Several weeks ago, when “The Bedwetter” by comedian Sarah Silverman was released, I said I would review it for Big Hollywood. I went to the local bookstore and found it and the cost was $25. TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS! The thought of giving Miss “Go to Florida and get your grandparents to vote for Obama” twenty-five of my hard earned dollars put knots in my stomach. I stood there in the bookstore and read the cover and the end flaps. I was thinking if I was at all impressed I might spend the money. Though we are worlds apart politically I love comedy and if it seemed a good read I would plunk down my AMEX. I figure that if it sucked I could return it and get a refund.
I have to admit to a few things before going any further. One, I am very cheap, two, I am not a big Sarah Silverman fan and three, I figured there might be some way to get a pirate e-copy for free. I read a few pages and went home.
I went to Amazon.com and read the forward, afterword and figured if I selected the “surprise me” tab often enough and opened and closed the browser several time I might get to see the whole book for free. After an hour of being cheap and trying to scam a free read I saw a used copy for $14 and rationalized that this money was going to the reseller and not to Ms. Silverman so I ordered the book.
As a conservative I can’t afford to limit myself to entertainment choices that agree with me politically. I read Ms. Silverman’s book hoping to get some insight into why so many people seem to think she is the modern Lenny Bruce. My thinking was even if she isn’t my particular cup of Earl Grey at least I could see what all the buzz is about.
I have a number of comedy pet peeves and one of them is the “fake funny quote” on a comic’s resume or promo material. The problem is that has been done to death, and most of the time it isn’t really funny. Yet, there on the cover a book by a comedian who is reported to be on the leading edge of comedy are the quotes from her childhood “friends.”(I think that is what the joke is supposed to be.) Then I opened and read the self penned forward. Been done.
The problem with Ms. Silverman’s book isn’t that is bad. If it really sucked I would be gleefully slamming it. The problem is that most of the book is extremely ordinary. The first seventy or eighty pages are a non-chronological recounting of her childhood and early career. From her bedwetting to her teen depression she recounts her ups and downs in somewhat surprisingly limited detail. One detail that Ms. Silverman does share is that when she was a teen she was taking up to 16 Xanax a day! I felt sorry that no one in her life had the common sense to say, “Man, that’s a lot of psychotropic drugs for a teenager! Maybe we should question that.” There is a short section on her dad, who she says hates rich folks, so maybe she is now that list. The later part of the book deals with insider information about her show on Comedy Central. Since I wasn’t a fan of the show the section held my interest a little less time than the current World Cup hoopla.
There were several parts of the book I did find enjoyable and made me move Ms. Silverman up a few notches on my great comic rankings. First, was that at one point she stabbed Al Franken in the head with a sharp pencil! That’s funny and cool at the same time. Secondly was that after being criticized for telling a great satirical joke that included the word “chink” she got a lot of guff from a guy at an Asian anti-defamation group. After trying to explain the joke and apologizing to the guy he would not be placated. So, on national television she called him a douchebag! That makes me think there may be hope for Ms. Silverman. Now that that’s over would anyone like to buy a copy of “The Bedwetter?”