Sarah Silverman Version 4
I’m Alan Alda and this is Clear and Vivid, conversations about connecting and communicating.
The last time I was in California, I visited with Sarah Silverman at her kitchen table and we had this really interesting conversation. Sarah see some of the barriers that exist between us in our culture now, and she’s dedicated to using her comedy talents to doing something about it.
Sarah: I’ll tell you what I’ve learned doing this show is that no one changes their mind from you yelling at them or giving even facts. Mostly I just want to love them and for us to have our porcupine needles down.
Sarah Silverman’s new show is called “I Love you America.”
She brings people together on the show who don’t always agree with her, and by the end of the show, even though they still might not agree, they often leave as friends.
And the interesting thing is: she doesn’t just reach out to people on her show, she also does it in her LIFE. I think you’ Il be interested in Sarah’s whole new take on relating to others.
As we begin, Sarah and I are about to talk about whether people nowadays can actually listen to one another — but first, we’re still just not to rush into the hard stuff before we establish some kind of contact.
Alan: Do you get nervous when you perform, still?
Alan: Yeah, really? I did for a long time and then I just … I found out that I was just more alert rather than nervous.
Sarah: Right, right. Yeah.
Alan: It’s good to be alert.
Sarah: That’s true.
Alan: When you do the show, I’m just curious. This is just me being curious. Have you learned that stuff or when you do a monologue, are you reading it? How do you handle it?
Sarah: Well, there’s a teleprompter in the camera that I’m looking into but I’m really not reading it by then. I practice it so that I’m more looking at it in the teleprompter like bullet points. If I were reading it then it would feel more like I was reading it but I know it enough that I can look away and then come back to it.
Alan: Yeah, that’s good.
Sarah: My brain always changes the articles. The little words anyway to make it feel …
Alan: Don’t you find you change a word in the middle of a sentence even if it’s something that you’re not reading, you accidentally change a word then you have to suddenly think, “How can I get out of this sentence alive?”
Sarah: Right, yeah, exactly.
Alan: I got to make this sentence work with that little “The” I put in instead of “A.”
Sarah: Also, with comedy too. Sometimes something won’t work and it won’t work and I’ll give up on it and then the thing that fixes it is a breath or a space or a tiny word or a …
Alan: All that had happens in the moment, right?
Sarah: Yeah. That’s the thing with standup especially it’s just stage time. You can only practice in front of a mirror so much or like at home because you need the audience to help you.
Alan: That awareness with the audience it seems to me, I think it’s what I see in you, in your work when you perform and what I even saw of you on Twitter when you’re writing, I see such a connection with the people you’re communicating with that really feeds into my obsession with communication. It’s really why I wanted so much to talk you on this podcast because that seems to me to be the essence of communication, to be really tuned into the person you’re talking to and you really seem to be doing … you’ve got this empathy with the people you’re trying to connect with.
Sarah: Yeah. Well, I too am very interested in connection and this show especially is that’s our goal because it’s not changing minds. If that happens, that’s frosting on the cake but I’ll tell you what I’ve learned doing this show is that no one changes their mind from you yelling at them or giving them facts or poll numbers even facts.
Alan: Sometimes, facts drive them further into their belief.
Sarah: Exactly. It makes them dig in harder because it’s happening to …
Alan: I don’t mean to say them, I mean, it’s true of all of them.
Sarah: Not them, capital T them, all of us. It’s true.
Sarah: Just objectively, when Obama was president and people would say, “He wasn’t born in the United States,” I would say, “That’s ridiculous.” I, of course, still feel that way but I have to at least go, “Okay, that’s me,” I mean, maybe that’s not a good example. It’s insane. He’s in Hawaii but there are people who … I went to visit a family and she said, “Oh, well, I think Obama was born in Africa.”
Alan: How did you handle that? Knowing that you believed in factually incorrect?
Sarah: Nothing would come out of me going … well actually by then, we were close enough. We were friends enough for me to go, “Brandy.” She said, “Well, I’m just saying,” and we just kind of laughed.
Alan: But in a way, your connection to her is that you had established in a way opened you both up to be a little looser about these hardcore beliefs or attachment to what you both believe are facts.
Sarah: Yeah. Some people got frustrated watching it because they talked about how Obama just get handout money, here you go. Those are people who don’t deserve it and they do deserve it and talking about insurance. Then I asked what insurance they have and they didn’t know and they were on the Affordable Care Act. They had Obama Care or Medicaid or these things that are now being threatened. I didn’t point it out to them in the moment and then we wondered if we should do some fact check as we air it like write something on the bottom.
We just decided they exposed themselves and they’re good people who are just… their truth is not true but I’m not being very articulate but I think our point was we just wanted to connect and to leave there with them. They were very nervous, they were going to feel judged and our point was to not judge and to just connect. It was family dinner with a family that all voted for Trump who have never met a Jew. They Googled Jew.
Alan: You’re kidding?
Sarah: No. To leave there and just give these big hugs and to care about these people and to … going into it, we both had preconceived notions that’s always how we’ll be because that’s how brains worked. We fill in what we don’t know with something.
Alan: Yeah, yeah. What I love about this whole description you’re giving us here is that you’re not only aware of them. You’re aware of what they’re probably thinking and feeling as you communicate with them.
Sarah: Mostly I just want to love them and for us to have our porcupine needles down.
Alan: That’s the thing that really got me. What really made me want to talk with you is when I saw that exchange you had on Twitter with the guy.
Sarah: I was just talking with him when you got here.
Alan: You’re kidding? Well, start at the beginning for anybody who doesn’t know the story.
Sarah: I don’t see every comment on Twitter. I try to shield myself from most of it. Mostly just so that I can stay brave and express myself and not not express myself but I happened to see somebody just … he just called me the C word and …
Alan: Just that one word that was the whole tweet?
Sarah: Yeah. Simple.
Alan: Yeah, economical.
Sarah: Yeah. I just clicked on his avatar, I was just curious. It made a little curious where he was coming from and then I saw his tweets and they were so filled with rage but not about anything in particular, just rage. Then among them was a tweet about his severe back pain. I saw that he was just in pain which is a lot most of maybe all of rage comes from pain, physical or emotional. And so I just, I tweeted a loving gesture towards him which …
Alan: Can you remember what you said?
Sarah: I just said, “I see that you’re in so much pain. I look at your tweets and you’re in so much pain.
Alan: Well, I remember something like, “You must have been terribly hurt at some point in your life.” Did you say that?
Sarah: Yeah. Just something like, “This is rage that is thinly, very thinly masked pain and my heart breaks for you.” I don’t know it was exactly anyone can look but he immediately opened up. I think he didn’t have people in his life that were concerned.
After we talked, I looked back over Sarah’s Twitter exchange, and her exact words – that neither of us could remember – were, “I believe in you. I read ur timeline & I see what ur doing — & your rage is thinly veiled pain. But u know that.”
She told him, “I know this feeling,” and said she had unbearable back pain too. She closed with, “See what happens when u choose love. I see it in you.”
Surprisingly, instead of answering with more anger, he wrote back: “I can’t choose love. A man… took that away when I was 8. I can’t find peace – If I could find that guy who ripped my body, who stripped my innocence I’d kill him.” He ended with: ”I’m poor so it’s hard to get help.”
Sarah tweeted him a list of support groups near where he lived. She said, “Everyone in these groups suffered sexual abuse, go to one.”
And astonishingly – astonishing to me, anyway – he wrote back, “Thank u very much I will. Thank u so very much.” And they’ve been in contact ever since.
Alan: You have this impulse it’s expressed in the show that we were talking about, “I love you America.” This impulse to bring people together to get rid of the conflict, the tug-of-war that we tend to have with one another and have a more cooperative thing where we’re pulling in the same direction in some way but you expressed it toward this stranger who have called you a curse word.
Alan: You didn’t block him, you didn’t ignore him. This ability to see what’s under the troublesome thing they say, the troubling thing they say is really interesting. The episode where you went to Nashville and you wrote that song and it came out really about your mother, right?
Alan: I loved that. That was very moving.
Sarah: Thank you.
Alan: Very moving episode. Do you mind describing what the problem was between you and your mother?
Sarah: I don’t know. I think there are a lot of things. She was struggling with depression. She was in bed a lot and I really understand that in a lot of ways but as a kid, you need your mom to be brave and strong. It was the real dichotomy because in some ways, she really saw me and she’d tickle my back until I fell asleep sometimes or she’d sing to me but other times, I was … she really … I think it’s the story of so many people that go into show business. I mean, my mom was lost in her People Magazines. She knew everything about every celebrity, every … who dated who, who … all these things from New Hampshire.
I was an athlete, I was a big athlete but my mom was not interested. She never went to one game but I think somehow … I think, I felt like if I could get into People Magazine, she would see me. You know what I mean? She loved that stuff but she loved Rachel Maddow. Rachel, Rachel, Rachel. I mean, who doesn’t?
Sarah: I did this thing that I ended up going on Rachel’s show and…
Alan: Your mother finally saw you?
Sarah: … I said my mom’s name and Rachel, I said, “Oh, my mother watches your …” All these things that I wouldn’t normally … but I just so was so excited to be on my mother’s favorite show and saying her name and Rachel said, “Hi, Mrs. Silverman,” and I said, “No, no. It’s O’Hara,” and I had a terrible appearance because I was so focused on, so excited. I never heard from her.
Alan: Oh, you’re kidding.
Sarah: The next day, I called her, I go, “Did you see me, I was on … I said your name on Rachel Maddow?” She said, “Yeah.” I feel terrible that these are her overalls. I mean, I love my mom. She was…
Alan: How interesting. You’re wearing her overalls.
Sarah: Yeah. She was an amazing woman. I feel … but you have these dichotomies with your parents, right?
Alan: You send a like my relationship with my mother because my mother was schizophrenic and paranoid. I had this issue. She was a good mother in many ways. She told me you can do anything and told me so many times I believed it and went out and did anything but on the other hand, she also told me many times that I was trying to kill her because she was paranoid and she thought there were people in the closet and cameras in the wall taking pictures of us. It was difficult and I felt, I think very much like what you described, that I wanted a mother and I didn’t have one and I blamed her for because I didn’t. I wasn’t old enough to understand it wasn’t her fault.
But when you got the Nashville and you were writing that song and you got to that amazing phrase in the song where you said, “Somebody broke her…”
You understood that she wasn’t really responsible for the pain she caused you somehow. I don’t know, how would you describe it? Did that just come to you in that moment?
Sarah: I think Lee may have come up with that ultimately like the songwriter I was working with, Lee Thomas Miller, a Republican.
Alan: He was terrific. He was very straight, very … he didn’t mince words.
Sarah: He was so afraid I was going to talk about politics and at the end of the day, he goes, “Oh, you didn’t talk about politics at all.” I said, “It wasn’t on my mind.”
Sarah: It taught me something too. He is a Republican whatever that means but to me, he’s not and maybe to him, I’m not what he thinks of us, a liberal democrat. I don’t know. Sometimes I meet people to like when we talk on the show and I go, “You are like me. You must be a liberal democrat.” I don’t …. But … I think that we’re less … we’re more like than we think.
When we come back, Sarah and I talk about a scene from her show that sticks in my mind as an example of what a difficult challenge Sarah has set herself. She goes down with her cameras and sets them up in a firehouse in a small town in Texas where most people voted for Trump. Sarah didn’t vote for Trump and there are a number of other things that they don’t agree on. And yet Sarah is determined to find something that brings them together. And in a pretty unpredictable was, she does. Be right back.
This is Clear and Vivid. And now back to my conversation with Sarah Silverman
Alan: One of the things that I think I’ve discovered about communicating is what you’re talking about which is when you find some bond, some commonality between you, some way in which you both realized you’re very much alike, could be quite apart from anything that has to do with how you’re not alike or how you view things different but if you see that commonality, it becomes a lot easier to talk. You don’t think, “This person can’t think. This person doesn’t know the facts.” You tend to listen a little more.
Sarah: Right, exactly. That’s why I say like, I’d rather bond about anything, “Oh, you watched the Walking Dead? So do I. I hated Carol in season one now she’s my everything.” It’s doesn’t matter what you’re connecting over but once you connect, your porcupine needles, your defenses come down and then, only then can you be open. It’s the same. As much as I see it another people, it’s because I’m seeing myself in them. There’s some kind of ego involved and maybe part of it is even healthy that if we see ourselves in each other. Then again, do you have to be able to see yourself in someone else to have empathy for them? I don’t know. I hope not.
Alan: Well, I think the idea is you feel what they feel because you … it seems like it’s happening to you.
Alan: It’s sort of an automatic thing but this searching for some common thread between you is a way maybe to help empathy happen on both sides. Maybe as you say, the porcupine needles go down.
Sarah: Yeah. One thing that’s interesting that I try to remind myself of is I think that anytime we don’t want to hear … anytime we’re worried about hearing someone else’s ideas or opinions because it might change our own, that’s when we should be questioning what we believe. Any religion that makes you need to shield yourself from hearing any other ideas because you might not believe those sets of things anymore as something you should question.
Alan: Well, I learned that on the stage as a young actor that I’m changed by the other person if I’m really listening to the other actor and that makes me say whatever I have to say with some credibility because I’m not just saying what I memorize. I’m saying something in response to the other person who has just changed me.
Sarah: That’s amazing. I love that.
Alan: That turns out I think to be what happens in life when I see, you doing. You seemed to be encouraging people to listen and if you listen … I see … I’m really thinking life that you’re not really listening unless you’re willing to be changed by this other person.
Alan: It’s a crazy to say. It’s very radical because very often people say things to you that your impulse is to go, “How can I get out of here? This person is crazy,” or…
Alan: … but if you say, “Wait, maybe there’s something in there that I’m not hearing.”
Sarah: In show business even, when you get notes from executives, your first instinct is, “Fuck you.” I don’t know if we can swear in this but first you have to figure out what the spirit of the notice because these are people, if not trained by your company who may not be communicating what it is exactly that they have a problem with or that they have want to see changed. You have to figure out the spirit of what their note is.
Alan: That’s a perfect example.
Sarah: Isn’t it kind of? We’re showbizzy but I’m sure it makes in any.
Alan: Well, everybody gets notes. Somebody has to write a report for the boss in some company.
Alan: The boss is going to say, “What’s this paragraph? This is no good. Get rid of this one.”
“You just can’t get rid of it. That’s my best paragraph.”
Sarah: Right. I learned early from a great writer named Larry Charles, we worked together and we get a note and I gasped, “Screw it! If they don’t get man.” Whatever. But he said, “Who cares? It doesn’t matter.” The worse notes still make your stuff better because you’re forced to look at it from another angle and you’re given a boundary and good things come out of boundaries because you have to figure out how to get around it or how to … it still makes your stuff better hopefully.
Alan: Yeah. That’s really well put and it’s just as radical as the thing I tried to come up with which is the worse note makes it a little better.
Sarah: Yeah and that’s exactly right.
Alan: That’s really good.
Sarah: That also just makes you relax … But I do think what you said is exactly to let yourself be changed is something that…
Alan: Well, the possibility of change anyway. Somewhere in this person’s tirade is something that could change for the better. What is it? What could it possibly be? It makes you more active listener instead of just waiting until it’ll stop this terrible thing.
Sarah: Even if their tirade is coming from … is misplaced anger about something else entirely, it can change you … one on the surface, it can change you just in a way that somebody yelling at you in traffic. That energy is catchy but it can also change you in going, “I wonder where that’s coming from in this person?” If you find the root of it even if they’re not aware of it, if their knee jerk reaction is rage but if you can … usually, what’s upsetting them is something real.
Alan: Yeah. I can remember several times somebody gave me the finger in traffic and my first reaction was, same to you.
Alan: The next reaction when I was lucky was, “Where did that come? Did I do something I cut him off inadvertently?”
Sarah: This is an excellent example of my dad. He got pulled over by the cops. He rolled down his window and the cops said, “Do you why I pulled you over?” He said, “I have no idea but I’m sure I did it.” But I’ve done things in traffic, I immediately rolled down my window, “Oh, my gosh! I’m so sorry.” That rage like on their face melts…
Alan: You see a change, it melts, yeah.
Sarah: It’s almost addicted, is it manipulative? Maybe. I don’t know. But I do know that positive energy is just as catchy as the negative energy.
Alan: If you’re not trying to get people to do something that’s not in their interest to harm them in some way, if you’re not doing that, to be proactive about making contact with them, I don’t think you can all it manipulative.
Sarah: I know. Well, I do ask myself like, “Oh, is this manipulative?” But I know it will make them happy and open but also, is it up to me to decide like, “No, this is a good kind of manipulative.”
Alan: Yeah. I know what you mean, yeah. Yeah.
Sarah: I’m just trying very hard to be my best self. It’s a practice. I’ve dealt with a lot of rage, anger, downwards spirals. It’s a process.
Alan: I’ve seen that with empathy too. We probably all come in with some capacity for it but it sometimes needs to be built up and it goes away. I’ve seen it go away in myself. I’ve seen that I’ve gone through a period where I actually tried to build up my empathy. I work on it and then I get good at and get smug and then I think I have it and I realized I’m actually thinking, “This is stupid schmuck, when he’s going to stop talking?”
Sarah: Yeah. If there’s any hair of condescension in your empathy, people sense that.
Alan: Now, you said it, oh boy, yeah.
Sarah: As a comedian, the audience can smell any fraudulence, any fakeness, any … even if you’re doing a character that’s insecure or nervous, they have to know … there has to be something transcending that tells them, you have this under control and you know what you’re doing so that they can relax. I don’t know what my point was.
Alan: Oh, I wasn’t listening.
It’s a challenge to do comedy that looks to connect. And I’m not saying … listen I love the Daily Show. I love all these other shows that are appointment television for me that are so funny but they’re a little bit based on making people look stupid, that we don’t agree with. I want the show more than anything to be funny, to be silly to make people laugh but it is the challenge because I also don’t want to use, I hate to use the Sarah Palin reference but like do any kind of gotcha stuff…
Alan: Yeah, right, right.
Sarah: I want to connect and they find the comedy another way and let them be in on it. When I said to one of the guys in the fire house, I said, “Do you believe that when Jesus comes back, you believe Jesus is coming back? Do you believe that you will recognize him in whatever form he comes back?” He said, “Of course.” I said, “I’m Jesus.” He said, “No, you’re not.” I’m like, “Oh!” That is just, to be able to joke around without anyone being the butt of it.
Alan: Right, right and they knew they weren’t going to be the butt and you were … I mean, to me, that fire house scene which people ought to hear because … watched, it’s a very interesting moment. They were all sitting around the chairs and you establish with them, a number of things you didn’t agree about I think.
Alan: Then you found a common thread that you all were attached to, it was the most amazing, unexpected, commonality I could imagine.
Sarah: Well, I realized that we all can have different opinions. We all might disagree but everybody has a humiliating story involving shitting.
Alan: So you said…?
INSERT FROM SHOW
Alan: To me, that fire house scene was in a way proof that what you’re aiming for is working.
Sarah: Everyone I talk to on my show has changed me.
Alan: Tell me about that. Tell me about one person who changed you.
Sarah: I can give you like a sentence on a few of them. My first guest was Megan Phelps-Roper who grew up in the Westboro Baptist Church. It was all she knew, everything she loved, her whole family is the Westboro Baptist Church. Her grandfather, Fred Phelps is the co-founder of it. She grew up going to soldiers funerals with God Hate Fags signs. What changed her was she became the head … they made her in charge of social media when social media started getting big because they wanted to spread their word and instead a few people, a lot of people came towards her with rage, I was probably of them out there. A few people came towards her with love and changed her, opened up her whole world. She saw people grieving for people who died and that was something that was new for her or just humanity and she was changed and she left.
She said, “These aren’t bad people that go into extremism, they’re vulnerable people being lured by bad ideas at a vulnerable time.” Even when she said that, I thought, “Ugh.” I realized those talking to her, someone who … it was an example of that.
Alan: That was the change that you went through?
Sarah: Yeah, that was the big change for me. I had a ex-White supremacist, Neo Nazi, Christian Picciolini who was changed by a kind person who saw more in him than his hatred and when I asked him what advice he would give, he said, “Find someone who doesn’t deserve your compassion and give it to them because that’s what happened to me.”
Alan: Wow! These are smart … thinking people.
Sarah: Oh, my God! I think people are very afraid to be changed just like even l know some people that cannot say sorry and I’m not sad for me, it’s not … but it breaks my heart for them because they don’t know the joy of being sorry, being wrong. Even again, just when you apologize, when you are sorry for something seeing the person who’s receiving that apology be so relieved and happy and to be able to provide that is genuinely …
Alan: When I’m able to do it simply and not faking it, it’s a wonderful feeling of relief and you get flooded with a little dopamine. You resist it because you think it’s going to hurt and instead of hurting it, it feels good. I wonder why we think it’s going to be painful.
Sarah: I don’t know but I think our president is-
Alan: We’re afraid somebody will take advantage of our vulnerability, maybe?
Sarah: He is. I think our president is someone who if he wasn’t ruining people’s lives I would … my heart would break for him. Really, he is clearly someone who is severely hurt at a young age, is emotionally stunted. When people talk about women and take being on office and stuff, I really want that to happen more and more but even more so, just get the people out of our office who in office because of daddy issues.
Alan: Daddy issues.
Sarah: That alone is killing us. We go to wars over because of this stuff, because of people’s unresolved … leader’s unresolved issues with child abuse.
Alan: There’s a lot of layers upon layers of caring about people we have to go through. We get into not only the people with daddy issues but the daddies and their daddies and it goes back.
Sarah: I know and that’s mental health. It’s so important and it’s another thing that I think the people in power are don’t want to invest in because their base is … I don’t want to get in trouble but they want people uneducated. They want people with uncared for mental issues. Mental issues are all of us. It has to start from nursery school.
Alan: But not all people who don’t agree with the liberal agenda want people who are uneducated.
Sarah: You’re right, I think. You’re right. I’m sorry. They do think it at the highest level.
Alan: I mean, the one we say, “they” it makes it easy to be …
Sarah: You’re right.
Alan: … makes it to be resisted.
Sarah: You’re right.
Alan: It’s what you were just telling me.
Sarah: I know but I wasn’t living it, was I?
Alan: But what about this, it raises another question in my mind. What about how politicians who we … all of us, no matter what political stripe we wear, our politicians will tell us, “I’ll fight every day for you,” and the fight for what you believe in is not understanding an empathy. When you fight, you objectify the other person as wrong and worth losing to you. That’s not a vulnerable position to take.
Is there a point in which you think you have to put down your empathy and fight?
Sarah: Excellent question. I don’t know the answer to it because then of course you think of things that must be fought to change. Then you think of things that were fought and they didn’t bring about change. You can win a war, it’s not going to make people not hate Jews or not be racist.
Alan: It won’t change their minds.
Sarah: Yeah. Feelings change people’s minds.
Alan: I love that quote you gave somewhere about my Angelo, saying something like, “You won’t remember what I said, you won’t remember what I did but you’ll remember how I made you feel.”
Alan: When you see somebody behave badly towards somebody else, no matter how much you care about them it’s hard to justify those two personas. I used to spoke movingly about Louis C.K. where you were expressing the same thing.
Sarah: Yeah. Yeah, he’s my brother. I mean, I’ve known him since I was 19.
Sarah: He’s also an amazing person and he’s … we’re all so many things. I got a call from him the next day after that video and I was nervous to see his … I was happy but nervous, maybe I don’t know if he was angry with me and then …
Alan: After you did the piece on him on the show.
Sarah: Yes. He said I need to talk to you and he thanked me because he said he’s got two daughters. At this point, all he cares about is that his got his daughters.
Alan: His daughters are lovely kids.
Sarah: They’re amazing.
Alan: I’ve seen in many interactions between him and them and he seems to be really connected and thoughtful about how he relates to them and it really was nice to see.
Sarah: His shooting schedule on his show is around his schedule with the kids.
Alan: Getting them to school things like that?
Sarah: Yeah, he had them like Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, so he shot Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Alan: Yeah, but I interrupted you. He only cared … he said I had to talk to you.
Sarah: His younger daughter was fiercely defensive of him and he actually had to tell her, “All these people are just doing their job.” His older daughter he felt he had lost and she came over and she showed him the piece I did and she said, “I can love you even though you did bad things.”
Alan: That’s really interesting.
Sarah: Yeah, we’re both crying. Yeah, he’s a very …
Alan: What was so interesting about that piece that you did about Louie was it you didn’t mince words about how bad you felt what he did was and how real people had suffered, women had and their lives negatively impacted their careers. You didn’t minimize that at all but we’re able to say can you … in fact to put it as a question as I remember. Can you love somebody who you know has done something really bad? You do and you can’t help it.
Sarah: Yeah, and then hopefully people … this movement it’s funny some people are really reacting to Me Too, Times Up movement. I mean, it must be very scary position for White men in general or man in power or men at all
We all are, we all were complicit in the society that viewed the world through a male’s perspective. All we can do is look at the past and learn from it and be changed, all of us. I see a lot of guys going, “Our lives are in women’s hands right now,” and that’s a very scary feeling.
Alan: It’s been the other way around for about 50,000 years.
Sarah: The hope is that that scared, angry feeling turns into, “Oh, that’s how it’s been for them up until now.” Then maybe convert that into empathy and then now we can all be together in this.
Alan: This is great. Let’s just say goodbye or we’ll talk all day.
Sarah: Okay, no I’m sorry. I could go on and on.
Alan: No need to. I don’t want to take your time. Thank you so much. I’ve enjoy this so much.
Sarah: I see that. Yeah. We should start now. Are the mics working? Thank you so much, I had a great time.
But we’re not done yet… This was the interview when I thought it would be interesting to try something out on Sarah. I thought it would be interesting to ask each of my guests Seven Quick Questions, questions that were mainly about communicating and relating and see how they respond in the moment. So, I was sort of springing it on Sarah, but it turned out she was pretty game.
Alan: Number one, what do you wish you really understood?
Sarah: That’s brutal. I can’t think of a … can we come back to it?
Alan: We’re going to have to go back to all of these.
Sarah: Okay. What do I wish I really understood? My mother.
Alan: Oh good, see. Isn’t that good? That’s good, okay. What do you wish other people understood about you?
Sarah: I don’t know. I don’t know how people perceive me. I’m terrible at this, Alan Alda.
Alan: Well, just let go with what first occurs to you. It sounds like you’re censoring something.
Sarah: I did. I was going to say that I need to be spooned.
Alan: Well, that’s an interesting answer. See? If you go with your first answer I want to be spooned that’s great.
Sarah: Outer spoon.
Alan: I don’t know what it means but it’s really good. What’s the strangest question anyone ever asked you?
Sarah: One of those first two I think.
Alan: Thank you. I’m glad to be on your top 10 list. This is interesting to me. How do you stop a compulsive talker? What do you do?
Sarah: It’s very hard because you’d think talking yourself might do it but it doesn’t.
Alan: You’re right.
Sarah: I think you just listen until they’re done. Or sometimes I tell people, “I have to go, I have diarrhea.” Nobody can argue with that but it is not true. It’s a lie. I’m telling them a lie.
Alan: We’re learning so much here. Here’s one about bad news. Would you rather deliver bad news in person, on the phone or by carrier pigeon?
Sarah: I was going to say one of those like airplane signs.
Alan: You don’t like to deliver bad news, so you would pick carrier pigeon.
Sarah: Well, my honest answer is I probably would … it would probably be a well thought out email but I probably should do it in person. I know the right answer is in person.
Alan: Not necessary, depends on who you are and what you’re comfortable with.
Alan: Well, okay here’s the last one. What if anything would make you end a friendship?
Sarah: I don’t know. I’m a friend for lifer.
This has been Clear+Vivid, at least I hope so.
Sarah Silverman’s new show, “I Love You America” is entertaining, funny, and it will make you think about our society in different ways. You can watch the show on Hulu. The new season of “I Love You America” starts on Hulu on September 6th. I’ll be watching.
If you’re not already, please follow Sarah on Twitter at: @SarahKSilverman – she’s irreverent and great and smart.
For this episode I’d like to extend special thanks to our on-location engineer, Brett Morris and our Sound Engineer, John DeLore.
This episode of Clear+Vivid was produced by my friend and long time producer, Graham Chedd with help from our associate producer, Sarah Chase. Our sound engineer is Dan Dzula, our Tech Guru is Allison Coston, and our publicist is Sarah Hill.
You can subscribe to my podcast for free at Apple Podcasts.
For more details about Clear + Vivid, and to sign up for my newsletter, please visit alanalada.com.
You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram at “Clear and Vivid” and I’m on Twitter @alanalda.
Thanks for listening.