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Sarah Silverman: Forty-Hour Waking-Week

Sarah Silverman
Courtesy of the Artist
Sarah Silverman

When quarantine first began, comedian Sarah Silverman knew how she would pass the time.

"I just had this instinct to go to Gamestop and buy a console," she told Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton on NPR's Ask Me Another. Her goal, she explained, was to fill her waking hours with Call of Dutyand sleep as much as possible. "A lot of people have a forty-hour work-week, I had a forty-hour waking-week."

Silverman used her gamer headset to Zoom in from her home in Los Angeles, sitting in front of a wall filled with photos of friends and colleagues from the comedy world.

Her standup, tackling racism, anti-semitism and sex, can be controversial — or, as she deadpanned, "a little divisive." As an actor, however, she's appeared in more family-friendly fare, starring alongside Jack Black in School of Rockand voicing roles in Disney's Wreck-It Ralphand the long running animated series Bob's Burgers. Her latest project is a podcast titled... The Sarah Silverman Podcast.

Although Silverman achieved celebrity status early in her career, she's known to keep her living simple. She said her business manager once told her she spends the least money on clothes of "any of his clients, male or female."

She said when aspiring comics ask for advice, she tells them, "Keep your overhead low." Not just for financial reasons: "You can't be a comedian and be funny and live a totally detached life where you don't do errands and stuff."

Silverman also spoke about her postponed Broadway musical The Bedwetter, with music and lyrics penned by the late Adam Schlessinger. And she explained her love of the Law & Orderfranchise, the subject of her first Ask Me Anotherchallenge.

Interview Highlights

On not overthinking her podcast title:

Whatever clever name you give it, people are just gonna say, "Oh, did you hear the Sarah Silverman podcast? Do you listen to Marc Maron? Do you watch Samantha Bee?" No one's saying, "Did you see Last Week Tonight?" So I just skip the middleman. I like to think of myself as creative, but a realist.

On learning to play video games at the beginning of the pandemic:

Of course, I knew Nintendo 64 from years ago. But this was a whole new thing, I had to get a whole new muscle memory for various, myriad buttons and things. And I really just got into one game, Call of Duty: WWII. But, yeah, my plan, and I think it was a good one, now I'm busy and life is taking hold, but for those first three months, my plan was: I slept as late as I could, I played video games, and I went to bed as early as possible.

On postponing her musical The Bedwetter , based on her memoir of the same name:

My dad keeps saying, "How much longer do I have to stay alive?" You know, he's been waiting, it's been an eight-year process. It takes a long time to do a musical. He finally had his tickets and his flight. You know, so it's just, "Dad, you gotta hold on a little longer." I mean, he's fine, he's not sick. He's 83, he goes on this app that calculates how much longer you're gonna live. He's like, "I only have six more years!"

Heard on Sarah Silverman, Sarah Paulson, Rickey Thompson & Denzel Dion: Influencers

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