Best Known For
American comedian Sarah Silverman is best known for her controversial statements and performances on her one-woman show, Jesus is Magic.
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Around this time, Silverman also started getting small parts in feature films, including Bulworth (1998) and the hit comedy There’s Something About Mary (1998). She was often cast as a pushy or mean-spirited friend—a typecast she would grow to resent.
In 2001, Silverman got caught up in a media firestorm over her appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. She used a racial epithet about Asians during her routine, which caused an outcry by many viewers. A member of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans went after the show’s network, NBC, and Silverman. While the network issued an apology for the incident, Silverman refused. She received a lot of angry letters about her comment, many of which included attacks on her Jewish heritage.
Returning to series television, Sarah Silverman played Alison Kaiser on the short-lived sitcom Greg the Bunny in 2002. This fantastical program explored the backstage adventures of a children’s television show, and the title character was a rabbit puppet that was treated like a living being. True to type, Silverman played the part of an aggressive network executive.
Around this time, Silverman began performing her one-woman show, Jesus Is Magic, in Los Angeles. She managed her own unique way to crack jokes about a number of usually off-limits subjects, including the September 11th terrorist attacks and the Holocaust. The 2005 film version of the project drew a mixed reaction from critics. Entertainment Weekly called her “a bomb-tossing jester in the blasphemous-and-proud-of-it tradition of Lenny Bruce and Howard Stern,” and Variety described Silverman as the “love child of Lenny Bruce and Sandra Bernhard.” In addition to her stand-up routine, the film also has music bits, which feature humorous, off-color lyrics set to catchy tunes.
Still, there were many who thought she went too far at times in the film, especially when she sang “You’re Going to Die Soon” to a group of senior citizens at a retirement home. And many thought she went too far at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards, too. Silverman was the host for the award show and again drew fire for a joke about troubled pop star Britney Spears.
That same year, Silverman debuted a new show on the Comedy Central cable network, The Sarah Silverman Program. It blurs the lines between Silverman and her comic persona became a bit blurry with her new sitcom. Playing a fictional version of herself, she comes off as an odd combination of naïve and offensive, making all sorts of insulting remarks about people from a variety of backgrounds and orientations. Her character largely sponges off her sister Laura—who is, in fact, played by her real-life sister. Still there has been plenty of room for the fantastical on the show with music videos by Silverman being incorporated into the program. Proving there is an audience for decidedly politically incorrect humor, the show has become one of the most popular series on the comedy cable network.
In her personal life, Sarah Silverman and late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel, host of Jimmy Kimmel Live! broke up after dating for five years, but are reportedly back together as of October 2008. Back in February 2008, Silverman created a popular viral video in which she sang about her affair with movie star Matt Damon, who appears in the clip. Kimmel responded by making a video of his own, showcasing his relationship with actor Ben Affleck, a close friend of Damon’s. When People named the pair its Funniest Couple Alive, Sarah Silverman said their relationship worked "because we really, really, really like each other. He's kind and funny and maybe the most thoughtful person I know." And Kimmel said, "Sarah is funny and smart and good to look at."
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