A 2007 ‘The Sarah Silverman Program’ sketch featuring the comedian in blackface lost her an incredible film role, she revealed in a new interview.
Sarah Silverman claims she was once fired from a film after producers found a 2007 sketch from The Sarah Silverman Program that showed the comedian, 48, in blackface. “I recently was going to do a movie… a really sweet part and a cool little movie,” Sarah recalled on the August 8 episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, not revealing the name of the film. “Then at 11:00pm the night before, they fired me because they saw that picture of me in blackface from that episode. So they hired someone else who’s wonderful but who’s never stuck her neck out.” Sarah explained that she “didn’t fight it,” but said “it was so disheartening, it just made me real, real sad because I’ve kind of devoted my life to making it right.”
The episode of her former Comedy Central series follows a fictionalized version of Sarah, who dons blackface to figure out if it’s more difficult to be be black or jewish. The sketch was intended as satire, and showed the comedian saying gazing in the mirror saying, “I look like the beautiful Queen Latifah,” and showing up to an African-American church, where she tells the congregation, “I’m black today.” Sarah has spoken out about the sketch several times and told GQ last year that she does not stand by it. “I’m horrified by it, and I can’t erase it. I can only be changed by it and move on. That was such liberal-bubble stuff, where I actually thought it was dealing with racism by using racism. I don’t get joy in that anymore. It makes me feel yucky.”
Sarah said on the podcast that “there was so much I didn’t know” when she was making the episode in 2007. “I knew there was racism, I knew that there was and I wanted to illuminate that in some way in comedy. But I didn’t know that cops were killing black people and unarmed black teenagers on the regular, and that changed me forever.”