Reviewing a film of a stand-up comedy performance is difficult to do–a good reviewer doesn’t want to give away any of the jokes and such a film consists of nothing but jokes.In the case of “Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic,” it is even more difficult because Silverman (whom you may remember from “The Aristocrats” as the one who told the infamously dirty joke from the point-of-view of one of the actual performers and concluded it with the offhand statement “Joe Franklin raped me,” which should have been the catchphrase of the summer) brand of humor is based on the type of material that is likely to come across as either not funny at best or deeply offensive at worst–in one early joke, she claims “I was once raped by a doctor–which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.” I suppose I could analyze what makes her humor work–chiefly her skewed multi-level approach in which she seemingly embraces certain cliches, stereotypes and attitudes in order to deflate them as well as those who suggest that such things should not be used for comedic material. I could discuss her on-stage persona–an intriguing blend of self-aware sexiness and take-no-prisoners attitude that hasn’t been seen since the days when Sandra Bernhard tore up the stage. I could even mention the amusing musical numbers, all of which feature catchy lyrics that would make even the “South Park” kids blush.
I could do all of those things but none of them would do Silverman and her material (amusingly directed by Liam Lynch (of “Sifi and Olly” fame) much justice–analyzing comedy, as a wise man once said, usually ends up with the same results as cutting a drum open in order to find out what makes the noise. Instead, I will merely point out the fact that I laughed loudly and consistently throughout the 72-minute running time and left wanting more. I will point out that Silverman demonstrates that she is one of the funniest and most interesting comedians of any gender currently at work today. And I will finally point out that her closing rendition of “Amazing Grace” must be seen (and heard) to be believed.Those in the mood for comedic material that seeks to both laugh and provoke are advised seek it out. Those who prefer their comedy to be a little more docile are advised to look elsewhere to satisfy your entertainment needs.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival. For more in the 2005 U.S. Comedy Arts Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.