Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Bedwetter by Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman. The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee. New York, Harper, 2010.

Silverman discussed her troubled youth as a bed wetter into her teen years, the resulting depression, and the 16 Xanax daily that led to her missing three months of school.

Silverman was inspired while in high school by seeing Wendy Liebman performing her standup comedy at Stiches Comedy Club. Silverman decided to try performing comedy at an open mike show. She states she wasn’t nervous and wonders if bedwetting had removed her fear of facing shame.

After Silverman’s freshman year in college, she quit to pursue standup comedy fulltime. At age 22, she was hired to be a writer and actor on “Saturday Night Live” (SNL).

The SNL writers were mostly a mixture of former writers “Harvard Lampoon”, Harvard University’s humor magazine, and standup comics.

SNL writers would present scripts to be read by the actors on Wednesday. The scripts would be rewritten on Thursdays. Rehearsals would begin on Thursday with continual revisions up to the live Saturday broadcasts.

Once in an SNL meeting, while playfully poking at Al Fraenken’s hair, she accidentally stabbed his scalp. She also had none of the sketches she wrote accepted for broadcast. She was not rehired for the next season.

Silverman refuses to overanalyze her comedy. She believes if one becomes too aware of what one is doing that some of one’s comedic edge is lost. She has been criticized for her humor on racial themes and jokes on celebrities. She hopes people will move forward and be less sensitive.

Silverman did the movie “Sarah Silverman” Jesus Is Magic”. She and the writers then created a pilot for what became “The Sarah Silverman” TV series.

The conclusion of a writers strike required the show to reduce its budget by one third. They decided they would rather do 22 good shows they believed in than to rush to deliver more shows but with less quality.

Silverman is known for her Internet video “The Great Schlep” which encouraged young Jews to contact their relatives in Florida to vote for Obama for President in a state where the race was tight. Another Internet video “Sell the Vatican, Feed the World” received much discussion.

In 2009, Silverman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Comedy Series Lead Actress.

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