Sarah Silverman and the Aristocrats Joke That Went Too Far

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.

6 Responses to “Sarah Silverman and the Aristocrats Joke That Went Too Far”

  1. macromayhem Says:

    I haven’t seen her stand up in person, but she’s quite the sharp-tounged harpy. I saw a few clips from her “Jesus is Magic” routine and was provoking, by comedic standards. She even equated 9/11 to the day she found out that Starbucks Chai Latte was like 900 calories. You think you know what tragedy is then, WHAM.

    It was comedic and shocking… almost not funny. Check it our for yourself.

  2. christopherkate Says:

    Interesting research. Why did you start the research onvietnam deaths well after the first deaths which actually occured in 1957…….Why did’nt you do research in deaths based on total numbers of committed troops within combat theatre. Was it that your FACTS or distorted statistics would not have supported your distorted TRUTHS. If you are going to tell the truth as you call it. Don’t distort the statistics to support your theories. Ottherwise they are no better than the LIES you purport to dispell. From a 23 year Army VET. One who served. Doubt if you did.

  3. ethan-p Says:


    So…what do you think about the coal market in Taipei? That has about as much to do with Sarah Silverman as JBC’s graphs.

  4. ymatt Says:

    Calvin and Hobbes is so great. Thanks for posting this!!!!

  5. Sven Says:

    I like ice cream. Yum.

  6. philipc Says:

    I was going to say something to erring misled army vet, but then I take a step back and say: applause!!!! Didnt you get the joke? Andy Kaufmann would love this stuff!!! ChristopherKate is none other than the latest incarnation of our wonderful, beloved Tony Clifton, proud to have served and been served in Vegas!

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