In the midst of her stand up act in Jesus is Magic, Sarah Silverman tells the audience a story about her Chinese friend urinating in her beverage as a joke. She crudely put it, “My chink friend pissed in my drink and said ‘me go pee-pee, make joke!’ I told him, if you have to explain that it’s a joke, then it’s not funny.”
Jesus is Magic is Sarah Silverman telling numerous controversial and racist jokes, while explaining why it is okay and funny to be controversial and racist. After so much explaining, what’s left to be funny?
Sing a Little, Tell a Few Jokes
The film begins with Sarah talking with her two comedian friends, who both seem to be very successful in the entertainment industry. Feeling intimidated because she hasn’t been working much lately (I wonder why), Sarah lies to them and says that she is performing a show that night. When asked what it is about, she says “It’s about the Holocaust. And AIDS. But, you know, funny.”
After they leave, she breaks out into song, singing about being a loser and how she’s screwed because she has to perform a show about AIDS and the Holocaust that night, but it isn’t even written. When she is done singing, she jumps on stage and starts her comedy act in front of a live audience. The rest of the film consists of her stand-up with a few random songs in between.
The songs, which are embarrassingly horrible, include Sarah standing in front of a bunch of elderly people at an old folks home, strumming a guitar and singing “You’re old. You’re gonna die soon.” And her “love” song was nothing more than “I love you more than Chinese people are good at math, I love you more than black people....”
Nothing is more clichéd and unfunny than reciting stupid ethnic stereotypes. This comedy is the equivalent of me going up to a black man and saying, “So you must like fried chicken, right?” Okay, so... it’s a stereotype, but does that make it automatically funny? Maybe I’m missing the point, but it seems to me that the backbone of most of these jokes are simple slurs.
At least she knows that half the attention she gets is from her looks. After the credit sequence at the end of the film, we see a small, meek looking girl with an overbite and braces standing in front of the same audience Sarah was. She tells a few of the same jokes that we’ve just heard, and instead of laughing, the audience just stares at her. Slowly and uncomfortably, she creeps off the stage.
Who’s Laughing Now? No, Really, Who?
I’ve always had a large crush on Sarah Silverman, especially from her hysterical bit in The Aristocrats, but this was just one disappointment after another. Maybe the idea of a beautiful Jewish egomaniac talking about AIDS and the Holocaust is a farcical concept, but I wasn’t laughing.