Popular Comedy People Launch New Internet Thing at SXSW

According to Wikipedia, "Jash" is a Kurdish word referring to enemy collaborators who fight against the interests of country, used in a similar (and pejorative) manner as "quisling" or "Benedict Arnold." According to the Internet, Jash is also the name of a new comedy channel launched over the weekend at South By Southwest, put on by YouTube and starring Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, and Reggie Watts. The goal of the project is to create "a comedy platform with complete creative autonomy," although the description of the SXSW launch event sounds way more, well, SXSW-y, complete with buzzy phrases like "collaborative innovation in the digital space" and "the thriving world of digital media in entertainment." Woof.

And, because this is SXSW and people have to tweet about literally everything that happens there, portmanteaus, puns and taglines people have come up with on Twitter about this thing already include "Jashhead, Flash your Jash, Jashtag, Jashed Potatoes, splishsplash I was taking a Jash, Jashercized." We’ll see where it all goes from here. In the meantime, watch the first ever Jash video below. In it, there are scenes of popular YouTube videos being destroyed, which may be wishful thinking for everyone who has grown weary of Harlem Shakes and screaming goats. 

 

Sarah Silverman’s Sister is a Badass Rabbi

Sarah Silverman has always put her Jewish faith front and center as material for her comedy, as well as her Barack Obama-backing voter initiatives, during which she referred to herself as “your Jewish friend” and, in 2008, encouraged young Jews in Florida to get their grandparents to vote for Obama with a campaign called “The Great Schlep,” one of the many delightful words for which we have Yiddish to thank. This is a thing we all know about Sarah Silverman.

A thing we (or, most of us who don’t regularly hang out with Sarah Silverman) didn’t all know about Sarah Silverman until this week is that she has a sister who is a Reform Jewish rabbi in Jerusalem, and, as it turns out, pretty badass. On Monday, Rabbi Susan Silverman and her teenage daughter were among 10 women detained at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, for praying while wearing tallit, the prayer shawl traditionally worn by men. Susan Silverman is part of Women of the Wall, an organization of Jewish women fighting the ultra-Orthodox doctrines surrounding the holy sites and aiming to lift the ban on women wearing traditional prayer garb at the Wall. And they don’t plan on stopping their campaign any time soon.

Sarah Silverman, naturally, took to social media to express support for her sister’s actions, writing that she was “SO proud” of her and her niece, in a manner which only Silverman really could ("U R the tits!"). And for what it’s worth, their family parties must be pretty amazing.

Sarah Silverman Once Got Punched In The Face Defending The Pluck U Chicken

Whether this story about Sarah Silverman getting punched in the face by the New Jersey scum while defending the Pluck U chicken almost doesn’t matter, because it is awesome.

Silverman was promoting the kids’ flick Wreck-It Ralph in the UK’s Guardian and somehow got to talking about the three different times she’s been punched in the face: once at Comic-Con by a man wearing a Hulk fist, once by Ryan Phillipe while filming a movie scene, and once while defending the guy dressed up like the Pluck U chicken from getting beaten up.

She explains, I hope truthfully:

I used to pass out flyers on the corner of 3rd and MacDougal in New York City for a comedy club from 4pm to 2am. I was sharing the corner with the Pluck U Chicken, who was this young, Asian student in a chicken suit. He was a sweetheart. The scariest people in New York City are the bridge and tunnel beer-drinking teens, and one night they started pushing him around and I got in between them, not out of heroism, it just didn’t occur to me in a million years one would hurt precious me. Some guy punched me square in the temple and knocked me unconscious.

You’ll be happy to hear the other punching incidents weren’t quite so dangerous: ComicCon dude got dragged away by security, while Phillipe only left an "egg" on her jaw.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

Upcoming Hurricane Sandy Benefits Shows From Aziz Ansari, Neil Young, Grizzly Bear, and More

If you still want to help out East Coasters affected by Hurricane Sandy and do so in an environment with adult beverages and high-caliber entertainment, this week, a couple more enticing Sandy benefits have been announced. So if you’re looking for something to do next week and live in the greater New York, Atlantic City, or Los Angeles areas, here you go.

Neil Young and Crazy Horse will perform in Atlantic City on December 6th at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, with proceeds going to the Red Cross.

On December 10th, a group of comedians you might recognize are getting together for “We Hate Hurricanes,” a night of comedy to benefit the victims of Hurricane Sandy at L.A.’s Nokia Theater. The venerable Jon Hamm is emceeing the event, with headliners Aziz Ansari, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, and music from Beck along with even more acts. All proceeds from the show will go to AmeriCares, and pre-sale tickets go on sale today; general sale starts tomorrow.

One of the biggest announced shows is the 12/12/12 benefit gig for the Robin Hood Relief Fund, on December 12th at Madison Square Garden. The headliners play like an all-star Super Bowl halftime show: Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Paul McCartney, Bon Jovi, Billy Joel, The Who, Eddie Vedder, Dave Grohl, and, of course, Bruce Springsteen. If you still want to help out and rock out but the idea of a Bon Jovi show at the Garden sounds a bit too overwhelming, New York’s Terminal 5 is hosting a “4Artists1Cause” benefit on December 14th, featuring performances from Grizzly Bear, Sleigh Bells, Antlers, and Cults. More acts will be announced soon. Tickets are $40, with proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

Sarah Silverman Goes From Scissoring Sheldon to Arming Seniors

Not content with just convincing young Jewish kids to go down to Florida to convince their bubbes and zaydes to vote for Barack Obama in 2008, or with offering Mitt Romney backer and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson the opportunity to scissor with her if he donated to Obama instead, Sarah Silverman released another campaign video warning people about possible interference from voter ID laws. In the video, “your Jewish friend” Silverman discusses how Voter ID laws are designed to disenfranchise certian groups and notes that in some states, veterans’ cards and student IDs don’t count as voter identification, but firearm licenses do. The solution? Make sure people register to vote any way they can—even if it means getting Nana a gun.Today, incidentally, is National Voter Registration Day, so no matter your politics, you should probably go register to vote and get your democracy on.

Watch Silverman’s latest campaign offering below. As always, I don’t need to tell you this under any circumstances, but don’t read the YouTube comments. They will make your brain cry.

Jimmy Kimmel Excuses Adam Carolla’s Sexist Comments About Women

I would like to think Jimmy Kimmel is not a sexist douchebag, seeing how he dated Sarah Silverman for so many years. I can’t see her staying with a man with discriminatory views towards women. So I’m scratching my head as to why Kimmel stood up for sexist comments about how "women aren’t funny" made by his former co-host of The Man Show, Adam Carolla. "I think Adam says a lot of things he doesn’t mean," Kimmel told TheWrap.com at a Television Critics Association panel on this year’s Emmys. Oh really?

So when Adam blabbed to Larry Getlen at The New York Post at length about how women aren’t funny, that was just a very loooooooong-winded offhand "I don’t mean it" comment?

Do you hate working with women?

No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they’re always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I’m just gonna tell her, “Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they’ll have to hire you, they can’t really fire you, and you don’t have to produce that much. It’ll be awesome.”

The “are women funny” debate has grown very contentious. You’re not worried about reactions to this?

I don’t care. When you’re picking a basketball team, you’ll take the brother over the guy with the yarmulke. Why? Because you’re playing the odds. When it comes to comedy, of course there’s Sarah Silverman, Tina Fey, Kathy Griffin — super-funny chicks. But if you’re playing the odds? No. If Joy Behar or Sherri Shepherd was a dude, they’d be off TV. They’re not funny enough for dudes. What if Roseanne Barr was a dude? Think we’d know who she was? Honestly.

That sounds like a pretty well-supported opinion for something Carolla "doesn’t mean." Yes, he was being a bit bombastic — as any comedian in an interview would be — but he also flat out says "I don’t care" about the reaction. That doesn’t sound too wink-wink-nudge-nudge to me.

I know Jimmy Kimmel is not responsible for his friend’s actions. And I’m not dopey enough to think the two hosts of The Man Show are going to bring Gloria Steinem’s sensibility to anything they do. But they are in the public eye — happily earning their livings as women support their shows and comedy tours! — and comedians don’t get a pass for fucked up shit just because they make us laugh.

Kimmel had the opportunity to vehemently refute Carolla’s sexist comments — even respectfully disagree with them. Instead, he chose to make an excuse.

Sarah Silverman Makes Another Campaign Video, Now With 100% More Scissoring

It just ain’t a presidential election anymore without some celebrity stumping, and in 2008, no one did that more memorably than comedian Sarah Silverman, who launched The Great Schlep, a viral video and campaign encouraging young, progressive Jewish voters to fly down to Florida and convince their more conservative grandparents to vote for Barack Obama. Obama won the election and the video certainly served as a conversation starter, winning more than 17,000 fans on Facebook and quite a few detractors, most notably comedian Jackie Mason

Not only is the Schlep returning for the 2012 election, but Silverman released another video today, not addressed to young people en masse, but one more mature individual: casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, one of candidate Mitt Romney’s top financial backers, who has pledged to spend $100 million over the course of the election to put Romney in the White House. Silverman responds in what could be a lost skit from her Comedy Central show, by offering Adelson the opportunity to meet and greet for some scissoring should he give that money to Obama instead. And before you ask, yes, of course there is a demonstration, involving a brightly-colored bikini and what appears to be a chihuahua. If this is where the bar is set right now for famous people making political viral videos this election cycle, then by Labor Day, things are gonna get real. 

Watch the video, make of it what you want, but whatever you do, dear Lord, do not read the YouTube comments on it. Your brain cells deserve better. 

New Sarah Silverman Project May Head to TV

Sarah Silverman’s been pretty busy in the last few years. She’s starred in her own show, The Sarah Silverman Program, wrote a memoir titled The Bedwetter, and recently shared with us her favorite break-up songs. It turns out she’s been doing a lot of writing with two of her colleagues from her Comedy Central show, and NBC has ordered a pilot for a series loosely based on her life.

The show is still untitled, but it’ll star Silverman "as a woman readjusting to the single life after a decade-long live-in relationship," according to Deadline. If you’re worried this will turn into another Whitney (please speak up if you’re a Whitney fan, because I have never met such a person), be relieved that it’s not a traditional multi-camera sitcom filmed before an audience; Silverman is going the 30 Rock/Parks & Rec single-camera route.

She’s got some big players on her team as well: Imagine Entertainment’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer join Silverman as executive producers. Now, who will play the Jimmy Kimmel character? 

‘NY Times’: Female Comedians Suddenly Love Rape Jokes

Nearly five years ago, Christopher Hitchens wrote an infamous article in Vanity Fair suggesting that women aren’t funny. The piece enraged a lot of people (and included a notion that women can be successful at stand-up comedy as long as they’re "hefty or dykey or Jewish"), and put the female perspective in comedy at the forefront. Of course, there have been plenty hilarious and successful women in comedy, but it seems that in the few years following the Hitchens article the focus has been on proving how funny women can be. Today’s New York Times piece on foul-mouthed ladies continues that trend.

Focusing on a handful of comedians from Sarah Silverman (who shared with us her favorite sad songs just this morning) and Whitney Cummings, the piece breaks the lid right off the concept of women laughing at taboo topics such as rape, suggesting that such subject matter is rarely touched upon by male comedians. "That may be because a majority of male stand-ups are neurotics nursing anxieties, while their female counterparts are just as likely to resemble the brash Ms. Silverman," writes Jason Zinoman. "She was not the first to escape being pigeonholed as a self-deprecating ugly duckling, ingratiating flirt or asexual eccentric. Who knows how successful someone like Elayne Boosler, who had trouble getting booked on Tonight, would have been if she had been given the same opportunities as Jay Leno and David Letterman?" 

Well, Elayne Boosler didn’t look like the so-called "ugly duckling" Silverman, which probably didn’t help her booking opportunities, but she also typically strayed from "taboo" subject matter. And while there are plenty of younger commedians who talk about dirty stuff (like the others mentioned in the article, or Jenny Slate, who has an affinity for potty humor), there have been plenty of women throughout the years who have embraced unmentionable topics for their routines (Sandra Bernhard, Roseanne, and Joan Rivers, to name a few). 

But really, the major question is this: is this still surprising to anyone? Can’t most of us (well, at least the New York Times-reading us) name at least five female comedians who have cracked wise about abortion, incest, racism, or rape? On top of that, we just got done debating whether or not women could headline a successful comedy film, and Bridesmaids proved that over the summer. If we keep finding ourselves having to point out that women are worthy enough of entering the male-dominated comedy world, does that not perpetuate the concept that women are inferior at what is actually a universal practice: making others laugh?