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Sarah Silverman - Biography

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Sarah Silverman - Biography

Comedian Sarah Silverman

Photo by Michael Bruckner/Getty Images

Born:

December 1, 1970

Quick Sarah Silverman Facts:

  • Silverman was born and raised in New Hampshire.
  • She did her first stand-up gig at age 17.
  • She was a writer on Saturday Night Live for one season.
  • She released her own concert film, Jesus is Magic, in 2005.
  • She stars with her sister Laura on her own Comedy Central series, called The Sarah Silverman Program.
  • In 2010, Silverman released her first book: the autobiographical The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee.

Sarah Silverman Overview:

Sarah Silverman, a 20-year veteran of stand-up comedy, combines a sweet and perky delivery with shocking, vulgar material. Her disconnected style has spawned a number of young imitators. For her act, she's developed the persona of a self-obsessed princess with absolutely no awareness of the awful things she says. Though her jokes could be considered offensive or "politically incorrect," they're actually about political incorrectness; her ignorance becomes the butt of the joke.

Her comedy also often includes songs that she writes and performs on an acoustic guitar.

Starting Out:

Sarah Kate Silverman was born in Bedford, New Hampshire, in December of 1970. The youngest of four sisters, Silverman began performing in local theater around the age of 12. Her Jewish upbringing later became a big source of material in her act. She began doing stand-up at age 17 and continued to perform around Greenwich Village while attending college at NYU.

SNL and Larry Sanders:

Silverman was a writer and featured player during the 1993-94 season of Saturday Night Live, alongside fellow comics Dave Attell and Jay Mohr. After spending an entire season without getting a single sketch on the air, Silverman was fired (via fax) in 1994.

In 1997, Silverman joined the cast of The Larry Sanders Show as Wendy, the new staff writer. Some of her story lines on the show were indirect references to her experience on SNL. She stayed on the show for its remaining two seasons.

Sarah Silverman on Film:

Though she acted in a number of films throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s (including There's Something About Mary, The Bachelor and Heartbreakers), most of Silverman's movie roles consisted of "best friend" types. She wouldn't get the chance to play the romantic lead until 2006, when comedian Jeff Garlin cast her in his film I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With.

Rather than wait for a lead role to come to her, Silverman released her own concert film, Jesus is Magic, in 2005. It consisted of material from her stand-up act and several short music videos of songs she wrote for the film.

Controversy:

Silverman's take-no-prisoners comedy style has caused minor controversy throughout her career. During an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2001, she used a racial slur for Chinese people as part of the punchline to a joke. Though her deliberately clueless bigotry was the point of the material, the Media Action Network for Asian Americans expressed outrage and asked for an apology. Silverman, explaining that the comment was a satire of racism, refused to apologize.

MTV = Success:

By 2007, Silverman had become one of the biggest names in stand-up comedy. She hosted both the Independent Spirit Awards and the MTV Movie Awards, as well as opened the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. She's also a regular guest on the late-night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Silverman's own Comedy Central series, The Sarah Silverman Program, premiered in early 2007. It co-stars her sister, Laura, and comics Brian Posehn and Jay Johnston (both formerly of Mr. Show), and features the comedienne playing a spoiled and narcissistic version of herself. After three seasons, it was canceled in 2010.

Additional Sarah Silverman Facts:

  • She's one of the only stand-up comics to land on Maxim magazine's "Hot 100" list, where she appeared in both 2006 and 2007.
  • Silverman made regular appearances on early seasons of the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show with Bob and David.
  • She appeared on the Comedy Central roasts of both Pamela Anderson and Hugh Hefner.
  • Silverman won a Creative Arts Emmy in 2008 for her popular web video, "I'm F-cking Matt Damon."
  • She received a 2009 Emmy nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for her performance on The Sarah Silverman Program.

If You Like Sarah Silverman, Check Out

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