Did Sarah Silverman risk NBC gig with abortion joke?

Comedienne Sarah Silverman took some heat after tweeting an unfunny “aborsh” joke along with before-and-after photos a couple weeks ago, garnering the attention of Drudge and the worldwide media.

On April 17 Silverman tried to pull the joke back, although as Jivin J pointed out, Politico’s characterization of this as an “apology” was exceedingly generous…

And even that slight surrender apparently grated on Silverman so much she had to take another stab at abortion humor while simultaneously reassuring her peers she was still staunchly pro-abortion, tweeting 11 minutes later…

But it is not like Silverman to pull back. According to Reuters:

In 2001, Silverman joked on NBC’s “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” that she got out of jury duty by writing “I love chinks” on a selection form.

The joke, again, was the shock value, and her supposed racial cluelessness. The Media Action Network for Asian-Americans demanded an apology, which she refused to give, and suggested the group wasn’t sincerely offended but was rather using the incident to raise its profile.

But in this case it was apparently pragmatism that forced Silverman to check herself. Fame and money preclude abortion jokes, which just aren’t funny to most Americans – or television execs watching their own bottom line. And when even a Tinseltown rag and its followers raise their eyebrows, you know you’ve gone too far…

Back to Reuters:

There’s a long tradition of edgy comedians sanding down their edges as they try to make themselves generically likable enough to score network sitcoms.

Sarah Silverman is not part of that tradition.

With NBC soon to decide whether to give her a show in the fall, the “Sarah Silverman Program” star made an abortion joke that struck some as too flippant….

Drudge linked to the story with the headline, “Sarah Silverman tweets ‘before-and-after abortion’ photos, failing to note that, in fact, no abortion had occurred.

But try explaining that to anyone who sees even the possibility of a Silverman show on NBC as more evidence that a monolithic media has a left-wing, anti-family agenda.

The pilot would seem to have a strong chance of becoming a series when NBC makes its decision this spring about which of its pilots will become series. The currently titled “Susan 313” is produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, among others, and Jeff Goldblum has reportedly signed on to guest star. NBC and Silverman’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment for this story.

NBC must know what it’s getting into with Silverman. Picking up the show will be a signal that the network is willing to deal with at least the possibility that she’ll say or do something controversial, on or off the air.

Silverman is into gross-out humor, as a scan of her her tweets quickly shows.  NBC obviously knows what it’s getting into if it contracts with Silverman. So apparently anus, rectum, porn, and male anatomy jokes are okay, but abortion jokes go a step too far.  Interesting. One topic Silverman is going to have to censor herself on if she wants to make the big jump from cable to network television is abortion.

[HT: Chicken Man]

21 thoughts on “Did Sarah Silverman risk NBC gig with abortion joke?”

  1. I think if NBC drops the idea of a Silverman Sitcom it won’t be because NBC decided to be more family friendly and more conservative, but it will rather be due to the fact that they don’t think her show will be funny and profitable.  However, lately it doesn’t seem NBC is too concerned about making a profit, so most likely it will be dropped because she is just not funny. 


  2. You really have to wonder sometimes, how did it come to this, that a woman would fight tooth and nail for the right to kill her own offspring?


  3. Off topic:

    Yesterday Michelle Bachmann was on Greta’s show on Fox.  I like hearing Congresswoman Bachmann speak. 

    She gave out a shout-out to “Tea Party people, Evangelicals, and Social Conservatives.”

    This is a small point, request, but I would like it if she gave a shout out to Catholics, and included them in her role-call.   I think all GOP members would be wise to starting calling Catholics into their party as a Group. 

    I hope the GOP tries to reach out to more Catholics, and talks about how the Party welcomes and wants all Catholics, including those Catholics that were previously Democrats!  

    Paul Ryan and other Republican politicians (like McDonnell) can explain how capitalism is in alignment with Catholic social justice concepts and teaching. For example, I hope the GOP talks about how their economic vision of free markets is the preferential option for the poor among the competing economic systems – that the free market system does a better job of helping the poor than does a socialistic economy.


  4. The story of Sarah Silverman is an an inspirational one. It tells of how far one can make it in life without any discernible talent. 


  5. Did anyone else notice she said “when they take our right to choose away” and not if? 


  6. @Sarah: IKR?  I was laughing so hard about that.  Even people who are strongly pro-abortion think it’s a matter of when and not if. :D
    I would wish for a better apology, but I think Jill is right that this is an overall good sign.  If even Silverman, of all people, feels she has to pull back from abortion jokes, then the pro-life movement has done a good job of communicating that abortion isn’t funny.  Period.


  7. Love Sarah and her sister laura. Beautiful women who make me laugh and fight for what is right. Laura was fantastic in nurse Jackie this season and Sarah as always knows what comedy is all about.


  8. Oh, boy! One of our most ridiculous trolls has returned!!!!!! This will be entertaining!!!!!!!


  9. Sarah isnt funny and never has been. She herself joked that she looked like Olive Oyle. I couldnt agree more. I think shes just an attention seeker because I saw her in a movie once and kept waiting for her to make me laugh. Yeah I’m sure Jake really finds her funny. Hes just here to induce conflict. Hes an abortion loving male because he can get his jollies consequence free. Shame on him. 


  10. Since when is abortion funny? By Silverman trying to make it more acceptable through a joke, the entire thing totally backfires. It makes it even sicker. Please show an actual end result aborted baby beside this joke and I’ll bet nobody would be laughing. She’s just an attention seeking psycho and just like her buddy Joy Behar, her show is sure to be short lived. Going for shock value? Madonna already did it all and now she needs to go and sit down! Madonna was able to pull off shock value material, but now it’s just old and tired when others go in for the kill. Silverman is a moron. Especially when she teamed up with Matt Damon and the song “I “blanked Matt Damon”…..stoooooopid!


  11. The show was dropped. The testing audiences universally panned it. They hated the character played by comedian Tig Notaro the most. The show was a mess. I don’t think the abortion joke played much part in the demise of this stinker.


  12. Once I started reading the responses I realized that this was a website for idiots.


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