Ungodly comedy-lovers flock to see Sarah Silverman during JFL NorthWest

Long-time comic and actress visits Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre during comedy festival


As audience members made their way through metal detectors at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Saturday night (February 25th), the promise of seeing one of the comedy’s greats hung in the air. Whether you are a fan of Sarah Silverman’s comedy or not, you have to admit that the performer has been incredibly successful with almost everything she has taken on from stand-up to producing, to serious dramatic acting. But her Vancouver stint at the JFL NorthWest comedy festival was all classic Silverman.

Following a playing of The Pretenders’ song “Stop Your Sobbing”, Silverman approached her set like a comedian might at an open mic night if they were experimenting with new material: she took cues from a joke notebook and jumped from hilarious topic to hilarious topic. Dressed in fishnets, lace up tall black boots, jean shorts and a t-shirt, Silverman was in full ‘I’m just gonna do me’ mode, and the Queen Elizabeth loved it. After apologizing for the half-an-hour late start and the metal detectors—she had recently received a death threat on Twitter—Silverman launched into a plethora of topics. From material on laser hair removal to stories about her two sisters—whether they be a Jerusalem-living rabbi or a drunken college freshman—Silverman touched on subjects of rape, disability, and…squirrels? “Squirrels cannot find 80% of the nuts they hide,” said Silverman, completely giddy at this fact. This random but endearing jumping around gave the performance a casual and friendly feeling.

From statements on success like, “I want my face on money!” and accidently/on purpose calling the government “the religious right”, Silverman did not hold back. While a lot of the jokes were of the classic food-in-teeth and bathroom variety—the former occurred during an oddly paired lunch outing with Kanye West—Silverman took on some topics that earn her the types of threats she receives on Twitter. Abortion material would be the most obviously polarizing of these, with statements like “abortion sucks the life out of you…literally!”, Silverman is really trying to normalize open discussion on the topic. For a lot of women, it is nice to have a public figure so comfortable with speaking candidly about this taboo topic that is all too familiar to much of the female population. The best part of the night came when Silverman informed the audience that sperm can smell. Yes, sperm can smell! Meaning that it is alive. Hinting at the massacre of sperm that happens on a daily basis at the hands (literally) of men everywhere, Silverman declared, “We’ve got to legislate that shit!”

One can only imagine how certain states would receive the very same set Silverman delivered during JFL NorthWest, but Vancouver gave the comedian an appropriately “ungodly audience” over the weekend. Her favourite type.