Editor’s Note: Noah Cohen was a finalist for The Norman E. Alexander Award for Excellence in Jewish Student Writing. Nearly 70 contestants from around the country answered the following question: “Choose a living or deceased Jewish-American woman and write about her legacy in any field such as law, medicine, sports, politics, entertainment, and more. Why are her accomplishments meaningful to you?” The contest was sponsored by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame and The Jewish Week Media Group.
Stand-up comedians are no longer just middle-aged, suit-clad, cigarette-puffing, scotch-drinking, wisecracking men from Long Island. Those men are long since retired. Luckily, to take their place is none other than a 46-year-old Jewish woman from New Hampshire with a vocabulary profane enough to make grown men gasp, and a mind so far in the gutter that the local sanitation department deemed it a lost cause. Sarah Silverman has taken the world by storm with a career chock full of success, controversy, critical acclaim and harsh criticism. Her jokes have commented on such topics as race, sexuality and gender. Additionally, she harnesses her unique ability to spout out jokes about taboo topics such as rape and terrorism with ease and laid-back charismatic charm. Is she offensive? Very. Will she hurt your feelings? Probably (but don’t mention that to her for she most definitely will tell you exactly where you should stick your feelings). Her work on television shows such as “Saturday Night Live” and “The Larry Sanders Show” has displayed her originality, versatility and ability to bring out the humor in nearly every situation.
Silverman has earned notoriety outside of the comedy clubs as well. Her political activism for Sen. Bernie Sanders, and later former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for president of the United States, garnered much attention. A self-proclaimed feminist and progressive, Silverman is well known on her social media pages for being a vocal supporter of women’s rights, social change and freedom for all. Many celebrities have chosen to stay silent about politics, for fear of backlash. But leave it to the woman who once made a joke about the sex lives of 9/11 widows, to not care what people think about her opinions and ideas. A leader in a world of followers, Silverman has risen from humble beginnings to an empire built on dirty satire and outrageous commentary. Say what you will about the merit of her comedy, but Sarah Silverman has, without a doubt, secured her place in comedy history.