She played Kramer’s girlfriend on Seinfeld in the ’90s, yet raunchy comedienne Sarah Silverman is slightly younger than many in her generation of funny people.
Perhaps that’s why she’s not troubled by the hostility of today’s college students to wide swaths of comedy.
High-profile comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock and Patton Oswalt have warned that today’s colleges are a minefield for comedians, who can see their careers ruined if an off-color joke goes viral by smartphone-wielding students.
But college dropout Silverman told Vanity Fair, in an interview for her new film, these students are “pretty much always on the right side of history,” even in their limitless ability to take offense.
Responding to comedian Bill Maher’s recent interview with The Atlantic‘s Caitlin Flanagan on campus PC culture (this isn’t Maher’s first foray into ripping college kids), Silverman had this to say. (The discussion on college students starts at 2:44 but here’s my transcript.)
There’s a lot of gray matter for me in this because I didn’t agree with everything they were saying [in the interview]. To a degree everyone’s going to be offended by something so you can’t just decide on your material based on not offending anyone, but I do think it’s important as a comedian, as a human, to change with the times, to change with new information. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with changing with the times, I think it’s a sign of being old when you are put off by that.
I caught myself a few years ago fighting ‘gay.’ I say ‘gay’ like, ‘that’s so gay.’ I just say ‘gay.’ I have gay friends, I don’t mean it like ‘gay’ I mean it like it’s ‘gay,’ like it’s lame. And then I stopped myself and said ‘what am I fighting?’ I have become the guy from 50 years ago who said ‘I say colored, I have colored friends!’ …
I don’t say things are ‘gay’ anymore if I think they are lame, I don’t even think about it. It didn’t take long to get used to it. And to that effect I think you have to listen to the colleged-aged, because they lead the revolution. They’re pretty much always on the right side of history.
Silverman apparently doesn’t realize that the slang “lame” is ableist against people with foot problems. The one thing that bothers her about college crowds these days is they are “a sea of iPhones”:
It’s a bummer because you just end up saying your jokes to a sea of empty vessels through which Facebook expresses itself.
IMAGE: YouTube screenshot