“HBO special ‘We Are Miracles’ highlights how edgy material is limiting a promising career”
This is the sub-heading of a surprisingly sexist article from Brian Lowry, a TV columnist over at Variety.com, about Sarah Silverman’s latest HBO special, We Are Miracles. But how this got past the editor straight to being put up on the website is beyond anyone’s guess. The article, titled “Sarah Silverman’s Bad Career Move: Being as Dirty as the Guys” doesn’t even bother to hide the inherent sexism in what the writer is trying to get across;
Sarah Silverman is a woman, and therefore must follow the “rules and boundaries” of a female comic.
This thesis statement of Mr. Lowry’s is beyond despicable, and frankly, is quite appalling, and something I didn’t think I’d ever see from the likes of Variety.com, a website I frequently go to for entertainment news and opinion pieces (Will I do that from now on? It’s hard to say now). Also, feel free to find the article on your own, but for the sake of not giving him even more traffic, I am not providing a link here.
Lowry digs in to criticize Silverman’s pilot for NBC, “Susan 313,” which wasn’t picked up, and Silverman even admits that it was the best decision for them not to pick it up. I suppose I can attempt to see Lowry’s logic in picking apart a project of Silverman’s to evaluate her as a comic, but it was clearly a piece that, Silverman agrees, had some issues, and shouldn’t necessarily reflect Silverman as an artist. It was a work in progress that never reached the point it needed to as a pilot. Therefore, Mr. Lowry, do NOT use an artist’s unfinished product as means to evaluate said artist.
Furthermore, back to the remarks which inspired this particular blog, Lowry almost comes off as he thinks he’s making a valiant effort to save Silverman’s career. He laments her playing in a 39-seat house, rather than playing somewhere like Madison Square Garden, saying it’s “a pretty good metaphor for her career, opting for the intimacy of a side room instead of the main stage.” Because we know only the great comics make it to MSG (Everyone still loves Dane Cook, right?) You can hear his desperate appeal coming off of the page.
“Oh poor Sarah! She’s got such great abilities as an actress, I know she does! She’s got the potential! Why doesn’t she just do what all other female comics do and follow their path? She can and should do more!”
That last italicized line is pulled from the article itself, and it raises even more qualms. Sarah Silverman knows EXACTLY what she’s doing. Comedians and artists (for the most part) have a decent grasp of their career trajectory, especially the modern stand-up comedian. They work on the project they want to work on, and they don’t need the general public telling them how to navigate their career. Obviously I don’t want to speak for the entirety of the stand-up comedian community (I have little-to-no right to do so), but in today’s world of comedy, from my own vantage point, comedians seem to know what they’re doing.
I feel like my point has come across pretty clearly, but just to reiterate.
Mr. Lowry; welcome to 2013! Here, we let comedians be comedians, male or female, white or black, gay or straight, and we don’t judge them for it, or tell them what the “right career move” is for them. Perhaps the “right career move” for you would be to retract your article and apologize.
And then watch another Sarah Silverman special. Seriously, she’s damn hilarious the way she is.