The more socially aware I become, the less tolerance I have for comic shock jocks. Sarah Silverman, who is marginalized as a woman in comedy, is certainly not afraid of using her heterosexuality and race privilege to attack others. In many ways, she is clueless. Silverman recently participated in the roast of actor James Franco. The nature of a roast is to attack the honoree, as well as the other people on the panel, in the name of supposed good fun. Anyone who has watched even a few minutes of a roast in recent years, knows that they are vapid and absolutely designed to be offensive. The entire point is for each comedian to be more shocking than the last and if they have to resort to an ism to hit the lowest common denominator, oh well.
Even knowing this, Sarah Silverman decided to participate. Everything was fine until a joke about age was aimed at her and suddenly, this woman who has said and done some pretty homophobic and racist things had a problem.
Me being old, first of all, at the roast? — completely took me by surprise … Because it’s personal, that is just so woman-based. I wasn’t even the oldest one on that dais. I’m the same age as fresh-faced new star W. Kamau Bell! I feel like it’s a part of, as soon as a woman gets to an age where she has opinions and she’s vital and she’s strong, she’s systematically shamed into hiding under a rock. And this is by progressive pop-culture people! You know what I mean? It’s really odd! I feel bad that it cut me. Because I should be like this about it (brushing her hand off her shoulder). I feel like your joke is that I’m still alive. My crime is not dying.
And I feel like, I just did this special and it made me think of something I said, which was — to so many women, especially when I watch Real Housewives — [muffled, through gritted teeth] which I watch, I wish I didn’t, but I do — I just want to say, “Your heartbreaking attempts to look younger is the reason your daughter doesn’t dream about her future!” (source)
Okay, Silverman has a point about age effecting women differently than men. Women are indeed shamed and attacked to a greater degree and I agree there was a sexist undertone to the jokes about her age; however, am I wrong to not give a shit about this privileged woman’s fee fees, when she spends her time attacking marginalized people for a cheap laugh and a paycheck? Oh the hypocrisy, it burns. The only reason Sarah lost her shit this time is because the joke was on her. All of a sudden, she forgot about intent, or about the fact that this was supposedly a harmless little joke meant in good fun. Isn’t it interesting how the joke suddenly is not funny when it’s aimed at her?
I have no sympathy for the woman who thought this was funny:
Yeah, she had “minstrel cramps.” It’s hilarious how she turned Blackface, which has historically been used to attack Black people into a joke. I know, it’s not racist; it’s ironic. The image is just giving off waves of White liberal progressiveness after all.
But wait, Renee… one little incident of Blackface doesn’t make her a racist does it? I know it’s context right? What if her little Blackface stunt was taken out of context? Not to worry folks, I know that calling someone a racist requires a high level of proof, of said White person in engaging in multiple racist acts to be taken seriously and therefore I offer you the following, lest you believe I’m being to sensitive:
The best time to have a baby is when you’re a black teenager.
[about her half-black boyfriend]
I gave him a compliment! All right, I told him he probably would’ve
made, like, a really expensive slave in the, like, in the olden-timey
There are only two Asian people that I know that I have any problem with
at all. One is, uh, Guy Aioki. The other is my friend Steve who
actually went pee-pee in my Coke. He’s all, “Me Chinese, me play joke!”
Uh, if you have to explain it, Steve, it’s not funny!
Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and the Jews try to pass
it off on the Romans. I’m one of the few people who believes it was the
As a member of the Jewish community, I was really concerned we were
losing control of the media. What kind of a world do we live in where a
totally cute white girl can’t say ‘chink’ on network television.
I don’t care if you think I’m racist. I just want you to think I’m thin.
On jury duty: She joked that a friend suggested writing “I hate chinks” on her
paperwork. “I wanted to do it, but then, I’m like, I don’t want people
to think I’m racist. You know, I just want to get out of jury duty. So I
filled out the form and I wrote I love chinks. And who doesn’t? “
But wait, Sarah Silverman had her fee fee’s hurt everyone. Some mean nasty man made fun of her age. Didn’t he know that Silverman is White, Cis, seemingly able bodied, straight and rich? Why isn’t all of that privilege providing her immunity from being attacked? Isn’t comedy for attacking people of colour and gay people? Isn’t it for throwing around the occasional bit of ableism. As proof, I offer more gems by Silverman.
“I only have three dollars. Oh fag. I’m sorry you guys I don’t mean fag like homosexual, I mean fag like retard.”
“Whether you’re gay/bisexual, it doesn’t matter because at the end of the day, they’re both gross.”
Does any of this mean that Sarah didn’t have a point about the ageism and sexism of the roast? Of course not. She had a point, but if she can only reflect upon an ism when it personally affects her, that is some self absorbed bullshit. It’s next to impossible to feel sympathy, or get angry that for a few moments, she understood what the butt of her jokes have felt like for years.