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INNOCENCE AND MALICE

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She opens cough medicines in the store and tastes them, once used mascara to make it look like she had extra pubic hair and thinks that old black women are wise beyond their years but young black women are prostitutes.

She's Sarah Silverman, the main character in The Sarah Silverman Program, a bizarre, gross, stupid and laugh-out-loud-funny sitcom starring comic Sarah Silverman as a 36-year-old woman with a 9-year-old's mentality. Her woman-child is pushy, pouty and completely insensitive when she doesn't get her way, and Silverman plays her with a perfect mixture of wide-eyed innocence and utter malice.

A friend of mine calls Silverman's work "high concept, low humor," and he's not far off. She delights in bodily function jokes — queefing, diarrhea and fart humor is never far off. Nor are gay jokes. (Her neighbors are Brian and Steve, a gay couple played by Brian Posehn from The Comedians of Comedy and Steve Agee.)

But episodes are peppered with smart, hilariously offbeat lines, like when Officer Jay (Jay Johnston) tries to impress Sarah's sister, Laura (played by her real-life sister, Laura Silverman), by saying, "You know, I believe the Holocaust was completely uncalled for." Or when Sarah says her favorite person in the world used to be Jared from the Subway commercials until "he got too preachy." Or when Sarah takes in a homeless man — and makes him live in a cardboard box in her kitchen. When he asks for food, she says, "If I feed you, then you're gonna learn that food is just this free thing that you don't have to earn. And in a way, it's gonna make you homelesser."

It's sort of wise on its face and completely stupid underneath. Exactly, I suspect, what Silverman's after.

THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM
10:30 p.m. Thursday, Comedy Central
arts@orlandoweekly.com

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