When it comes to Sarah Silverman, the best thing to do is simply sit back and listen. She is woman, hear her roar. No, actually, hear yourself roar. The fact that she shouldn't be saying those things and you shouldn't be laughing at them makes it even more deliciously painful. She is so funny she should come with a seven-day waiting period.
Silverman has been a cult figure for some time. Even with a stint on "Saturday Night Live" in the '90s and a vivid part in 2003's "The School of Rock," she has remained largely below the radar. "Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic," directed by ex-music vid guy Liam Lynch, is a way for the rest of us to catch up, basically a performance filmed at a Hollywood theater with a few attempts to break out and find an independent, off-stage reality. There are song parodies, trips backstage, but it's all just filler to stretch 40 golden minutes of inspired stand-up to 72 minutes, barely enough to pass it off as a feature-length, trip-to-the-theater-worthy film.
All the junk turns out to be worth it. Onstage, Silverman becomes some strange apparition of deliverance, or blasphemy. She radiates the self-confidence of clueless beauty, playing the stereotypical Jewish American Princess, with an emphasis on self-absorption, moral superiority based on the freakish genetic gift of beauty, amused intolerance for, ick, the many lesser others, and the quiet confidence that only really white, straight teeth can give. The devastating events of Sept. 11, 2001, for example, "happened the same exact day that I found out that the soy chai latte was, like, 900 calories. I had been drinking them every day. You hear soy, you think healthy. And it's a lie."
You sit there thinking, good lord, does she mean it? She can't mean it! Can she say that? Can we laugh? We shouldn't laugh. It's not nice to laugh at . . .
-- Stephen Hunter