Sarah Silverman on Ranting Rabbis, Doing 'Louie' and Her Kid-Friendly Killer App (Video)
She's moving into family territory with "Wreck-It Ralph" and a new babysitting program for the iPhone and iPad, but this dangerous comedian has still got an edge.
“I just laughed,” Silverman says of her initial reaction. “He’s such a piece of work. He was like, ‘I thought seven people would read it. I didn’t know!’ I’ve never had so many people come up to me to say, ‘I wish your dad was my dad!’ It makes me so proud.”
The good rabbi will in all likelihood have to hold his breath. Silverman has publicly declared that until all same-sex couples are afforded the same right, she refuses to marry -- she calls it a “cult that doesn’t include everybody.” She also has expressed a reluctance to having children for fear they may inherit the depression that runs in her family.
Which isn't to say she's closed to love. Silverman ended her five-year relationship with Jimmy Kimmel in 2008 -- a union that produced one hit song (“I’m F---ing Matt Damon”) -- and was romantically linked to Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin in 2010, after introducing herself with a direct message on Twitter. Last year, she started dating Kyle Dunnigan, an actor and comic who’s a regular on the late show circuit. The two are still together.
It was her breakup with Kimmel that served as fodder for Susan 313, a comedy pilot from last year's development season about a woman regaining her independence after leaving her boyfriend of 10 years. The script, co-written by frequent collaborators Dan Sterling and Jon Schroeder, was ordered into production by NBC and had good buzz behind it: Jeff Goldblum played the ex, and comedian Tig Notaro -- whose profile later soared following a comedy set performed hours after being diagnosed with breast cancer -- was cast as Sarah’s neighbor. Silverman says she wanted the show to be different from her Comedy Central series, the sunny-but-oh-so-dark The Sarah Silverman Program.
“I didn’t want it to be a certain amount of jokes per page," Silverman explains. "I wanted it to be emotional and real. I remember telling [NBC Entertainment chairman] Bob Greenblatt that I wasn’t worried about being on network because I want to say ‘pussy’ or something. I just want to be able to be far out and have you trust that people in Poughkeepsie will still be into that.”
But Susan 313 never made it past the pilot stage. Despite Greenblatt’s enthusiasm for the project, Silverman says the executive, who had just taken over at the struggling network, was “beaten to a pulp” by other powers that be. (“Every shit we took had to go through four hoops” is how she puts it.) NBC ultimately went broader with its comedy slate, picking up the vet-set Animal Practice, which already has been canceled, and the Jimmy Fallon-produced Guys With Kids, which earned a full-season order along with the Matthew Perry grief-counseling sitcom Go On.
The rejection stung, but Silverman thinks that network TV was probably the wrong place for her. “I was like, ‘This isn’t what I want. I don’t think I want the network-TV-sitcom life.’ I just felt like, I don’t want to make 22 of these. I don’t want to make 22 of anything in a year. I’m a quality-of-life person.”
Silverman says she sees herself more suited for cable TV, doing 10 or 12 episodes per season of a show in the vein of HBO’s Girls or FX’s Louie -- Louis CK’s Emmy-winning meditation on death, life and everything in between. Silverman appeared in a Louie episode this past season, in which both comedians -- friends for years in real life -- talk on the phone as they marvel at decades-younger versions of themselves on TV. Sarah looks the same -- perhaps even more beautiful now -- while Louis is virtually unrecognizable from the svelte, ginger-haired kid slinging jokes on the screen.
“First of all, [Louis] made it be ‘Retro Comedy of the ‘80s’ and I was like, ‘I was not doing comedy in the ‘80s. I don’t need you to age me more! It was the early ‘90s!’” she recalls. The scene was shot without the benefit of the vintage stand-up footage, which Silverman only saw once the final cut had aired: “Oh my God, when I finally watched it, they put the videos in there. It was so crazy to watch,” she says. “[Louis] especially. That was the kid I met!”
As for the future, Silverman is continuing in the digital realm with a new YouTube channel but says she definitely has plans to return to TV -- though she has no idea yet when, where or what form it will take.
"I'm in daydream mode right now," she says. “I usually sit in my chair where I’m sitting right now in my living room and just daydream until it hits me.”
"Uncle Sarah" – a "musical comedy fun house of funny playtime magic!" -- is available for purchase at the iTunes Store.