Sarah Silverman is a comedian whose one-woman show will be released on Friday as a feature-length film, Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic. Silverman appeared most recently in The Aristocrats, where her contribution led to a threatened lawsuit from Joe Franklin. (Silverman's version of the joke revolved around her "recollection" of a childhood rape by the longtime TV host.) Silverman made her comedy debut as a writer and performer on Saturday Night Live when she was 19 and has since been a frequent guest on programs ranging from Seinfeld to Mr. Show With Bob and David. We met in the bar of the Regency Hotel in New York, where Silverman curled up on a worn sofa in the corner.
Slate: You're often compared to Lenny Bruce and Sandra Bernhard, and you're on the cover of Heeb magazine this month. Do you think of yourself as a Jewish comedian?
Silverman: I just think of myself as a comedian, really. I mean, I talk about being Jewish a lot. It's funny because I do think of myself as Jewish ethnically, but I'm not religious at all. I have no religion.
Slate: Have you ever been pressured to pull a Winona Ryder (aka Winona Horowitz) and change your last name?
Silverman: I haven't. I'm thinking of changing my name to Horowitz though.
Slate: How did three of the Silverman sisters end up getting into show business and one is a rabbi?
Silverman: Ach, it's the same thing.
Slate:Your sister wrote a book, Jewish Family & Life: Traditions, Holidays, and Values for Today's Parents and Children.Are you going to follow her advice?
Silverman: Only when I'm visiting her. I just had Sabbath dinner at her house. And it's so great. It warms my heart because it's the whole family together and seeing the kids. I do love the idea of ritual. I'm a very ritualistic person. I have to wash my face twice, and on the second wash before I rinse, I brush my teeth, then I rinse, then I floss, then I put on moisturizer. I'm ritualistic. Jewishness is very ritualistic.
Slate: Do you have any rituals with Jimmy [Kimmel, her boyfriend]?