Throwback Episode: Skeletons, Tig, Gay in Kuwait

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In this throwback episode, Sarah shares advice on how to get out of going to parties without lying. Plus, she helps a caller from Kuwait decide whether to move back to his homophobic home, tells stories about friend and fellow comedian Tig Notaro, and considers a run for office.

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Greg, Clint, Sarah Silverman, Aman, Speaker 7, Speaker 9, Freddie, Eric, Cody, Courtney

Sarah Silverman  00:14

Hey, y’all, it’s your best friend, Sarah. And, you know, I was thinking I actually have this ashtray. I don’t use it for ashes. It’s just, it’s decorative. And it has a Mark Twain quote in it that says, if you tell the truth, you never have to remember anything. And boy, I subscribe to that, you know, Marie, and I were supposed to go to a party last Saturday, and by Friday, we were so tired. And just so not wanting to drive an hour to where the party was. And I said, Let’s just bail. It’s a party, it’s, you’re only supposed to go if you want to go to a party, like, I’m sure they won’t care. And Ray was like, well, we should say that one of us doesn’t feel well. And I was like, No way. You know, first of all, it has to be okay to tell the truth. I feel like so many of us are knee jerk. Go to lying as excuses when there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the truth. I wrote an email and I just said, Hey, we’re actually going to be maybes because I don’t know if we want to like contend with the traffic and we’re exhausted. But we love you so much. And we hope that’s okay. And of course, it was okay, they couldn’t they’re fine with it. They have a million people coming to their house, they don’t need us there. And let me be honest, and say, I don’t like to lie. That’s true. But also, I especially don’t like to lie and say that I’m sick because I get instant karma. So you know, it isn’t all like that. I’m this puritanical person, I just think it’s easier to tell the truth. So many people just like knee jerk lie with stuff. And you don’t have to. Isn’t it funny that you have to realize you don’t have to lie. It’s just it’s way easier to live your life that way. Except if somebody makes you food, then whether you like it or not, you have to say you like it. I think all this to say, I really think your joy is your responsibility, maybe even your number one responsibility in life, and you should expect that of others as well. You know, like a really, a while ago on this podcast, I talked about having this revelation about like, being able to tell someone no, or I can’t. And, and that would be true. I really can’t. And most civilized people won’t ask you why you can’t. Because what are you an asshole? So you don’t have to tell them. But the reason that you can’t is because you don’t want to, and that’s a reason. So it’s been a real revelation to be like, Oh, God, I’m so sorry. I can’t. And it’s true. And the reason I can’t is because I don’t want to, and that’s okay, of course, after I said that on my podcast. And anyone who heard it, who I subsequently said, Oh, fuck, I can’t, would be like, Oh, because you don’t want to be like, you know, most of the time. I can’t because I’m like, fucking busy, by the way, you know, but I’m just telling you, that is also an excuse. All right, let’s go to voicemails. You left me a message.


Courtney  03:53

Hi, Sarah. It’s Courtney from Toronto. I love you so much. I love this podcast. Thank you so much for everything you do. I have been a stand up comedian for 10 years now. And a lot of my material deals with my experience as a congenital amputee. I’m missing both hands and my right leg. So it comes up, it comes out it comes on. I’m happy to make jokes and share my perspective. It’s very fun and creatively challenging for me to I feel like I’m very good at being three or four steps ahead of everyone else’s ideas of what that looks like, and they’re awful puns. You know, I think I’ve done a really good job. But I’m at a point in my career now where I want to talk about other stuff. I want to explore other material and my issue I’m having is I’m scared, right? That I’m not as funny or as good of a writer with with stuff that I haven’t had to be funny about, primarily, and I, I’m wondering if you have experience with specifically not trusting yourself and not trusting your voice when it comes to broadening your horizons? Can you enlighten me?


Sarah Silverman  05:22

I think I can. First of all your story is, though it’s incredibly unique is incredibly universal for a comedian for a stand up. Because I believe 100% of comedians become comedians out of survival. Out of saying that joke before someone else does, or literally just being able to survive childhood. And, boy, are you no exception, you’re the most, you’re a very physical embodiment of that, I would guess. And you’ve, you’ve been successful in doing that. So it’s scary to branch out into, I mean, look, it’s scary to change and grow in life, and it’s scary to change and grow. As a comic, especially because it’s your currency, you will always, you know, my guess is you’re always going to need jokes about your lack of hands and leg, you know, if only just for the fact that you want to get any distraction the audience has out of the way, I know that. Um, and right now, that’s your whole act, and there’s so much power in that. But the power fades when it keeps you from moving on, you know, you’ll always need a joke or something to get going to get them. Okay, we’re all on the same page. I know, whatever. It also be amazing to never mention it, you know, experiment. Just get stage time, just get in front of any crowd anytime, anywhere. And try shit. Try never mentioning it, try mentioning it once and going on and get try that new material, you know, you’ve had to be very brave in your life, this isn’t new to you. So you’re going to have to be brave again, you’re going to have to try new material about new things. And a lot of it isn’t going to work. And some of it will, maybe one thing out of a whole set or maybe part of two things. And you just keep getting that stage time until you have new shit that works. Just keep getting up there as much as you can, wherever you can. It’s terrifying for all comics, to drop old material and start over with new stuff or to sandwich new stuff and stuff that works because you know, you can kill with the stuff that works you know when you want to. But there’s just not growth in that. I’m going up tonight to try new stuff. That is not the some of it doesn’t even have punchlines yet. I’m just you know, you just got to do it. And you got to eat shit and disappoint crowds and be willing to do that. And if you don’t try new things, new topics, new stuff, you’re you’re gonna just become one thing. And you’re not one thing. You know, you’re so much more than the package that you’re in. And look great jokes are great jokes, you’re always going to have your self whatever that is physical, mental, you know, emotional self as fodder. All comics do That’s gold. But, you know, I know there’s more stuff that interests you or that matters to you, or even just dumb silly shit you want to talk about? Be as brave as I know, you must be and plan on bombing while you work your shit out. You know, as you try jokes that are not working. Know that this is what it is. To be a comic. You know, you can you can be the act that has 20 minutes, that’s the same forever or, and maybe make a living I don’t know. Or you can thrive and find out what’s in you. So thrive. You got this call back, you know, in six months or so and let me know how it’s going. I’m excited for you. All right, what else?


Cody  09:52

Hi, Sara. It’s Cody from Denver. I’ve always loved hearing your stories about your family and how close you are to your parents. To step parents and siblings and nieces and nephews, I’ve always loved those stories. And it’s my favorite part about your material. I have never been real close to my family. And I’m a first time dad. We’re waiting on adopting a second child and I just really want them to be close growing up. I was curious if your parents and step parents did anything in particular to encourage you guys to be close? No. Is it something that just happened naturally? Is it something that you guys had to work on as kids growing up? I’m just curious what your advice would be or what your thoughts are on that. I’m a huge fan. Thank you.


Sarah Silverman  10:39

I have no practical advice for you. I don’t because I have no kids. And I growing up I, I was the youngest. My sisters were, you know, five and seven years older than me. And then when my dad married my stepmom, I got a sister that was three months older than me. So I got like a real playmate. But before that, I was the baby. So I mean, it was like, I was just smothered in love by older sisters. And then when Jodean came, I had like a playmate, you know, and and I lived in a house with my sisters. But then also my parents got divorced when I was seven and Joe Dean and my sister Susie were with my might, Susie immediately moved in with dad, and then eventually Laura in high school moved in with dad. So for several years, I was alone with my mom. And then but Jodean would sometimes sleep over like, you know, she was also very close with my mom, it was not a usual situation. I don’t know what they did. Right to make us close. But we’re close. I mean, I own like on our sisters chain, we’re just always like, Thank God for sisters, you know, it’s like, without sisters, who do you like, spread your ass cheeks open and go? Like, is this something? Should I worry about this? You know, I don’t know what you do. And you don’t have sisters. All right, what else?


Eric  12:10

This is Eric from Harvard Square, haven’t where it’s a beautiful day. And there are lots of people walking by I’m in the Visitor Information Center, which nobody visits anymore. And so I get to watch all these people. And I’m trying to practice what you talked about a couple of shows ago, around judgment free looking at people, right, and I had a couple of questions. If somebody is really good looking, and they’re walking by is judgment free looking, sort of saying, you don’t actually say oh, they’re really good looking up to yourself. You just sort of let it go. Any then if you can give us a little bit more about how to practice this judgment free looking, I would really appreciate it because there’s so many different people around here in Harvard Square. It’s fun to look at it. I love people watching but I’m not quite sure how to practice that judgment free looking. Thanks, love the show.


Sarah Silverman  13:12

It’s hard as a comic to because I love people watching. And it’s such a big part of being a comic because you is observing the life around you. But without judgment, you know, there’s you can’t like be writing jokes, you know, but in terms of this as a as a practice in, in egoless observation. I told you about it in real time. So this is new to me too. And I don’t know the rules. Like it seems like Oh, but that’s a good thing. If you go like, wow, she’s beautiful. And look at her the way her curls flow or whatever. But no, I would guess and I would have to ask my shrink, that that’s also judgment. You know, that’s also making an assessment based on what you think. And your thoughts and your fears and your opinions and your experience. So I think what it is, is you just you just see you just observe you just go woman hat, scarf, man, person, you know you you see the things you acknowledge the things but you put no opinion on it. Just there’s no conclusion to it. There’s no thing it’s just the practice of observing without ego. And then I guess you it becomes a little easier to exist without ego being what predicts your reaction or what informs how You see others or yourself? Here’s how it has.


Clint  15:06

And we are back, trying my damnedest to not make gross mouth sounds. Hi, Sarah, this is Clint from Texas. And I have loved your podcast since day one. And I’ve loved you since discovering you in 2015. And thank you for everything you have done for people and for the world, all of the good, you’ve done, we really appreciate it. So I’m listening to a podcast currently called bad dates with Jameela, Jamil and your friends Tig Notaro, Kevin Nealon, and Susan Yingli are on there telling just that the most hilarious story I’ve ever heard about Kevin and Susan’s third date, and Tim brought you up and how happy you were whenever Kevin and Susan met and how happy Susan seemed to make Kevin and how he seemed, you know, like he was really in good spirits. And it got me thinking back to when you had TIG on I love you, America with Sarah Silverman rest in peace. And my question is, you know, how long have you known Tig Notaro? Do you have any great stories to tell about Tig? We’d love to hear him. Thank you.


Sarah Silverman  16:09

Isn’t she something? Wow. I have so many stories with TIG. I don’t know i Let’s think I met her at a gig somewhere. I want to say it was Luna lounge in New York City. But it was some gig a long time ago. And we just we met and we have been friends ever since I just it’s one of those people when you meet them and you’re like, Oh, well, we’re gonna be friends forever. And I mean, they have a million stories. But let me try to think of some way I remember one time. We were doing laundry at this place on Third Street called the washing machine. And I was I was moving her laundry into the dryer. And it’s just like you have done it was like tiny plaid shirts. It just looked like I was doing the laundry of like the tiniest lumberjack. She told me a story one time, you know where because she was like, I met her and I was kind of famous and she was not famous yet. And you know, we’re comics we give each other everyone gets. Like I have like furniture that Garry Shandling gave me when I was first starting out. I had no furniture and we all have each other’s stuff. Like I’ve like, ticking. I traded mattresses once because like my boyfriend at the time bought me this expensive mattress that was mushy and it hurts me and I like a hard mattress and she liked so we switched and so she was on Oh, she told me she was flying somewhere like to a gig and the woman was sitting next there was a woman sitting next to her and she was like, what do you do and teach that I’m a comedian and and for some reason. She said, Do you know Sarah Silverman? And she was like, yeah. And then they went on and talking and everything. And then she said later in the conversation the woman was like, like, you really know Sarah Silverman like How well do you know wear and tear goes? Well, these are her boots. You know, like, it’s not a good story. I have no idea. Tegan and her wife Stephanie Allen, who’s also a brilliant everything writer, comedian, Director, blah, blah, blah. They brought their they have twin boys and they brought them they bring them over sometimes and then we warm up the pool and you know, have a fun day and they’re twins are like, so funny and so cute. And their boys you know, and I remember Rory comes out from the garage and says to the boys, you want to drill holes in some wood in the room? Yeah, Tig Notaro she’s got a new podcast with me Martin and fortune Feemster called hams and handsome, not hampster handsome, which is great. And you should check her out. I mean, if you’re new to Tig Notaro, I would say start with I mean, there’s so much now, but I would start with her any of her appearances on Conan. Oh my god, legendary. And then, you know, obviously her specials and there’s there’s a documentary about her on Showtime. That’s amazing. I think it’s just called Tig. But yes, I could gush about her for a long time.


Aman  19:19

I’m going to chime in on Tig for two seconds. Okay. I remember the first time I met her was at you were doing a photo shoot for Jesus’s magic I think with variety.


Sarah Silverman  19:30

Yes. That like cult leader thing?


Aman  19:34

I was a publicist at the time. I was in with like underwear on my head. We all wore like different you. They needed an extra body and take came, but she was racing out. I don’t know if you remember, but she had a truck full of supplies. She was driving to New Orleans.


Sarah Silverman  19:55

Katrina happened. It actually wiped out her hometown or past […] and she got movie trailer trucks.


Aman  20:06

I think she had one that like a huge something that she was literally leaving them.


Sarah Silverman  20:11

Like some friend of a friend or whatever they filled two giant motion picture trucks trailers with food supplies stuff and drove it there. Yeah, she’s she’s one of a kind that one. All right, what else?


Aman  20:31

Hey Sarah, how are you? My name is Aman, I’m from Kuwait. I’m a huge fan of yours. And I have a bit of a conundrum. I wondered if you can give me some advice on. So I grew up in Kuwait, in a strictest kind of Muslim household. I’m a middle child, I have an older brother and younger sister and I figured out I was gay from a really early age. But once my parents found out, things just got tense between us. I decided to just take myself out of that place. And I studied abroad in Ireland and London, and ended up having to come back home to find a job. And then COVID hurt and things were just really messy with my family. And it just felt really trapped. So I ended up flying back home. I mean, back to London, sorry that I called this home. But now I’m feeling kind of guilty for leaving my family. And my brother keeps saying that I’m kind of abandoning my parents at their older age. And I don’t know if I should put myself first or if I should head back home for my family first. Being in Kuwait in general, it’s very homophobic. homosexuality is illegal. So it’s a big issue for me. Hope you can help. I love you.


Sarah Silverman  22:02

I hope I can help too. You know, this is hard because I know your parents are your parents. But look, you’re very self is illegal where they live? I don’t know. Yes, I do. I know. Don’t move back. Don’t move back. You need to live life where you are free, and can be your authentic self. And your happiness is your responsibility. Visit Kuwait visit your family. Sure. Maybe send money home if that’s helpful. And you can look can use Zoom or FaceTime with your parents. Because, boy, that’s great. You know, you may find that that kind of dedicated face to face time is actually way more intimate than when you’re home and just kind of there but not really checked in. You know. I mean, come on, we live in the future. You can live in a place where you can be free and exist exactly how you are and thrive and be proud. And still spend time with your parents from the comfort of your own. You know, London apartment. You know those there are other ways of being together without you having to be in a country where your existence is illegal. And there’s my two cents. That’s my advice. Good luck. I love you too. What else?


Greg  23:45

Hello, Sara. This is Greg. You’re cute. My question is, have you ever had crabs?


Sarah Silverman  24:00

Great question, Greg. Um, I have on two levels never had crabs like Luckily, I’ve never had crabs. The is that a venereal it’s not a venereal disease. It’s literally like teeny tiny crabs like in your crotch. I have not had crabs. I haven’t heard of someone having crabs and like since like an episode of Sex in the City even I haven’t I don’t know that. I guess people don’t go to go have crabs although people tell them. I think I have a friend that had crabs actually I’m vaguely remembering but I’ve also never tried crab just as a fun aside. Never tried seafood. Never tried fish. Never tried shellfish anyway. That wasn’t your question. But I will say that my dad had a joke. He would always say I think he made up. It didn’t have him to tell it on the show. though. He didn’t. He didn’t do a good job. But he used to say this how you get rid of crap. Do you go to the movies? And then you put popcorn, all over your pubes. And then when the crabs go to get a drink, you switch seats. That’s a little sloppy insight for you. Here’s some ads. And we’re back.


Speaker 7  25:19

Hi, Sarah. I’m calling you from California. I guess my question is just about, if we can hear more about the dynamic between you and your mother. You always talk about how you respond a lot. I forget what he said she passed away. But I’m wondering if it was before you were 25. And how that affected you? And, yeah, do you see her in your dreams? I know that was a while ago. But I was just wondering about that. Hope you’re doing well with the other recent losses in your life. And praying for you and helping you stay strong. Or, I mean, I guess you don’t have to, but eventually, feel better. Okay, love you. Well, thanks,


Sarah Silverman  26:19

I, my mom died about eight years ago. I loved her very much. But spending time with her was really stressful for me in this this camp. I’m sure this is not unique. I just I didn’t looking back and with therapy. And I understand I didn’t get a lot of what I needed from her. And I also know, her childhood experience with her mother was extremely abusive. She was horribly abused by her mother. And so in a lot of ways, I’m amazed at what she was able to not pass on to me. And in that way, she’s a she’s a fucking hero. But she struggled with depression. And you know, back then it wasn’t called depression. It was called your mother’s lazy. And I believed that I’m like, but like the human she became from the childhood she was that she had come out of is totally amazing. But yeah, I did not get what I what I needed from her as a kid in a lot of ways, but I loved her and I have completely become her in myriad ways, including my use of myriad which is correct, though unpopular. My compulsion to speak up about shit. That’s not any of my business at all. That’s I get from her. You know, like I was in line at 711. And a teenager was getting like Doritos and a orange soda. And I just was like, really? This is what you’re putting inside your human body. Almonds are the same price. That was my mother speaking through me, horrifyingly and I was really horrified when I started recognizing my mother in me. I hated it. But I’ve I kind of love it now. You know, both my parents had childhoods filled with extreme abuse from a parent with my dad with his father and my mother with her mother. So I’m like, totally fucking amazed how they both survived it and didn’t pass on a lot of that crap. You know, my dad, by the way, my fucking best friend. May he rest in peace had many years of being a fucking asshole before being the greatest guy ever. By the way. I mean, he was the funniest. And he still was the funniest when he got better. But as a child, I was pretty terrified of him. He wasn’t an alcoholic, but like alcoholics. We never knew what his mood was going to be. And it dominated the house. It was scary. He had a violent, he didn’t hit us but violent in that he was totally out of control with rage. And you just didn’t know when it was going to happen. But fucking day he changed. He really changed. I don’t know if it was the Zoloft or just like figuring shit out or both. But for a while, I had no place to put my anger over that child. old hood, you know, terror. And then I realized I didn’t need to because now I understood it. And I processed it. And I was able to just fucking be so grateful for this adorable man he had become. So we’re all listen, if we’re being our best selves, we are in process and you know my mom. There are amazing things about her totally amazing things about her and a lot of people got the best of her. The best parts of her and it wasn’t always me. You know, like she directed Theatre in New Hampshire. And all of the people in her plays called her mom. They loved her so much. And I hated that. Of course, now, I love it. But I hated that because she was my mom and I didn’t get what they got from her, I think, but I, you know, she really did the best she could and and I fucking miss her. It’s funny, Alec, I talk to myself a lot. And it’s really weird for Rory because there’ll be like, what? And I’ll be like, A, I was talking to myself. But I I like it for comedy. And creatively, I need to like sometimes I just my mouth makes noises. And you know, so but it was funny because the other night. I was like, Ma, it was a few couple weeks ago. I would go I was walking up the stairs. Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma Ma. I miss my mommy. And then I looked I got into bed and I looked in it was like midnight, and it was her birthday. But anyway, it’s not like it’s a coincidence, but or maybe something somewhere in my body. I remembered. Good story, Sarah, what else?


Freddie  31:56

I share. This is your friend Freddie. I still think you should run for office. I wish you would consider it. We need you more now than ever. So give it a shot. Thanks. Bye.


Sarah Silverman  32:16

Well, I take this as a compliment, but yeah, no fucking way. I mean, my skeletons have skeletons. I mean, not really, actually. I like to say that but you know everything about me. You know, certainly everything problematic about me is wildly public. So I actually don’t really think I have skeletons in my closet per se. But I like saying that my skeletons of skeletons. I mean, like I posted my, I remember like it came out one day that like, our all our search terms are gonna be public or something. And I was like, I went right away. I just wrote these are my porn search words. And I listed them just to like, get it over with. But I’ve talked about them before I’ve talked about them. I sang about them. In a song I’m I did a beat music video I made with Adam Schlesinger called perfect night. That was like a joke on like, you know, those, whatever, pop songs about going out to the club, and it’s just about me staying home and masturbating and going to sleep. And I’ve definitely talked about my search words and how they’ve changed over the years and like my last two specials, so I guess what I’m saying is I should run for office. Wait. This is how much I shouldn’t run for office. I feel completely politically homeless right now. I guess that’s probably why people some people do run for office actually, but whatever. I don’t want to I’m not going to it doesn’t appeal to me at all. I mean, beyond politically homeless. I feel like someone listening right now is like it’s politically unhoused. Um, besides feeling politically unhappy, I just, I really just can’t fucking look anymore. At least not lately. I just can’t even look just for my health. I can’t, I’m opting out. It hurts too much. You know, I think our number one job as humans is to take care of each other. And we’re doing a really shitty job at it. So these days for Auntie Sarah’s health. I’m really trying to just focus on the helpers. You know, Mr. Rogers. I remember he told the story. I think it was like after 911 He came back on the air for a second to help. And he told the story about a tragedy, some kind of, you know, national tragedy that happened when he was little I can’t remember what it was what the inciting incident was. His mother sat him down and told him to always look for the helpers, that as people are running away, there are always going to be some people running to, to help. And that’s what I choose to focus on these days, you know, like instead of reading stuff designed to enrage me that strategically fed to me by robots, which is what all social media is. I am going to just kind of focus on the helpers. It’s a balance. I obviously need social media for my dog videos that I like to watch them but um, how the fuck did we wind up here? Okay, well, whatever the question was, it got us here. What else? We’re next.


Speaker 9  35:43

Hi, Sara. We’re so happy your podcast is back. You had mentioned the bed word was coming to Broadway in the winter. And I was wondering those plans have changed because it strikes in the industry. And now the recent terrorism. I missed it when it was playing at the Atlantic I was really hoping I would be able to catch it on Broadway, thanks, have a good day, bye.


Sarah Silverman  35:59

You know, fingers crossed. All I know is you’re not apparently not supposed to talk out loud about your show going to Broadway because it jinxes it so, and also, you know, anything can blow up before it happens. But yeah, that’s the plan. The plan is I think we’re gonna maybe do an out of towner into you know, where I’ve become suddenly as superstitious as my theater counterparts have taught me to be. Alright everyone. Let’s see Dad, we are winding down. This is the part of the podcast when I say send me your questions. Go to It’s a mouthful but easy to remember. podcast. Right now I’m hoping you will call in with holiday questions for me. Are you dreading seeing that one Trumpy relative is? Is this going to be the first holiday season without a beloved family member like me? Let me know what’s on your mind and I will answer them in the episode that comes out on Thanksgiving day we’ll do a holiday special. Subscribe rate and review wherever you listen to podcasts. And there’s more of the Sarah Silverman podcast with Lemonada Premium subscribers get exclusive access to bonus content like a, like a whole conversation about passwords and commercials and streaming and it was a very meta conversation about all of this. Subscribe now in Apple podcasts until we meet again. Shalom. Thank you for listening to the Sarah Silverman podcast we are a production of Lemonada Media, Kathryn Barnes and Kryssy Pease produce our show our mixes by James Barber, additional Lemonada support from Steve Nelson. Stephanie Wittels Wachs1 and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Our theme was composed by Ben Folds and you can find me at @SarahKateSilverman on Instagram. Follow the Sarah Silverman Podcast wherever you get your podcasts or listen ad free on Amazon music with your Prime membership.

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