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November 29, 2005

Sarah Silverman, Still Occasionally Funny

In a kinda missing the point pan of Silverman's supposed "racism," this TAP writer notes the following Silverman jokes:

She sidesteps the question [of whether she's a racist] entirely: “I don’t care if you think I’m a racist,” she says in Jesus. “I just want you to think I’m thin.”

...

“I once dated a guy who was half-black,” she says, as proof she’s a nice, progressive person. “Oh my God … I’m such a pessimist … he’s half-white.”

... The comedian kicked up a storm when she used the word “chink” in a routine on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2001. She described wanting to get out of jury duty by writing something offensive on the candidate form. A friend suggested, “I hate chinks.” Not wanting to be so racist, she claimed, she wrote, “I love chinks.”

["Apologizing" for the joke on Bill Maher's show, she said:]

“As a Jew -- as a member of the Jewish community -- I was really concerned that we were losing control of the media. Right? What kind of a world do we live in where a totally cute white girl can’t say ‘chink’ on network television? It’s like the fifties. It’s scary.”

Okay, the writer does take this shot at Margaret Cho:

Silverman doesn’t need to go into Pulpitland, where the once screechingly hilarious and now tiresomely pedantic Margaret Cho now lives. She doesn’t need to strap on her social-justice message and fuck the audience up the ass with it, as self-proclaimed fag hag and raunch queen Cho does these days.

Screechingly hilarious? I guess I missed those five minutes.

The writer identifies herself as half-Asian (she's writing for a liberal magazine, so it's always necessary to demonstrate one's diversity-quals), but she seems to be going out of her way to find offense in this absurdist gag:

But Silverman could take out the lazy jokes, like the one that draws on an old anti-Asian playground taunt that I didn’t get. “My friend Steve…actually went pee-pee in my Coke,” she riffs in Jesus. “He’s all, ‘Me Chinese, me play joke.’ Uh, if you have to explain it, Steve, it’s not funny.”

Indeed, if you have to explain it, it isn't funny. But it's not a joke about Asians; it's a joke about, well, overanalyzing a completely puerile joke and the futility of such.

As a white guy, I can certainly understand that I've never really been exposed to seriously-intended racism and so I shouldn't just say, "Oh, toughen up." But these seem pretty harmless to me. They're ironic. They're jokes about racism. They no more endorse racism than her crack, "I was raped by my doctor... being a Jewish girl, it was so bittersweet" is an endorsement of rape. [That gag recalled by a poster whom I forget.]

Doesn't mean the movie's any good, though. Just sayin'.


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posted by Ace at 11:54 PM

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