Sarah Silverman is known for her direct approach to comedy, but the events in Ferguson and around the country involving racial disparities between African-Americans and police officers have caused her to change up her routine.
In an interview with The Guardian about her upcoming film I Smile Back, Silverman said she doesn’t believe racial jokes should be performed in the nation’s current climate.
“Racial jokes that were just kind of being absurd have less charm in a world where we’re all very aware that white cops are killing black teenagers on a daily basis,” she said. “In the context of the world as it is now, it would be less absurdist. It’s important to change with the times.”
In the past, Silverman has been hit with criticism for her racially themed material, particularly the use of an offensive Asian slur during her 2001 interview with Conan O’Brien. However, she’s been open to changing her routine and knows that her jokes will cause discomfort.
“I learned early on not to defend my material because there were going to be people who would be offended by anything I say,” she said. “I have to just go with the guide of my own gut and heart and stomach.”
Other comedians have also spoken out about Ferguson. Earlier this summer, Dave Chappelle touched on the topic. The funny man said he was asked “when would racism end?” to which he replied:
“When you see a Whole Foods in Ferguson, it’s over. When we see black people saying, ‘I need some quinoa,’ we’ll be okay.”
In her new film, Silverman steps out of her comedy roots by playing a suburban mother with a drug addiction.