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She's written and performed on "Saturday Night Live," had a self-titled program on Comedy Central and f**ed Matt Damon (in song, we mean, on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"), so it's about time Sarah Silverman gets "serious" about a movie career.
Silverman follows up sporadic screen roles in "School of Rock," "Rent" and "School for Scoundrels" with "Peep World," a new dysfunctional family comedy co-starring Michael C. Hall, Rainn Wilson and Ben Schwartz. She plays one of the three siblings devastated by their younger brother's tell-all novel, which exposes many intimate family secrets, as the family gathers for their father's 70th birthday.
The comedian/actress/writer/singer/musician was sleep-deprived and frantically rushing to pack for a trip when we got her on the horn — but her sometimes stream-of-consciousness answers kept us laughing regardless.
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Your character in "Peep World," Cheri, is suing her brother Nathan for libel. In real life, how litigious are you? Would you ever go after a publication that printed something untrue about you?
If I did, I would have by now. No, I think I will never sue anyone just out of fear of a Jew stereotype, plus it's bad karma. I guess sometimes you have to, but I never want to sue anyone.
Cheri is understandably pissed off in "Peep World." Before each take, how did you get in that frame of mind?
It's never really hard. I know that acting is hard sometimes or whatever, but we had a blast. We were laughing, and they'd say "action" and you just pretend. Little kids do it all time.
Your pseudo-boyfriend in "Peep World" is a Jew for Jesus. Who do you think exhibits more self-loathing: Jews for Jesus or gay Catholics?
Ooh! I would say gay Catholics. At least Jesus was patient and loving. Look at how patient my boyfriend is with me in the movie, and I'm an asshole. To be Jesus-like is something to aspire to in any religion. I had a therapist who was Catholic and she explained to me that Jewish guilt is famous and Jews get it out there, whereas Catholic guilt is just bottomless and unspoken. And that's coming from a Catholic, not me.
I think there's truth to that—repression breeds acting out. That's why Catholic school girls are taught that they are sinned from birth. When I saw girls in Catholic school in L.A. with plaid skirts and the whole outfit, I had only ever seen that before in porn! I couldn't believe it was real. You wear super-short f**kable skirts? It's like Hassidic Jews: Why would God want you to be so uncomfortable in the summer with those three-piece suits and wool hats? I mean, I don't think God would be so mad if you wore a breathable cotton or linen.
There's a shot in "Peep World" of Cheri punching a punching bag to get out her aggression about what her brother wrote about her. How do you blow off steam in real life before you hit the boiling point?
I just talk it through, usually. Sometimes I'll be talking to my friends and have to stop and tell them, "I'm not yelling at you, I'm just passionate." If I get really passionate about something—this is so hacky—but, literally, I check my birth control pills to see if it's real or I'm just totally PMS. Then I wait 24 hours before I send an e-mail. I don't have a whole lot of rage, but when I do, I write anything I want to write and put it in "Drafts." I always end up not sending it—I send a more reasonable version.
Your TAB cola episode of "The Sarah Silverman Program" was one of the funniest shows of any TV program. Do you think you'd like to return to TV as a series regular again?
Yes! I love TV and I'm working on something right now. I'm a huge fan of television—I will watch "Law and Order" or anything that is procedural with rape and murder—and I like any opportunity to have some kind of creative vision and realize it week-to-week. I know it's supposed to be prestigious to be in movies, but I love the TV medium of storytelling and a character that can live beyond 90 minutes and can change.
After "Peep World" in theaters, where can fans see you next?
I'm going to go on tour in March and April, which I haven't done in three years. I'm trying to get my s**t together stand-up-wise and find myself. I'm writing a couple screenplays and loving the process, but you never know what's going to be the thing that comes to fruition. You can put your heart and soul into something for years and then you fart in a cup and that's the one that everyone loves.