Night and Day: Wednesday, January 18, 2006
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Sarah Silverman gives her audience an earful in ‘Jesus Is Magic.’
Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic plays Fri-Sun at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell St, FW. Tickets are $5.50-7.50. Call 817-738-9215.
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A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Silver and Blue

Film critics and writers of magazine profiles have been tripping over each other these last few months to pay tribute to Sarah Silverman’s comedy act. So fearless! So profane! So hot! Actually, compared to other movie stars, she’s only mildly attractive. (Compared to other standup comics, she’s Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Keira Knightley rolled into one.) As for the “pretty girl talking dirty” act, we at Night & Day aren’t overly impressed. Still, when confronted by a one-liner like “I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl,” we have to admit we’re rather impressed by that.

The concert film Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic showcases her standup act, which forges heedlessly into racial and ethnic stereotyping of all kinds. This led one New York Times reader to call her “Larry the Cable Guy for people with liberal arts degrees” (great line!), but this isn’t quite right. Her carefully constructed onstage persona is a parody of clueless sheltered white racism, and it’s an effective shtick, though the limitations show even over this short 72-minute film. She doesn’t cut as deep into race relations as Dave Chapelle or the South Park guys at their best, and she isn’t as ruthless on herself as the late Richard Pryor.

Even so, this film lets her display a smoldering screen presence that she’s never shown in her more traditional movie roles, especially during the staged musical numbers. In one of those, she regales the residents of a nursing home with a cheery song called “You’re Gonna Die Soon.” (“It’s not cold in here, you’re just dying!”) Who else in show business goes there?



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