(photo credit: REUTERS)
When Sarah Silverman sauntered onto the Saturday Night Live stage, sporting her usual androgynous yet subtly alluring look, consisting in this case of matchstick black pants, skinny tie and a lady blazer, she boasted, “Everyone says it’s pretty crazy to host Saturday Night Live, but is it really crazy? I am a pretty big comedian. It kind of makes all the sense of the world.”
The Emmy award-winning comedian can certainly say that today. But when she began her short-lived stint as a writer on the program in 1994, nobody predicted future hosting gigs on the horizon. Silverman – who failed to write a single sketch that actually aired – barely lasted a year on the famed variety series.
Despite the 20-year lapse, it appears that shortcoming of Silverman’s still holds true today. Silverman’s characteristic raunchy, bombastic and over-the-top brand of humor was dialed down several notches (presumably so she could pass network censors).
While Silverman’s performance was far from stellar, she can at least feel vindicated in returning to her old stomping grounds as triumphant, successful and, yes, amusing from time to time.
She kicked off the night doing what she does best: making fun of “her Jews.” Silverman’s ties to Israel run deep (her sister is Jerusalem resident and reform Rabbi Susan Silverman, who made headlines when she was detained for her participation in the Women of the Wall movement last year), and she signed a petition with over 100 celebrities condemning Hamas’s rocket attacks against Israel after Operation Protective Edge.
“Today marks the end of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur,” she said, in her trademark faux innocent voice. “I just want to take a moment to say to all the Hassidic Jews out there: I promise you God will not mind if you wear a nice cotton blend in the summer. You are being ridiculous.”
She also paid homage to one of her comedic inspirations – and friend – Joan Rivers.
In a sketch depicting Rivers roasting famous dead celebrities in heaven (Richard Pryor, Benjamin Franklin and Freddy Mercury were a few personalities in the eclectic bunch), Silverman seemed both delighted and nervous to play a woman she admired so much.
“I’m practically a virgin, the last time someone was inside me was Melissa!” That joke – which was the most obscene of the night – would be considered downright tame by Rivers’ standards. But seeing Silverman sport Rivers’ perfectly coiffed blond hair, fur coat and French acrylic tips did offer amusement and a dose of comedic nostalgia for the deceased comedy legend.
It’s would be unfair to blame the night’s mediocrity on Silverman. After all, when a show reaches the 40-year mark, drastic ups and downs – and a whole bunch of “mehs” – are inevitable.