Monday, June 28, 2010

The Bedwetter, by Sarah Silverman

As a girl Sarah Silverman was put on 16 Xanax a day. Then one day she walked into her therapist's waiting room only to have the hypnotist who had unsuccessfully treated her unremitting bedwetting, and shared office space with the therapist, scream hysterically at her. Apparently the hypnotist had just discovered the therapist, who had just committed suicide, hung himself upstairs.

Sarah Silverman has some story to tell, and in "Bedwetter," she tells it in her signature style -- laden with sarcasm, explicit sexuality and a boatload of bathroom jokes. To be honest, I'm not the best person to review any comedian's memoir -- I just don't find most comedians very funny. My husband insists I'm a stick-in-the-mud, that I don't find anything funny, and maybe that's true, but I would rather think of myself as discriminating. At any rate, I would like to think that jokes that feature the word fart, or attempt to evoke laughs through the shock value of let's say, naming genitalia, are the keepsakes of the fraternity set. I don't get Silverman's humor, but then again, I don't get a lot of what passes as funny these days. Still, whatever you think of Silverman's humor, there is something very intriguing and likable about her.
Silverman's potty-mouthed memoir was breezy, giggly fun that left me craving the story behind all the snark and sex. Certainly, even with the little I knew of the Sarah Silverman "brand" at the outset, I realized this would not be a truth telling in the traditional sense; no light would be shone on the childhood sturm and drang that would ultimately give rise to her career as a comedienne. Still, I would have loved to have read that book.
But that's not the book Silverman wrote. "Bedwetter" gives us just a hint of the girl she was -- a petite, hirsute, depressed, anxiety-ridden, bedwetter that managed to somehow make it through childhood -- just barely, it seems -- and come out the other side with the sensibility of a drunken frat boy. In "Bedwetter" Silverman tells of the tough times she survived, and in doing so she garners my respect and admiration (you go,girl!). Did she make me laugh? Not really.

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