September 7, 2010

Rabid Reads: "The Bedwetter" by Sarah Silverman

Title: The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee
Author: Sarah Silverman
Published: HarperCollins (2010)
Pages: 240
Category/Genre: Nonfiction; Humor
ISBN 978-0-06-185643-3

If you've wondered how Sarah Silverman grew up to become a foul-mouthed, gross-humored comedian with a penchant for stepping on the toes of prudes and pundits--whether intentional or otherwise--her autobiography gives the shocking answer: she grew up in a loving and supportive family. And she was also encouraged to cuss like a sailor when she was a wee toddler. It's jaw-dropping as it is to see a grown woman with such an adorable face and petite frame utter obscenities so coarse that you'd swear she had Tourette's syndrome. But to think an even tinier, more endearing version of her could reel off such language as to make Sam Kinison's zombie corpse blush. Well, it's like seeing a kitten repeatedly stab a puppy with a nailfile--something so cute shouldn't be capable of that.

I am an unapologetic fan of Sarah Silverman's work. Ever since I first heard her stand-up about a decade ago, I was a fan. I'm a fan of stand-up anyway, but Silverman was one of those comics that seemed to come from that George Carlin mindset. Hit the truth over the head with a sledgehammer when it's not looking, like guerrilla satire. Louis C.K., David Cross, et al.

Silverman is candid and self-deprecating, and finds time to mix in a healthy dose of "f--k you" to her critics. She really holds little back about her long-suffering bout of bed-wetting through childhood and even into her teen years--apparently failing to hold back has migrated from her bladder to her blather. She writes about her short-lived tenure at "Saturday Night Live" and gives a glimpse to the camaraderie and politics that occur in a place like 30 Rock. Plus, the controversy from years ago involving a joke that did not amuse the president of an Asian American special interest group. And she even offers a glimpse into the backstage shenanigans--and that's a very diplomatic word for the sh-t they got up to--of her now canceled television show.

There's one particular story about the time she hosted the MTV Movie Awards and told a joke about Paris Hilton's then impending jail term, unaware Hilton was even in the crowd that night. I remember that joke, which she repeats in the book thankfully, and thought it was hilarious. And all the more so because that untalented, vacuous, fame-starved wench was sitting right there surrounded by people who laughed in her face. Silverman hadn't meant for the joke to look so mean-spirited and genuinely felt bad for Hilton, though I don't think she needed to feel so guilty about it, considering the tabloids--that showed the temerity to slam Silverman for the joke--have said far worse about Paris Hilton and meant it.

I can't say if this is a better memoir than the others in the littany of celebrity-penned books that have hit shelves over the last couple of years, as I really can't be bothered to read Barbara Walters' Audition or Lauren Conrad's LA Candy. I can say that this was an entertaining read from a woman whose work I've enjoyed for years. If you're not familiar with her and her style of comedy though, I dare say some of this book might get lost in translation. Still, you might want to give it a shot.


  1. I usually don't read non-fiction, but I have to admit, I've come close to buying this book a couple times now. Your review has pushed me over the edge.

    I do tend to like books written by comedians.

  2. This was a good'n. I'll bet you like it.

  3. Yeah, now all I need to do is carve out enough time to read it. :-D