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. "Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic"

Comedienne Sarah Silverman has an assured comic delivery that appears to come, in part, from deep intuition about the structure of a joke. The other part from the confidence that stage experience builds. But, these are things you can say about more than one successful female stand-up.

Comedienne Sarah Silverman bases much of her routine on extreme allusion to sex, ethnicity and politics in ways that would give an Iraqi marine pause. Taboos and shock are her stock and trade as she relishes the production of her satiric commentary on well established prejudices. But you could say that, too, about other successful female stand-ups.

Comedienne Sarah Silverman is a fine looking lady, beautiful in fact. And, this is something I can't say (with any enthusiasm) about any other successful female stand-up comedienne I've ever seen. Not only is that a distinction, but it adds an entirely unique dimension to the gags, particularly to the personal ones with sexual undertones. It's one thing when a ho-hum looking lady makes comedy out of tits, ass, positions and preferences -- the jokes aren't coming from someone you'd particularly care to visualize in the situations being described. But it's another thing coming from a woman whose personal love life is likely to be anything she wants it to be.

Silverman is clearly not using comedy out of vicarious experience, nor from the viewpoint of a woman who has rejection and disappointment written all over her. She's not a woman who found comedy as an avenue to popularity and attention. And therefore, her sexual gags are understood in a rarer context -- from a position of choice. Which is not to say there's not much rich humor to be mined from less glamorous sources of comedic talent.

When gags about sex comes from a woman who could easily stop a room with her presence, there's a whole new level of interest being commanded. Call it the babe factor. What does a woman who looks like this have to tell us about sex? Don't we pay much more attention to an authority on a subject? And, when she digs into ethnic subjects, there's something in her delivery and presence that forces you to suspend outrage like a theatrical production forces you to suspend disbelief. Added to which is exquisite comic timing without a lot of mugging and pregnant pauses.

Obviously, she knows it and uses it, capitalizing on what her looks will allow in testing the boundaries. She's out to get away with obscenities and the use of inflammatory references that in any other context could start riots. She includes jokes on AIDS, rape and, even, ventures around the Holocaust and 9/11. You wouldn't think a pseudo commercial for the airline whose plane was first into the World Trade Tower would be comedic. But that it's understood as wry satire indicates a lot about her command of comedic technique. As for the accusation that the Jews killed Christ, Silverman, a Jew, says, "I'd do it again." A crack-up.

The film's core is Silverman's stage act performed before an audience (which was a highly appreciative one and, I suspect, totally comped), in a spotlight that imparts a flawless glow to her alluring face. But footage is added to provide a broader context for the movie, most of which is equally amusing and embarrassingly feeble.

So, let me put it this way. I admire her sensual appeal, her cunning wit, her self-awareness, her sensual appeal, and her courage. I appreciate her satiric creativity even when I think she's maybe going too far in taking out the staunchest foundations of political correctness in order to outrage us. And I'd watch her sit-com anyday.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  

Sarah Silverman's
"Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

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the very huggable (in an endearing as well as lustful way)
Sarah Silverman, comic
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