Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic
DVD review by Alan Green
I first noticed Sarah Silverman when she appeared in "There's Something About Mary", and it was clear even from the few minutes she was on screen she would be a star. She had done a lot of work before TSAM but I had never noticed her in anything except that appearance in "Seinfeld", I think, but it didn't really register at the time.
I don't like comedy. I never have. It's just not funny. "Jesus is Magic", however, is a hybrid of live stage show cut with music videos and short films which is funny in an outrageous way that is impossible to describe, even though her style seems like a tangible thing and makes a writer feel as if they should be able to describe it with words. I'm at a loss. I can say, though, that I couldn't watch "Jesus is Magic" in one sitting because it's too funny. I was laughing too much and had to take a break. I don't think I've ever read anybody say that about a comedy DVD before. This could be the first time. So, even though I can't find the words to describe Silverman's tangible-like comedy, I did need to take a break halfway through her DVD and that says a lot.
Most comedians are afraid. To compensate, they use coarse language for simple gags, but it only comes off embarrassing and superficial. Silverman is crude and endearing, honest and self-deprecating, all the while pointing out society's ridiculous shortcomings. She is razor-sharp and cuddly-cute, and unafraid of any subject matter. She is a cheerleader guiding the audience through a minefield of touchy subjects, and we have two choices; squirm in our seats and sweat, or laugh like fools while we get blown to bits.
She delivers her material as if off the top of her head, and never telegraphs a joke, or tightens up during the delivery, or braces herself in case the joke flops (which never happens, except maybe once, but only for a few seconds). This woman knows she's funny, knows she's good, and doesn't have to try even a little. Silverman wins us over from her very first sentence and doesn't let up for a moment (except maybe once about 45 minutes in, but only for a few seconds).
Like most comedians, Silverman's work is fueled by anger, but in her case the anger is so refined that it imitates intellect, and is somehow transformed into a joyous derision, so that we laugh with her at the most heinous crimes the world has to offer, and love every minute of it, and love her for her brilliant smooth delivery, as in her joke: If God gives you AIDS, make lemonAIDS.
This she sells with fluid smoothness, along with an examination of a bevy of sensitive topics: Rape of children. Religion (including killing Christ again should the opportunity present itself). 9/11. Killing (Ethiopian) babies for jewelry. Sex with children. Being retarded. The rape and murder of grandparents. Childhood drunkenness. Jews (as separate from religion). Anal sex. The Holocaust. Drug use. Blacks, Asians, gays, Nazis, men with small penises. All things hokey. She hits us from all sides with multi-layered jokes with punch lines within zingers within twists, delivered in sections and parts building laugh upon laugh until the audience is helpless.
Silverman's comedy works from the inside out, and will only appeal to people honest enough to admit they're not perfect (but certain the next guy is a schmuck). One doesn't feel distanced watching her act--it's as if she were telling you her innermost secrets over a beer in a bar.
Silverman represents an evolution in comedy. Eddie Murphy is to Don Rickles (or Shecky Green, Buddy Hacket, et al) as Sarah Silverman is to everyone else working today. She is more modern, more relaxed, more offensive, and somehow, charming.
If anything in this review offended you even the slightest bit, do not watch "Jesus is Magic". Sarah Silverman, you've got balls and you're better than any three twats combined. (I'm just saying...is all).