Shocking Silverman

Thanks to Duff for pointing out that at least one other person
is not impressed with Sara Silverman’s schtick. I especially agree with
the observation that there’s nothing behind her simple shock value:

As a comedian doing edgy material she lacks Chris Rock’s
stamina and energy and is further hindered by the fact that there’s not
very much going on behind her jokes beyond the element of surprise.  I
left wanting something a little more.  For all the talk of her material
being “transgressive” (a bullshit artist term) or of it challenging the
audience’s hypocrisy, there’s not a trace of either motive to be found
in her act.  Much of her stage persona is merely an acknowledgement
that the standard comedic approach to controversial subjects is no
longer very fresh or relevant because these subjects have been
endlessly trivialized by sanctimonious PC nags.  And therein lies the
appeal – generations following the sanctimonious Boomer cohort have
gotten sick of the exquisite sensitivities of the permanently aggrieved
and find some kind of relief in material that tramples on them.

One thing that does bug me about Silverman is the tendency of pompous
magazine writers to describe her act as if it is the most outrageously
daring thing ever conceived.  “Silverman crosses boundaries that it
would not occur to most people even to have,” bleats The New Yorker in a typically meaningless formulation (re-read it:  it is in fact meaningless).  If by most people The New Yorker
means the average peasant, then some variation of that bleat could be
true, but in that case it would also be true of thousands of other
comedians today.  This of course isn’t Silverman’s fault, but it’s an
assessment that could grow to overshadow her act.  Boundary Crossing
Girl is a comedic dead end.

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