Even those who thought comedian Sarah Silverman's account of her casting-couch encounter with late late-night talk-show host Joe Franklin was the funniest thing about THE ARISTOCRATS may not be entirely prepared for 70 minutes of pure, unadulterated — and very, very adult — Silverman. A comedy writer for Saturday Night Live at the tender age of 19, Silverman now works a shade of blue comedy so dark it verges on black, and she's not afraid to include references to the Holocaust and AIDS in her monologues. In fact, the wraparound intro that sets up Liam Lynch's film of her 2005 one-woman show involves both of those notorious comedy killers. After listening with barely disguised envy as two more successful friends (Brian Posehn and Laura Silverman, her real-life sister) dish about book deals and upcoming TV series, Silverman tells a whopper: She claims she's a got a show of her own opening that very night, and it's about the Holocaust and, um, AIDS. And, oh yeah, it's a musical. Impressed, her friends of course want to come see it, so now Silverman has just a few hours to pull together an entire show. What follows is a concert film not entirely unlike Sandra Bernhard's equally subversive WITHOUT YOU I'M NOTHING (1990), which also mixed footage of the star onstage with musical numbers and off-stage skits. Silverman takes on everything from 7-year-old lesbians to 9/11 to the fact that comedians only make fun of ethnic and social groups that won't kick their asses (a barrage of Asian and midget jokes soon follow) to Silverman's pet peeve: Jews who drive German cars. As promised at the outset, there are musical numbers — at a nursing home, Silverman performs one ditty entitled "You're Dying" to the elderly, and another that repeatedly asks, "Do you ever take drugs so you can have sex without crying?" — and the girl sure can sing. But unlike, say, Whoopi Goldberg, whose personae are clearly distinct from who she is, it's hard to tell where exactly Silverman ends and where the selfish, self-absorbed, self-important and supremely narcissistic character she creates onstage begins. Her material asks us to ask ourselves a few basic questions about comedy: What's the difference between being edgy and flat-out racist? Can we ever laugh at jokes about the Holocaust? Is it funny when she describes being raped by a doctor as a bittersweet experience for a Jewish girl? And how can such awful things come out of the mouth of such a pretty girl?
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