordaych at 9:42 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


And feeling sort of relatable to her, and seeing a lot of my sister's tendencies in her, I suspect she's exaggerating her reaction to some extent to create a comedic "buffer zone" of sorts and make it sound kind of ironically overblown to troll people like paulsc.
posted by lordaych at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jim Norton sucks, he has a few bits I vaguely remember being funny but his whole "sorry I OFFENDED YOU" shtick is really played out and is uncomfortably angry-white-reddit-male-ish.

I listen to stand-up constantly on my drive from work, and typically to work as well, and there are a few comedians that just piss me off and make me feel like maybe I'm a namby-pamby overreacting to a JOKE, it's just a JOKE, but it's typically the homophobic jokes (not specifically Norton and super uncommon) and privileged-white-male shrugging his shoulders and asking people what's the big deal with being offended about race and whatnot. He had this whole bit about racial profiling and says "nobody complains about positive profiling...like if someone tells you your kid looks smart, you wouldn't be offended..." and that's the foundation of his whole cliched attack on political correctness and whatnot, and I'm thinking "well if someone told me my kid looked smart and he was smart, I might assume it's because he thinks my kid looks like a 'dork,' and if my kid was actually developmentally disabled and just had glasses because he can't see well and not because he has magic genius powers, I'd be pretty pissed off, so your whole premise for being a dick kind of sucks and I really do laugh at jokes most of the time, and say and listen to cringe-worthy things.

Ralphie May pushes it in my opinion too, but Norton has an album and a whole persona around being intentionally insensitive but not quite in the way that many others have pulled off skillfully and tastefully.

I guess it's that it comes across that he's not aware of his privilege in the way that Louis CK is, and angry white males that aren't aware of their privilege often do one better and pitch themselves as oppressed.
posted by lordaych at 9:50 PM on September 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


onlyconnect: it is news to her that jokes enforcing stereotypes of marginalized people hurts their feelings, because only now are the same kind of jokes hurting her feelings?

Thanks, this expresses what was bugging me while I watched this quite clearly. It seems like Silverman is trying to have her cake and eat it too.

lordaych: I think she's basically just saying "yes, I do this, and I know it hurts other people because it hurts me, but it's what we do"

I'm not sure that makes me feel better about it. I mean, she's a comedian, she certainly has no mandate not to be a jerk, but the whole discussion just kind of weirded me out. It started with Bell calling her out on some stuff in her act that he thought was racist, and then it took a tangent into how personally it affected Silverman when people said hurtful things about her, but then it never made it back around to what I thought would be the logical conclusion, something about "gosh, it sucked to feel that way and maybe I should endeavor not to give other people that feeling." I mean, I don't need an afterschool special ending to the interview where everybody learns a valuable lesson about themselves, but it just seemed like there was a really profound disconnect between Silverman talking about how she didn't want young girls to be affected by jokes about her age and the race-oriented material Bell was talking about.

(I should add that I don't mean to suggest that Silverman needs to change her act or be censored in any way, but once she does acknowledge that comedy can be a hurtful force, I'm not sure why she seems to draw the line at feminism and not at racism.)
posted by whir at 7:07 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


About the crucifix: She used to wear a St. Christopher medal that her then-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel gave her... But this seen weirder.
posted by amro at 7:33 PM on September 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's not a crucifix. It's a cross.
posted by Justinian at 2:45 PM on September 16, 2013


Monochrome: "> No, it was definitely the "support a kid in a third world nation" angle that references the old Sally Struthers commercials. The comedic premise is based upon Aziz being Indian and shorter (implying he's child-like.) There's no comedic premise or put-down in the angle of him selling his special online.

You're right, the joke mimics the commercials. So colonialism.

But there are put-downs available to insult someone who sells their stand up special online. I'm no comedian yet I'm sure there's a joke about a comic shilling to stoned frat boys on the web — where $5 is a high price, let alone the $20 + S&H for a professional's DVD.
"

Your day job - you haven't handed in notice or anything, right?

Also, charities to feed the poor in poor countries aren't actually examples of colonialism; pretty much the opposite of it. Your outrage-generator needs calibration.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:35 PM on September 26, 2013 [1 favorite]


« Older Burning Man Explains Rembert   |   Making school better for boys. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments