Sam Anderson has written an interesting profile of comedienne Sarah Silverman. It’s in the latest Slate: Irony Maiden – How Sarah Silverman is raping American comedy.
I especially liked this part:
This summer, she got into trouble in a venue that was supposed to be trouble-proof: The Aristocrats, a documentary that challenged 100 comedians to offend its audience as ingeniously as possible. While most of the comics went straight for the “piss-shit-suck-fuck” paradigm, which very quickly became about as offensive as a newborn koala, Silverman turned the old-school joke against an iconic old-schooler. She implied, via an emotionally supercharged soliloquy full of loaded pauses, that she had been sexually abused by the 79-year-old show-business institution Joe Franklin. At the end, she looked straight into the camera and said, dead seriously, “Joe Franklin raped me”—an anti-punch line that completely paralyzed the theater I was at. Instead of laughing, we were all stuck trying to decide whether this was some new species of joke or just plain old slander. When Franklin threatened to sue soon after the movie was released (“I didn’t like the nature of that wisecrack”), it made the joke strangely better. Silverman was the only comic in the film who met the challenge of the joke: She pushed it too far.