Friday, May 7, 2010

Cannonball Read Entry #24: The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee - Sarah Silverman

I honestly can't remember where I first saw Sarah Silverman. The furthest back I can think of is "The Aristocrats", which featured Sarah Silverman telling the funniest, most offensive joke in a movie that was about funny, offensive jokes. And if anything, she did it with the fewest amount of words possible.

Let me preface this by saying that rape isn't funny, and it's not a joke. If anything, it wasn't so much the fact that the joke was about rape, it was how the joke was told: The awkward silences, the deadpan expression, the slow realization with which she reaches the punchline...Any idiot can tell a rape joke. A comedian knows how to make it funny without denegrating those who've been hurt by the subject. It's a thin line, but few people can walk it the way Silverman can.

The reason why Sarah Silverman's routine, as well as her autobiography, "The Bedwetter", works as well as it does is because she knows what it's like to feel and be powerless. Her jokes aren't meant to mock those who can't stand up for themselves, but rather, to attack those who have the power, and abuse it. She's a comedic Robin Hood: She takes from the rich and gives to the poor.

For those expecting the sort of fearless, confident stories you might find in Chelsea Handler's work...Not here. If anything, it actually adds more to Silverman's narrative. She's not afraid to show her weakness and her insecurities, and it adds a layer of emotional honesty to the proceedings that I always felt was missing in Handler's memoires.

If you liked Chelsea Handler's books, you'll love Silverman's. It has all the humour and candor of Handler, but it has the one thing she never bothered trying to show: humanity. She's nowhere near perfect, but let's face it, perfection is overrated anyway.

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