Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sarah Silverman. Do I love Her?

The looming events in my life have been so overwhelming lately that I feel the need to step back and find the occasion to laugh. My daily routine has been so altered that my sleeping and eating habits have been completely disrupted. I'm prepared every summer to make the mostly enjoyable adjustments that come with increased free time, but the strange purgatory I'm currently enmeshed in is unprecedented. It's become difficult not to look ahead and live for the future. Today I had the distinct impression that I'm starting to crack just a bit. My right hand was shaking involuntarily, while my left was rock-steady. Recently I met a neuroscience professor that would probably be able to offer some insights into this phenomena. Perhaps it has something to do with the hemispheres in my brain.

Anyway, I took the time to crash out and watch Sarah Silverman's Jesus is Magic (2005). If you are not familiar with her, she is a comedian that first entered my awareness when she became a supporting player on the sketch comedy Mr. Show (an HBO series from the mid-90's that featured David Cross and Bob Odenkirk). Apparently she was a performer and writer on SNL previously, but she was fired after a single season. It's not typical for me to develop crushes on entertainment figures, but Silverman is hard to resist. She embodies several of the physical features that I find most alluring. While I certainly don't swoon whenever I watch her, M. has accused me of an indecent attraction. I gather it doesn't bother her much, as several people have commented on M.'s resemblance to Silverman. If I have to be tempted by a celebrity, I'm sure its reassuring that I've picked someone with a similar look.

Beyond her physical attributes, it should be noted that Silverman's humor is right up my alley. She incorporates transgressive (and often crude) elements into her stage performance. It seems to be a point of honor for her to pick her targets without consideration of conventional P.C. limits. Of course this is the type of material that's been mined countless times before. But Silverman's genius lies in her impeccable delivery and non-verbal communication. She is self-consciously "sassy" and her self-characterization revolves around the perception that she is completely in love with herself. She also has a cute stoner quality which allows her to get away with saying things that most people could never utter in public. How much of her act is truly reflective of her off-stage personality is difficult to determine. Yet if there wasn't an element of truth to her projected image, then it wouldn't be nearly as convincing as it appears.

I've always thought that having a close relationship with a comedian would be excruciating. The type of qualities that allow someone to be successful with stand-up comedy are generally repellent to me. While I enjoy comics that are overtly jaded and causticly sarcastic, I'm not sure how well I would bear up in the constant presence of such a personality. There's a certain "pay-attention-to-me" aspect that seems necessary for the business that would become grating in quick order. I've actually hung out with someone who went on to a measure of success as a comedian, and I can report that it was periodically difficult to be around him. He was always honing his craft. It was nearly impossible to have an authentic conversation with him. His friends formed his test audience, and so he was constantly trying to provoke a specific reaction. He was fun at parties, but a bit trying when you had to interact with him on a personal level.

All this makes me wonder if I'd even want to meet Sarah Silverman in person. Maybe I'd hate her, and never enjoy watching her performances again. It's also telling that she has chosen to consistently date other comedians, including Colin Quinn, Dave Attell, and Jimmy Kimmel. I don't know whether her choice in partners indicates that she is not superficial (none of those guys seem even remotely charismatic), or whether her colleagues are the only folks that could ever put up with her. Reportedly she is a depressive, which in and of itself wouldn't preclude her from my social circle. Obvioulsy none of this really matters for several reasons. The first is self-evident- I'm not likely to ever receive an invitation to be her friend. Secondly- Jesus is Magic makes me happy, regardless of whether or not Sarah Silverman is a good-looking asshole.

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