The Washington Post

Signs of laughter

Sarah Silverman in a scene from her new HBO special, “We Are Miracles.” (Janet Van Ham)

Judging by the promos, Sarah Silverman’s new special, “We Are Miracles” (10 p.m. Sat., HBO), will be very similar to the set she staged in April at D.C.’s Warner Theatre.

Similar, that is, except for what will be missing: American Sign Language interpreters.

As great as Silverman was — her material included bits on pornography, religion and Barack Obama — her interactions with the two interpreters added another dimension of humor to the show.

Whenever Silverman said something explicit, I had to see how the interpreter would sign it. There was one translation during the porn segment (which I can’t restate here) that was so amusing to both Silverman and the audience that she kept repeating the phrase so the interpreter would keep signing it.

While I’ve been to concerts with ASL interpreters before, I’d never thought of what it was like for a deaf person to see stand-up. So much of live comedy is about wording, delivery, tone and inflection.

It’s also about sharing laughter with a group of strangers. At Silverman’s show, she made sure everyone was laughing.

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.

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