Sarah Silverman still doesn’t get how to talk about blackfaceAugust 13, 2019
Take a quick second to Google comedian Sarah Silverman and Queen Latifah’s names together. The first images will be of gifs or screencaps from Silverman’s 2007 Comedy Central sketch show, The Sarah Silverman Show, showing the comedian in full blackface. Wearing the costume of minstrel shows — including the overly painted lips — Silverman says during the sketch, “I look like the beautiful Queen Latifah.”
While appearing as a guest on the Bill Simmons Podcast this week, Silverman revealed that she had recently been fired from a film production for the sketch. On the podcast, Silverman said, “I recently was going to do a movie, a sweet part, then at 11pm the night before, they fired me because they saw a picture of me in blackface from that episode.”
“I didn’t fight it. They hired someone else who is wonderful but who has never stuck their neck out,” Silverman added. “It was so disheartening. It just made me real, real sad, because I really kind of devoted my life to making it right.”
The revelation itself is not a problem. If you dress up in blackface, there is no statute of limitations on how long people can bring that up — and as a white woman, it certainly isn’t Silverman’s place to attempt to set one. What’s interesting is that Silverman brought up her blackface appearance within the context of discussing “cancel culture” and the “culture of people going backwards”, or digging into content made years prior in an effort to discredit public figures now.