Sarah Silverman Retired ‘Arrogant Ignorant’ Character After Trump Rise


“That character was no longer really amusing to me because he embodies that completely”

Sarah Silverman appeared on David Duchovny‘s Fail Better podcast this week and took the opportunity to reflect on why she dropped her formative “Sarah Silverman” character amid the political rise of Donald Trump. She explained she decided to move on from the “arrogant ignorant” character she previously embodied for more complex reasons than audiences “not laughing at my racist jokes anymore.”

“It wasn’t really a conscious, ‘Hey, that stuff doesn’t work, so I’m going to go a different way,’” Silverman told Duchovny. “I think I just very naturally started changing. My first comedy special, Jesus Is Magic, is like, ‘I’m Sarah Silverman, but I’m totally doing a character’ and that character — it carried on into my Comedy Central show, The Sarah Silverman Program — was an arrogant ignorant. So having Trump win, not that it carried through up until Trump was elected, but especially when Trump was elected and how the world changed in that way, that character was no longer really amusing to me because he embodies that completely.”

She continued, “Comedy really dies in the second-guessing of your audience. You really have to stay with what is funny to you and that hopefully changes over time because it means you’ve grown, or you’ve changed, or the world has changed and you’ve changed with it, or the world has changed and you haven’t changed with it.”


The Sarah Silverman Program premiered in 2007 and ran for three season until the spring of 2010. On the show, Silverman played a fictionalized, unemployed version of herself who was completely self-absorbed and immature, leading to comedic situations with her friends and family. The performance earned her an Emmy nod for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 2009.

Duchovny launched Fail Better with podcast network Lemonada Media earlier this month. Other guests have included Bette Midler, Ben Stiller, and Brad Gilbert.



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