Comedian Sarah Silverman said during an interview on CBC Radio One’s “Q with Tom Power” that she cringes at some jokes from her past, but claimed it’s a normal learning process as time goes on.
Silverman has made a career out of using shock-value in her comedy, from saying, “I hope the Jews did kill Christ, I’d do it again” in a standup routine, to wearing blackface in a past comedy skit. In a recent interview she noted that many of her past jokes make her uncomfortable, but she thinks that comedians and America in general need to accept societal progress.
“Gee, comedy is not evergreen,” she said the interview. “If you’re not looking back at what you did 10 years ago and cringing, you’re probably doing something wrong.” She spoke about her 2005 standup special, “Jesus Is Magic,” and recounted, “There’s, like, N-word, hard R, the R-word, is that enough to say? M-word for little person.”
“I’m not saying this out of fear, but just out of being mindful because once you learn something, you can’t un-ring that bell unless you decide you’re going to just know something cuts people and say it anyway,” she added.
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She also claimed that she was not her authentic self in her past comedic portrayals, but playing a character with “ignorant arrogance.” She went on to say that she felt punished when President Trump was elected, and she saw “ignorant arrogant” qualities in him as an actual person.
Silverman said that learning from the past and growing is a natural process that entertainers and society as a whole must accept.
“I’m into growing, changing, all that s—, I’m into it but people-it is a human instinct to be very afraid of change… even just with how upset people are about pronouns is like, so odd to me, and they’re very funny I mean listen, I want to get your pronouns right, I’m so down with it and I f— up maybe 100 percent of the time, but I’m trying, and I know it will eventually be without thought.”
“Even the people fighting that today, it will be muscle memory for them in five years, like it’s so odd when they don’t see the pattern of resisting and then it just being normalized,” she added.
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Silverman has spoken about cancel culture before during an episode of her own podcast.
“In this cancel culture, and we all know what I’m talking about, whether you think there is one or there isn’t one or where you stand on it, and there’s a lot of gray matter there, but without a path to redemption, when you take someone, you found a tweet they wrote seven years ago or a thing that they said, and you expose it and you say, this person should be no more, banish them forever,” Silverman said. “They’re going to find someplace where they are accepted and it’s not going to be with progressives, which ironically means to be changed, progress.”
She later went on to say, “If we don’t give these people a path to redemption, then they’re going to go where they are accepted, which is the mother—–g dark side.”