Sarah Silverman is many things, but a slacker she's not. Her accolades and accomplishments affirm she's remarkably prolific, making her mark as an actress, author, writer, producer, and often-controversial comedian. Indeed, her talents have found her involved in any number of realms, including film (two, The Book of Henry and Battle of the Sexes, are due for release next year), voice-overs for the Emmy-nominated animated series Bob's Burgers, a recurring role on Showtime's Masters of Sex, and the YouTube comedy collective JASH.
The kudos don't end there. Her role as Laney Brooks in the film drama I Smile Back earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination earlier this year for Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role. Her memoir The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee became a New York Times best-seller. Her album We Are Miracles, culled from her HBO special, brought her Grammy consideration for Best Comedy Album, plus there's the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for her Comedy Central show, The Sarah Silverman Program.
Not bad for a girl who grew up in New Hampshire and got her start as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live.
Speaking by phone from her home in Los Angeles, Silverman seems remarkably subdued, a far cry from the fearless comedian seen in her standup specials or her role as Jerry Seinfeld's mirror-image girlfriend on Seinfeld. "I'm generally so lazy it's not even funny," she confesses. "I'm desperate for sleep at any given moment. I do [comedy] because I love it. I really only do the things I really want to do."
Yet, as evidenced by her extensive list of credits, there are apparently plenty of things the 45-year-old performer wants to do.
"I just like expressing myself as I see fit, which I encourage everybody to do," she insists. "I'm really interested in human nature and vulnerability, what makes people tick, the dynamic of human relationships, and all the stuff I learned in therapy. That goes well into comedy and really well into drama, so I really get a kick out of both sides of that. They're not very different."
Silverman's much-publicized appearance at the Democratic National Convention this past summer found her sharing a stage of another sort. She made national news when, during a speech in support of Hillary Clinton, she chastised dissidents intent on disrupting the proceedings. She was invited to appear by Bernie Sanders' wife Jane, who, knowing Silverman had initially been a Sanders supporter, considered her an ideal individual to press for party unity. It became, however, unexpectedly challenging.
"It wasn't something I planned on," she recalls. "I was looking at them screaming, and so I was just pleading with people in front of me who were so anti-Hillary and everything the GOP was hoping for. I tried not to be us-and-them about it. There was no planning put into it. It was all in the moment."
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Silverman pauses. "People take sides like it's the Yankees and the Red Sox," she reflects. "It's more nuanced than that. We're listening to different sets of lies from different sets of people. Ultimately, most citizens want the same things and have the same priorities. Everything is quick bait for the truth. There's not a lot of money in truth, and that's probably the biggest deficit in the country now."
That's a side of Silverman the public often doesn't see. Though she's freewheeling in her live performances, her thoughts are shared with sensitivity.
"I go with my gut," she suggests. "The mind/body connection is a real thing. Otherwise, where would nervous diarrhea come from?"