Sarah Silverman has been performing standup comedy since she was 17, giving her three decades’ worth of experience with hecklers, a perspective that, she says, shaped the way she approached her Hulu series, “I Love You, America.”
With the first-year show, which will return for an 11-episode second season in the fall, Silverman engaged with people holding differing political views, trying to lower everyone’s “porcupine needles” (hers included) and find common ground.
“I like engaging, especially if someone is open and sometimes they become open by engaging, if you earnestly engage,” Silverman told The Times during a recent video interview. “I’ve done standup since I was a kid so I have an understanding of hecklers, and to me, everything a heckler says, the subtext is, ‘I exist, right?’ And that is something that is so heartbreaking and sad and beautiful to me.”
“I do think the more we see ourselves in each other, the less we are in danger of being these kinds of divided entities that don’t see each other as human,” Silverman continues. “And when you don’t see each other as human, you can do very inhumane things toward each other.”
The show’s field pieces, which included segments where Silverman had dinner with a family of Trump supporters in Louisiana and at a fire station in Texas, differed in tone from what you might see on “The Daily Show.” Silverman eschewed what she calls “gotcha” moments.
“I wanted them to feel safe, and I didn’t want to trick them, and I felt like the audience will see the truth and it would start a conversation that I didn’t have to be a part of,” she says. “There was a moment of restraint.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, the comedian talks about the influence of Mr. Rogers and shares her plans for the show’s upcoming season. (“There’s so much we want to change and reconfigure and figure out,” she says.) You can watch the entire conversation below.