Comedian Sarah Silverman signs new book, 'Bedwetter,' at Borders in D.C.

Silverman read at Borders.
Silverman read at Borders. (Emily Yahr/twp - Emily Yahr/twp)
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By Emily Yahr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 23, 2010

Of all the words to associate with Sarah Silverman -- the comedian famous for creating a video about fornicating with Matt Damon -- "rules" wouldn't be the first to come to mind.

So it was a surprise for people who showed up to Borders at 18th and L streets NW on Thursday night to be greeted with a bright orange flier listing the do's and don'ts of meeting Silverman, in attendance to sign copies of her new memoir, "The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee."

Do: Buy a copy of "The Bedwetter" if you want to have a chance to get in line (spaces are limited, after all). Don't: Even think about asking her to personalize the signing. Or sign anything else. Or take a picture with her. And so on.

Though store marketing manager Gillian Plaunt insisted that the rules were natural for a book signing with a large turnout (the crowd was around 300 people), and Silverman wouldn't have time to sign every book in the crowd without the restrictions, some fans' discontent was palpable as they learned about the rules.

"It's a little disappointing," said Todd Grover of Northern Virginia.

"That seems to contrast with her personality," said Scott Engle of Washington.

"I was hoping for a witty exchange," Sara Keller of Maryland said wistfully, as she stood outside the store. Keller, with her long black hair and self-proclaimed dry sense of humor, says people call her "Sarah Silverman-esque."

Silverman, who has "The Sarah Silverman Program" on Comedy Central and a stand-up act, is well known for her love of jokes about flatulence, feces and Paris Hilton. She kept things mostly toned down at the signing, however, and swore only twice (once when the 39-year-old realized she forgot her reading glasses).

"How's everybody doing, where you from, Washington, D.C.?" she asked as she searched through her bag for the glasses.

"It's rhetorical," she said as people started yelling out answers.

Dressed down as usual in jeans, a plaid shirt, gray hoodie, with her jet-black hair pulled up in a ponytail, she spent five minutes reading a chapter. The excerpt, which dealt with bullies from high school holding her down and forcing her to eat meat though they knew she was a vegetarian, drew applause throughout, and Silverman paused in all the right places for laughter.

After the reading, the Borders staff expertly whisked the crowd through to have Silverman sign their books quickly, though she seemed perfectly content to chat about everything from the T-shirts people were wearing to theories on "Lost."

Plaunt said that the crowd was on the larger size for a book signing, and that people had started lining up before 4 p.m., nearly 2 1/2 hours before the event was scheduled to start.

When Silverman arrived about 40 minutes before the signing, small entourage in tow, she asked a manager why her book wasn't in the front of the store.

It's policy, the manager explained.

She didn't seem pleased.

Turns out, Sarah Silverman doesn't like rules, either.

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