Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Sarah Silverman speaks out on Al Franken, Louis CK, and Roseanne

Silverman with comedian and former Democratic Senator Al Franken at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Silverman with comedian and former Democratic Senator Al Franken at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)

Sarah Silverman’s been choosing empathy over antagonizing as of late, with her Hulu series I Love You, America finding the foul-mouthed comedian working to find common ground with those across the political divide. She’s also been vocal about the #MeToo movement, since several of her close friends in the comedy community were outed for predatory or improper behavior. She’s previously spoken about her old colleague Louis CK, who, last year, admitted to masturbating in front of multiple women without their permission, and now a new GQ profile finds Silverman elaborating on her thoughts while touching on the artist’s life after being accused.

“I don’t have some definitive sound bite or nutshell of how I feel about it, even to myself. But I’m also okay with that,” she says of her recent talks with CK. When asked if she hopes CK comes back, she replies:

“I think that there are people who were caught and there were people who were not caught, but the important thing is that they are forever changed. And if that’s the case, I don’t see any reason why they can’t continue being artists. Now, whether they’re popular artists or not is up to the audience. I have compassion. There are people that just deny everything they’re accused of and they continue to be the politicians or the filmmakers that they are. And there are people that come and say, I’m guilty of these things, and I’m wrong, and I want to be changed from this. And yet those are the ones that kind of are excommunicated forever. He’s my brother, so it’s hard. I may not have a very clear perspective on it, but I’m trying to.”I almost think that trying is what’s important.


Silverman also spoke on Al Franken, the comedian and Minnesota senator who resigned after being accused by eight women of touching them inappropriately over the years. When asked if she’s talked to him since the resignation, she says:

“Mmm-hmm. He and [his wife] Franni are devastated. I understand that I may have cognitive distortion, because I love him so much. But all I can say is, and he may not be excited about this, but he has no sexuality. I believe in my heart of heart of hearts he never copped a feel. The sketch, the whole Leeann Tweeden sketch, is online. You can see it for yourself. It’s not funny, but it’s innocuous. He may have touched some sideboob by accident, or a tush by accident, but I’m telling you, Franni is his best friend and constant companion, and he has eyes for no one else. I’ve worked with him for years. I’m so sad that he got bullied into resigning, because all he loved in this world was being a senator and representing the people of Minnesota. I’ve never met a more pure person. On the show, you saw him kiss me on the lips. There is nothing sexual about it. He’s a Jewish grandpa. He gives you big, Jewish, wet-lipped kisses. This is a guy whose passion was serving people and making the world a better place. There’s a lot of baby-in-bathwater stuff, I think. We’ll just get it in the process.”

Silverman is also a fan of the new Roseanne, which ignited debate online due to Roseanne Barr’s real-life penchant for spreading dangerous pro-Trump conspiracy theories.

She says:

I had the gall to get high one night and watch episodes one and two of Roseanne. And I thought it was lovely. And I have personal friends that went after me on Twitter. All I could think was ‘I spent all Saturday with you. You have my e-mail address. What is your motivation here?’ ”

Who was it?

“You can look for yourself. [Note: It was Kumail Nanjiani.] He was loving but stern. I thought the show was really special because it showed a Trump voter who heard JOBS and voted and has checked out ever since but now finds herself splitting up her meds with her husband because they can’t afford them anymore. If Trump voters see that show as a safe space, even better. Because their porcupine needles are down and they’re open to things that they maybe wouldn’t be open to in other cases.”


The full GQ article, which also touches on some of Silverman’s own recent controversies, is well worth a read. You can do that here.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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