Looking back on Netflix’s ‘Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust’
(Credit: Netflix)

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Looking back on Netflix's ‘Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust’

'Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust'- Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman is known for her deadpan delivery of sardonic humour that usually deals with topics ranging from sexism and racism to politics, religion and personal anecdotes. Incredibly self-aware, Silverman’s comedy has evolved over the years.

From never shying away from making controversial jokes to toning down on the satire and making her content more relatable to the general audience, Silverman’s disdain for the ex-President of the United States, Donald Trump, is pretty evident via her not-so-subtle references.

However, A Speck of Dust is perhaps one of Silverman’s most personal stand-up specials. As Bong Joon-ho said, “the most personal is the most creative” Silverman proves the same by making the audience’s sides ache with laughter. This 2017 special, which is now streaming on Netflix, sees her make a return after a scary postoperative recovery. She makes references to her surgery, gaining the laughs she craves. 

When she says that she will be “indulgent”, she keeps her promise. From making insane sex jokes to talking about Barbie dolls setting unrealistic beauty standards to using her new dog as a throwaway joke and later explaining the same, Silverman effortlessly transitions from one topic to the other. She is an expert at letting her stream of consciousness take control as she often stops to reflect on her comments, adding personability to other high-intelligence humour. Silverman regularly asks everyone to “put a pin to that thought” as she goes back to her comments, often letting her inner monologue do the talking. The comedian constantly pokes fun at religion and even makes sexual comments about God and Abraham—insisting on how ungodly Los Angeles is, Silverman’s unending odyssey of dissing religions and the nuns who raised her to make this riotous special even better.

Despite the number of suggestive jokes where she turns the grossest and most banal things into something hilarious, Silverman’s sharp and precise delivery pushes boundaries yet manages to be extremely amusing. For instance, when she makes fun of her Jewish ethnic background, she pauses to think: “Did it get a laugh?” and praises herself as the audience burst out in response. Even her digressions amidst the well-paced stand-up special add a very Silverman touch to it. 

However, in her entire story-telling nature of comedy, the one joke that stands out is where she resorts to toilet humour. The way she begins the jokes has everyone holding their breaths. The premise seems brutal as her sister, a freshman in college, is extremely drunk and puking while she feels her underwear being tugged off her body. The harrowing silence shows the horrifying anticipation regarding a sexual assault narration. But what follows leaves them rolling on the floor:

“She couldn’t turn around or stop it because she was throwing up so hard,” Silverman continues, stony-faced. “She’s vomiting and vomiting, and they’re tugging her underwear down. It’s going all the way down to the ground. And she finally finishes throwing up, and she whips her head around to see who’s there. But she didn’t see anybody. Because she had been shitting herself.”

Resorting to the edgiest humour laced with sarcasm and within the most familiar and personal narrative, Silverman continues to push the boundaries of comedy. She has evolved over the years; her humour has become more mature and effervescent. Beneath the zaniest jokes or crudest remarks lies a layer of authenticity that is unique to a comedian of Silverman’s stature.  

With Netflix’s comedy content currently being as bleak and lame as Jonas Brothers Family Roast, these gold mines are the ones we should all be turning to!