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Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic at TIFF

It's a comedy concert movie. It's 72 minutes long. It doesn't need to be seen on the big screen at all. And it's still the funniest thing I've ever seen at Midnight Madness, by a wide, wide margin. Anyone who (correctly) thinks that Sarah Silverman completely stole The Aristocrats in her less than three minutes onscreen will only be surprised by how that performance was just the tip of the genius-berg.

Silverman - who is smarter than me or you, and there's nothing hotter than that - has set out to make a concert movie. They tell us it's directed by Liam Lynch, but (sorry Liam!) no one's ever going to remember him. Forget Jesus; Silverman is Magic, and the resulting flick is as fresh and clever as she is. There's not a lot more going on here than just straight, two-camera coverage of Silverman doing her most recent material in front of an audience in 2004. Every once in a while, though, we'll cut to a production number where she'll sing a song about how many drugs a porn star would have to do in order to have sex without crying, or an animated tear-drop will leak down her face in the middle of the set and suddenly become lube for a stage hand's masturbation session. It's her way of continually reminding us that the entire enterprise of making a movie like this is nonsense to begin with. It's the sort of dismissal that forms the basis of her whole comedy act. That, and the racism.

Yup, Silverman effortlessly translates her sunny good looks and ditzy Jewish American Princess vibe into the perfect shield from which to attack anyone and everyone, except fat people, because "they're sensitive." She lambastes Asians, midgets, 9/11 victims, and those Ethiopian kids with the distended bellies. Her work is a riot of how the PC universe can be spun against itself without even having to do much work on it. The language is all there; you just have to know when to pause, when to forget something, and when to be incredibly specific about what you hope to discover upon exhuming your dead grandmother's corpse. Watching Silverman riff - because none of her material ever feels planned, although it doubtlessly is - is like a master class in how to use society's weapons against it.

If I'm talking about Silverman a lot, it's because a film like this doesn't just rest on her shoulders; it pretty much lives or dies by her. Silverman is great at what she does, and therefore, the movie is great at what it does. Jesus is Magic is a great document of just how funny this woman is at this point in her career. I sincerely hope there will be many more from her, as her particular viewpoint continues to find new targets and forms of expression.


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