This past summer, our dear friends got married in Nantucket. While wandering around the island the morning of the wedding, we ran into Sarah Silverman. In fact, I showed her where to get coffee (yeah, I'm just that cool...) She was kind, personable and very self-deprecating. I totally wanted to be her BFF!
So, I was so excited to read her memoir, The Bedwetter. Given what I knew of her, I was fully prepared for a book fully of references to bathroom habits, funny noises and dirty jokes. What I got instead was an honest and fulfilling review of Sarah's youth and a commentary on the major events that have taken place in her life to date.
Don't get me wrong- the book was hilarious! She begins with a foreward written by, yup, Sarah Silverman. She states how honored she was when she asked herself to write the foreward of her book. She says she's always been a fan of her work and was so excited to be a part of her own book. I laughed out loud throughout.
More than that, though, I got to learn more about what made Sarah into the witty, sharp and pottymouthed woman she is. She focused on many childhood issues that most of us would still be too embarrassed to talk about. For example, she wet the bed. It was an issue she struggled with until she was a teenager. But, rather than allow the incident to define who she was, she chose to make it only a part of her. Obviously, it's hard to be social when you fear you'll have an accident any time there's a sleep-over party. It's challenging to make friends when you're carrying an embarrassing secret. But, Sarah's humor wasn't a defense mechanism; she was funny before she had a secret. As a result, her humor is, I think, deeper and more thoughtful. Sarah's humor doesn't try to hide facets of her being, but instead illuminates aspects of her life-- and ours-- that are silly or inexplicable.
Because many comedians turn to comedy as a means of coping, it's assumed that they develop fairly thick skin. And, frankly, I've come to believe that many are kind of mean-- the world's been unkind to them, so they're unkind in return. Sarah's memoir reminds us that she doesn't have the layer of armor that many of her peers do, probably because she has enjoyed a fairly normal, stable and, usually, a happy life. While that makes her fabulous and a great candidate for a BFF, it also means that the cruelties that can accompany fame hit her harder than some. Because Sarah doesn't aim to be mean or to hurt anyone, she has a fairly deep reaction when someone is offended by her acts. It's not that she's weak, she simply comes to comedy from a different perspective.
Sarah doesn't aim to be a role model and she didn't write the book to boast about all that's she's accomplished. In many ways, I think she wrote the book as an explanation-- this is what I am and this is why I've done what I've done. She writes about her highs and lows, her disappointments, and her proudest achievements. Hers is an immensely fun and readable story from a truly funny person... who really should be my BFF!