Her incredibly un-PC approach to funny makes her first starring TV role like nothing you've ever seen. "The Sarah Silverman Program" is, according to Silverman, pretty much based on her life. She goes to lunch with friends and then adventures just sort of happen. Like accidentally pooping when she only meant to pass gas. Oh, and then there's the one-night stand she has with Black Jesus. (As we saidlike nothing you've ever seen.)
How did this show come about?
I gave Comedy Central the first scene of my stand-up movie "Jesus is Magic," which was just a scene of me and [costars, my sister] Laura and Brian [Posehn] in my living room talking. And then it burst into song. I said, "I want to do something like this kind of character, where she truly believes she's a good person, but there's, you know, assholeness."
Is anything off limits?
I don't think anything is off limits if it's funny enough. If it's more funny than offensive to us, then it's fine, no matter what it is. If it's a bummer, then we tend not to do it. [Laughs]
You've written a really self-centered, selfish kind of
Do you have a hard time playing that kind of character?
I don't have a hard time. [Laughs] I don't know why [it's] funny because in real life, I am just the salt of the Earth. [Laughs]
But you always play the bitch.
It's funny because I always say, "I don't want to play these bitches in movies: the bitchy girlfriend or the bitchy roommate or the girlfriend before he realizes what love could be." [Laughs] I hate that so much. And my boyfriend [Jimmy Kimmel] is like, "Yeah, but you get a chance to do your own thing and you play a bitch!" But to me, it's so different. [This] is a much more layered characterthere's something to her.
Are we going to see Jimmy on the show?
Jimmy makes one cameo appearanceif you blink, you'll miss it. He plays Joan the Dispatcher in a party scene for Jay [Johnston]'s birthday. The camera pans, you see him dressed as a woman, but it's not very trannyish. It's like short woman's haircut, very little makeup. And he says, "They call me Joan the Dispatcher because there's another Joan in accounting."
Do you think you need to alert people about what to expect from your show?
I think it's safe for all humans.
Is it 100% scripted?
Yes, it's completely scripted. We're never really married to anything. The cast is all great writers, so a lot of times we'll find better stuff when we're shooting.
And, on a more personal note, how on earth do you manage to stub your vagina? And is it painful or pleasurable?
It's easier than you would think. Opening letters get a letter opener is all I can say. It's worth it.
"The Sarah Silverman Program" premieres Thursday, Feb. 1 at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.