Getty Images

Comedian Sarah Silverman compares being an ageing woman in Hollywood to ‘a slow-moving horror movie’

Real talk and real sass.

28 Nov 2018

Sarah Silverman is everything you would expect - and more - from a stand-up comedian who is at the top of her game. Erratic in the most endearing of ways, I find Sarah reclining in a Michelin Man approved puffer jacket enthusiastically debating why whenever you ask for ice in London you are NEVER given more than three cubes before instantly forgetting her beef and opening her arms for the warmest of embraces.

Following her smash hit comedy show, I Love You America, receiving rave reviews for serving up social taboos and sexism with a heavy dose of lols, Sarah reprises her high octane role as Vanellope von Schweetz in the follow-up to Wreck It Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet. This is a Disney star, unlike any other and we LOVE her for it.

Here, Sarah discusses her insecurity around ageing in Hollywood and the valuable lessons about validation that Ralph Breaks the Internet will teach ALL of us…

Getty Images

You seem like the most unlikely Disney star. When you got the call, what were you thinking and was there a hazing process?

You have to kill someone and then you get a little Mickey Mouse tattoo. No, I don’t know. It just kind of came right to my front door. A couple of people asked me if I just talked like this and they used technology to make me Penelope and I was like, ‘no, it’s the voice I do,’ but it is not so dissimilar to my voice.

You serve up the serious topics with laughter. Do you think that’s the best way we can deal with the situation we find ourselves in in 2018?

It’s a great way to give ourselves a break but comedy is truer and more honest than what’s going on in the world. They say you can tell a more accurate view of history by looking at the comedy, rather than the news. Somebody writes the news, somebody writes history books. It’s all white men for centuries.

When it comes to Ralph, even though it may not be Ralph’s best self, it is part of his self which is all we are. Humans are just made up of emotions and all we can do is decipher them, wonder about them and ask ourselves where we think it comes from. These countries are f**ked because they are led by people who don’t live examined lives. We’re suffering because of their lives and this movie explores the internet, which has affected all of our lives so profoundly. It builds us up, it crushes us down and before we know it, we’ve placed our whole worth on faceless entities and that’s such a common thing for all of us and it’s always a struggle to try get how we feel about ourselves from within ourselves.

Getty Images

The Disney villain in Ralph Breaks The Internet isn’t a person – it’s Ralph’s insecurity. What is the biggest insecurity you’ve had to face putting yourself in the public eye?

Being too beautiful! I am joking! It’s not easy getting older. I never thought it would be hard to say my age. But it is odd; the very slow-moving horror movie that is being a woman ageing in showbusiness. I’m lucky I’m funny so I feel very lucky but it’s very odd.

That’s so true because we are becoming more representative but not necessarily with age…

You guys have Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench… all these older women who are sexual and have sexuality and are wildly vital people. So many of your women stars are of an age. A lot of time I feel the second you become an age where you’re not manipulated by men and you have your own thoughts and views, people just expect you to fall under a rock because you have a wrinkle.

When it comes to the internet - so many people get their validation from social media and can’t have human interaction, too…

Exactly! I get a little anxiety about calling someone on the phone because I never talk on the phone anymore.

What would you want to say to the young audience watching this film about the negative effects of the internet?

The difference between humans and computers are getting blurred. We can’t stop progress, but I think they might have a better time realising they won’t find their happiness online and I think it’s harder for people our age. This thing came along, it filled us up, we want more and more and we’re pinning our worth on it. I’m hoping kids get to a place where they are more sophisticated than us because they’ve only known a world of computers and they might get bored of them and go play. I feel like it’s properly naïve to say in my day we played outside. Yeah, it’s true but there’s probably something new coming that will also be healthy. It’s just the wild west right now. There’s no way to curate a healthy balance these days.


How have you dealt with cyber bullying?

I think it’s great to call out cyber bullying, but you have to remember cyber bullies are people too. Why are they bullies? Behind every bully, there’s an even bigger bully. These are people who need help. I’m not saying it’s your job to help them. I haven’t figured it out, but I can tell you what my struggle is. On my Hulu show, I interviewed a guy who was a Neo-Nazi skinhead. He isn’t anymore and now he spends his life trying to get out of hate groups and I asked him what his advice would be, and he said, ‘find someone who doesn’t deserve your compassion and give it to them anyway.’ That gesture moved him so much. I ask myself all the time, ‘what would I do if I met him those years ago? Would I have compassion for him?’ I’m not standing here saying have compassion for Nazi but it’s a quandary I have all the time.

How do you manage comedy in a post #MeToo world?

Just in general, as I grow and change and learn more and break more out of my liberal bubble, we know it’s wrong, so we can say it. I find it may be more challenging to be woke and hardcore, edgy and funny but it’s not impossible. As a comic, you should be up for that challenge. For me, I love the challenge of trying to find a way to incorporate empathy and hard comedy. I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge does that excellently.

Ralph Breaks The Internet is in cinemas from 30th November.