September 11, AIDS, the Holocaust — comic and actress Sarah Silverman has repeatedly proved that practically nothing need be off limits in a joke. Take the title of her Off-Broadway show, which later became a film: Jesus Is Magic.
Or the music video, available on the blog for her Comedy Central TV show, of "The Doodie Song."
The third season of The Sarah Silverman Program began this week on Comedy Central; because Silverman intentionally goes for the long bomb on sensitive topics — religion, abortion and sexual predators are — the show has become a kind of comedy litmus test.
The character Silverman plays is self-centered, oblivious and crude — it's "a show about a woman who is an arrogant ignorant ... who goes through life very earnestly, but is kind of an A-hole," Silverman says — so the program itself strikes some audiences as clueless and tasteless.
To fans, including Fresh Air host Terry Gross, it's really funny satire.
Silverman has appeared in films including School of Rock and There's Something About Mary; she was a member of the Saturday Night Live ensemble in the early '90s.
This interview was originally broadcast on Oct. 3, 2007.