Wearing a rainbow-striped hoodie and a “Beer Nuts” baseball cap, Sarah Silverman strode into our Burbank recording studio ready to talk.
It had been just a few weeks since Hulu had unceremoniously canceled her weekly show I Love You, America and the comedian’s emotions were still a bit raw. But her unflappable sense of humor was fully intact as she recounted to me how she found out the bad news and ended up revealing more than ever before about how the streaming service treated her over the past year.
During our long conversation for the first-ever episode of my new podcast The Last Laugh, Silverman also spoke frankly about what it has been like to see her friend Al Franken accused of alleged sexual misconduct and attempted to clarify the controversial comments she made to Howard Stern about Louis C.K. She reflected on some of her most iconic roles and looked ahead to what comes next.
On the ‘heartbreaking’ cancelation of I Love You, America
“It came as a surprise. We were so sure we were getting picked up. We’re all super bummed about it. I know that they did love the show, but I think what it cost compared to its popularity or the eyes that they had on it didn’t—you know, the people that make the decisions there don’t have any connection to the show. And it is just so heartbreaking because I kind of feel cut off at the knees.”
On the ‘bullshit’ allegations against Al Franken
“I can only just be honest and say, if I didn’t know Al Franken, I’d probably be like yeah, go girl, me too, fuck that shit. Because I do know him, I don’t feel that way. So maybe I’m too close to it and just seeing the dots not the big picture. But I just can’t believe it. The U.S.O. thing is bullshit and if you watch the sketch they did, give me a fucking break. He may be guilty of doing pedestrian comedy, I guess, but he apologized and she accepted his apology. But it does seem that the Republican Party—and I don’t think this is something to emulate at all—doesn’t apologize, denies everything, admits nothing and everyone keeps their job. And I hate that that’s what we teach our children. But if you apologize and say, ‘I want there to be an ethics investigation on me and I want to do everything by the book, this is my truth but I’m open to [the fact] that these women felt this way, I want to make this right,’ I don’t know why that person then loses their job.”
On looking like an ‘asshole’ after commenting on Louis C.K.
“My experience with Louis as a teenager perhaps informs his pathology a bit. But in no way is it analogous to crimes, to assaults, he subsequently committed that mirror it, that come from it. I was just speaking about my own experience. And the headline was, ‘He jerked off in front of me and I didn’t care.’ And that’s so cold and insulting and awful to the women who were hurt by his actions. So if you clicked on it, they quoted me. But if you didn’t, and nobody does, it just makes me look like an asshole. And me looking like an asshole is the least of it. It hurt people and there was stuff that I said that I don’t think I was articulating the spirit of what I meant.”
On performing stand-up about being single without sounding ‘hacky’
“It’s such an ‘80s comedienne premise, but then it was also my truth so I was trying to reconcile with it. It’s hard to not be meta about it, because just to say ‘I’m single’ on stage. There’s something that feels so inherently hacky about it that I feel like I have these guilt pangs and then it just becomes a whole other bit. It’s always weird to navigate. I’ve always been in relationships for big chunks of time and every time I come out I’m like a generation older and I don’t know what my station is.”
Next week on The Last Laugh podcast: Arrested Development and Veep star Tony Hale.