Recently, on a trip to my local Lackluster Video, much to my glee I noticed they had the first season of the Sarah Silverman Program from Comedy Central on DVD. So being that I don't have cable and never have had the chance to see the program, I swiftly purchased it, got it home, unwrapped it, and dug in. Fortunately, I was not disappointed, as this Sarah Silverman show lived up to and in some cases exceeded my high expectations.
What you may be wondering is, in what ways does the Sarah Silverman of the tv show parallel the real Sarah Silverman? For example, on the show, Sarah and her sister are orphans who lost their parents at a very young age, and Sarah occasionally has flashbacks of what she does remember, a very abusive childhood. Is any of this based on reality, and where does Sarah's deadpan, ironical view of the universe come from? Well, I did some research to unravel this mystery and this is what I found:
tv.com relates the following biographical information regarding our new hero:
"Born to Jewish-American parents Donald and Beth Ann Silverman in Bedford, New Hampshire, she has three sisters. Silverman suffers from clinical depression, of which she has been very open about in interviews and her comedy."
So, hopefully, the aspects of the show regarding a tumultuous childhood and abusive parents were exaggerated. However, a line from the "Doody Song" from the "Officer Jay" episode that goes "I always take my pills with herbal tea" seems to be a reference to the battles with depression. Let's learn a little bit more...
Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia recounts this information: "Silverman is very open about her lifelong battle with clinical depression, crediting her freedom from attacks of emotional despair to her use of prescription Zoloft. She also says she doesn't want to have biological children to avoid the chance that they might inherit her depression."
www.allamericanspeakers.com/speakers/Sarah-Silverman sheds further light for us with some background on Sarah, as well as the following anecdotal information:
"A middle-class New Hampshire kid from a family with four daughters, Silverman is, yes, the class clown. She starts doing open-mike nights early. By age 17 she's playing the old Stitches next to the Paradise on Comm Ave. When she gets to NYU, she works every weekend for a year leafleting for New York's Boston Comedy Club on Macdougal Street, where many adventures ensue. On the corner with Sarah every weekend is a guy in a chicken suit working for the Pluck You all-night chicken stand. One night a bunch of drunken high-school guys start to hassle the chicken. The insults turn into a shoving match and suddenly, instinctively, Sarah's between the chicken and the thugs, telling the thugs to back off. "Believe me, in no way did I think I was being heroic or gallant. I just figured I'd be adorable and they'd stop." Instead, she gets cold-cocked -- boom, flat out cold on the sidewalk."
So, long story short, my research indicates that the controversial, yet hilarious comedienne that we all know and love was molded into the brilliant satirist and performance artist we see before us today, by three decisive factors: 1.) a possibly difficult childhood, 2.) a lifelong battle with clinical depression, and 3.) a vicious brouhaha in which she was injured defending a guy in a chicken suit from brawling drunken street thugs.
Well, this is an important issue and I fear I have barely scratched the surface, so stay tuned, this is only Part One of a series on Sarah Silverman and the Sarah Silverman Program.