Sarah Silverman Says She's 'Horrified' by Her 2007 Blackface Sketch: 'I Can't Erase It'
Comedians are known for pushing the envelope when it comes to social issues — but Sarah Silverman recognizes that she crossed a line when she did an entire episode of her own Comedy Central show in blackface.
In a new interview with GQ, the comedian said she’s “horrified” by sketch, which was the plotline to a 2007 episode of Comedy Central’s The Sarah Silverman Program called “Face Wars.”
“Comedy by nature is not at all evergreen,” she told the magazine. “So if you’re doing it right, you look back at your old stuff and you’re horrified. I don’t stand by the blackface sketch. I’m horrified by it, and I can’t erase it. I can only be changed by it and move on.”
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Silverman, who now stars in her own Hulu talk show, I Love You, America, said at the time, she was actually “praised” for that kind of comedy.
“It made me famous! It was like, I’m playing a character, and I know this is wrong, so I can say it. I’m clearly liberal,” she said. “That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism. I don’t get joy in that anymore. It makes me feel yucky. All I can say is that I’m not that person anymore.”
Asked whether she feels funnier now, the comedian said she’s “just fundamentally different.”
“You have to take a chance and go with where you are and what is funny to you now,” she said. “When comics really establish a thing and they get famous for it, a lot of them are really terrified to change. Then they become caricatures of themselves and it can’t be who they still are. It’s a risk you have to take, or it’s just gonna end up being embarrassing.”
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“It’s forever there and it looks [like] it’s totally racist out of context, and I regret that,” she said. “But there’s nothing I can do about that.”