Sarah Silverman takes on book publishing when she makes her literary debut today with The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, which is published by HarperCollins.
In addition to a foreword and an afterword, Silverman’s book contains what may be the first “midword” in publishing history. That she spends a nice chunk of that section biting the hand that edited her will probably make her a literary hero among downtrodden and emasculated writers. But what’s most surprising about Silverman’s book is that it doesn’t just go for laughs. Instead of a series of comic passages held together with crazy glue, she deftly mixes the spit-take funny stuff with an unsentimental but enlightened look back at her not-so-charmed life and career. The book’s title is a reference to the chronic enuresis that plagued Silverman into her teens, but Silverman also writes about dealing with severe depression and, as a result, a seriously misprescribed Xanax regimen. And though she professes to not enjoy deconstructing comedy, Silverman is quite good, both in her writing and our conversation below, at analyzing controversial moments in her comedy career, such as time in 2001 when she used the word “Chink” in a joke about racism on Conan O’Brien’s show—as she writes in her book, a last-minute substitute when she was told that her original word choice, “nigger,” would not fly on network TV—and incurred the wrath of Asian Americans who misinterpreted the joke. Fans who appreciate Silverman’s love of poo and penis jokes won’t be disappointed either—she’s even included a rather bizarre photo of the genitalia of one of her writers. The Bedwetter is a one-stop guide to understanding Silverman.
The comic discusses the book with Vanity Fair HERE.