After Sarah Silverman got fired (via fax) from Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s after one season on NBC’s long-running comedy series — “I wrote not a single funny sketch,” she once said of getting walking papers as part of a regime change — the comedian headed west to Los Angeles only to experience déjà vu.
During a March 6 RushTix live stream Q&A event, Silverman shared the pink slip anecdote by detailing how she got cast on the NBC sitcom Pride & Joy not long after landing in L.A. and she suddenly found herself opposite an impressive cast in Caroline Rhea, Jeremy Piven and Craig Bierko. “I looked 15 and was hired to play a wife, mother, architect in New York City,” she says, with Bierko playing her character’s husband.
But when the script called for the couple to kiss, that’s when things got slippery as Silverman played the part too French. “I just fully did an open-mouth tongue kiss every time. I didn’t know better and nobody said anything!” Silverman said her only reference was Happy Days and “they made out hard in that,” she joked. Rather than correct her tongue, she quipped that producers must’ve thought it “easier to just fire me.” (She was replaced by Julie Warner and Pride & Joy went bust, airing only six episodes before getting canceled in May 1995.)
The one-hour RushTix event saw Silverman engage in a live Q&A, answering questions from the chat and from guests in real-time. It proved to be a wide-ranging session with the comedian offering her take on freedom of speech, federal regulations, the lasting impact of Donald Trump’s presidency, receiving death threats after a joke from her special Jesus Is Magic was weaponized as a disingenuous meme, and her role in the Grape Nuts shortage.
As for the back-to-back-firings, things ultimately worked out well for Silverman. Responding to a question from superfan Erica Holzer, Silverman said that no matter the setback, loss or disappointment she’s faced in her life and career, “It gets me to wherever I am — here.”
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) March 7, 2021
A version of this story first appeared in the March 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.