Sarah Silverman has been pushing buttons her entire life. From the age of three, she was already making adults uncomfortable with swear words she learned from her father. Flash forward to today and she's still making adults feel uncomfortable with comedic barbs. As a woman in comedy, Silverman has spent her career acting as crudely as television will allow in an effort to challenge the notions that female comedians can't be crude, or aren't funny, or shouldn't act a certain way.
Despite her lighthearted humor and refusal to take anything too seriously, there's a lot that Silverman cares about. Quotes, stories, and anecdotes from past interviews prove that there's a lot more to Silverman than a sailor's mouth. If so, then who is Sarah Silverman? Her bio would show a formerly failed comedian who worked her way back onto screens with her own TV show, comedy specials, and movies. But Silverman's history and tidbits of trivia also display her as a stark feminist, proud Jew, talented comedian, political and human rights activist, and much more.
People often dismiss Silverman for her crass language and tendency to make people feel uncomfortable. But the reasons why Silverman's comedy makes people feel uncomfortable often say a lot about our societal stigmas and our unconscious and institutionalized prejudices. Whether you're a fan of her or not, her life's work has always been about pushing societal norms. Dismissing her as gross or rude fails to recognize the real joke. So in order to get a better perspective on what makes Silverman so funny, here are 19 interesting facts you may not know about the comedian.
Jerry Lewis is no friend of Sarah Silverman, or any woman in comedy, for that matter. The comedy icon has been in hot waters for years for his disparaging comments toward female comedians. Silverman and others went on the defensive, reportedly mocking Lewis on several occasions. Lewis's response to criticism was less than satisfactory: He changed his mind, saying women can be funny so long as it isn't crude.
Soon after Lewis's initial comments, Silverman tweeted, "Caring what Jerry Lewis thinks about women comics is like caring that grandpa doesn't like all the loud music today."
Silverman and late night host Jimmy Kimmel dated for over six years. The two comedians were often viewed as Hollywood's comedy couple, but the relationship ended in 2009. No harsh feelings, though, considering Silverman has made several appearances on Kimmel's show since his marriage to Molly McNearney. In one appearance, Silverman jokingly brought a box of Kimmel's stuff to give back to him.
In a 2018 interview, the two discussed Silverman's breakup with actor Michael Sheen. Silverman joked about getting back together with Kimmel (who is now married), saying, "It’s not fair! She gets like new, woke Jimmy. I had Man Show Jimmy."
Silverman won her first Emmy Award for a sketch comedy short that aired on Jimmy Kimmel Live! titled "I'm F*cking Matt Damon." The viral short became a huge hit and warranted a response from Kimmel called "I'm F*cking Ben Affleck."
Having broken up shortly before the acceptance of her award, Silverman still thanked Kimmel for his contributions and even joked about the breakup.
At age 21, Silverman had a very brief run on Saturday Night Live. In fact, the one-year job ended in her termination after every single one of her sketches failed to make the final cut of an episode. The closest Silverman got was a dress rehearsal, but the sketch was ultimately dropped like the rest of her writing.
Creator Lorne Michaels wound up firing Silverman via fax machine, devastating her. Although Silverman agrees that she "bombed" her time on SNL, she said it didn't ruin her career. The job upheaval actually inspired Silverman to work harder at an individual comedic career, as she admitted to herself that she wasn't ready for SNL at the time.