Silverman pushes comedy’s edge

"The Sarah Silverman Program" is back for its third season after being picked up by Logo, a gay and lesbian themed cable channel. Low ratings had put the show’s future in doubt until the deal was able to renew Silverman for 10 new episodes.

"They saved us," Silverman said. "We would not have a third season if it wasn’t for them, and they asked us for nothing in return."

Silverman, who’s about to turn 40, said she’s staying vital by making comedy and reaching out to younger comedians. This season takes a page from Silverman’s real life compared to the last two seasons.

"There’s actually a couple of episodes where you’ll see a glimmer of it," Silverman said. "Where I get obsessed with my neck, that comes from truth. This is my take on the neck; why isn’t there bone there? There’s so much important stuff in your throat, why isn’t it protected by some sort of extended ribcage or bone. It freaks me out. It’s so easy to get to… A couple of the things this season came from my fear of necks and how necks are so vulnerable. Because we wrote that in, I had to get [hit by] a Frisbee in my neck."

Other things you should expect to see this season includes Silverman getting shot out of a cannon, flying and building competing Holocaust memorials with the character who plays her younger sister (who is her real-life older sister).

"Hers is respectful, with a monument made out of recovered Nazi gold," Silverman said. "Mine has one of those flying money machines, where you stand in the booth."

That’s one example which showcases the edgy humor that has characterized the comedian’s success. Silverman said she doesn’t consider what might offend others, only what makes her laugh.

"We’re not looking to offend anybody, but we’re definitely looking to make ourselves laugh and put stuff out there that makes us laugh," Silverman said. "Once we put something out there, and it’s in the air, that’s for the people in the audience to decide what it means—to infer within the context of their own life and their own experiences. It doesn’t make sense in comedy to try to not offend anybody because you never know what’s going to offend people. That all depends on where they’re coming from. Once we put it out there, it’s for the audience to say if its offensive or not offensive or racy or this or that."

Though she said she does consider some things off-limits. Chief on that list is meanness, especially toward fuller-figured females; the same doesn’t extend to men though.

"If something strikes me as meaner than it is funny, then I don’t want to do it," Silverman said. "I never have the intention to make anyone feel bad. That doesn’t turn me on at all. The one thing I do then to say is I don’t like fat jokes about women unless it’s so crazy funny. It usually just bums me out when people make fat jokes about women… The reason I don’t really care about jokes about fat men is because we live in a country where fat men still deserve love. Fat women, at least in white America—it’s like they don’t deserve love or something, and that’s scary to me and upsetting."

Silverman said the writing on the third season has definitely developed, and that characters are much better defined in the coming 10 episodes. "The Sarah Silverman Program" airs Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. on Comedy Central, and then again Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Logo. Silverman is also about to release her first book, a memoir entitled "The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee," on April 20.

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