The XX Factor

Book of the Week: “The Bedwetter” by Sarah Silverman

For a stand-up comic best known for her brutally ironic racial humor ( e.g ., “Everybody blames the Jews for killing Christ, and the Jews try to pass it off on the Romans. I’m one of the few people who believes it was the blacks”), the first few chapters of Sarah Silverman’s memoir, The Bedwetter:Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee , are surprisingly sweet. Silverman talks about her chronic youthful bed-wetting and the deep depression she experienced up through her teen years with hilarious candor. In one segment about her hellish summer camp experience, Silverman recalls:

My teeth were bigger than my face, I was coated in hair, and I smelled like pee. Of course, most events in life are about context. Had my parents instead sent me to live in the Baboon Reserve at the Bronx Zoo, I would have been happy and confident, judging others for flinging poo and feeling downright secure.

But while the parts about her childhood and early adulthood are strong and funny, when Silverman is discussing her life post-fame the book gets tedious. She spends a lot of time settling old scores-there is a subsection called “Guy Aoki: Heart in Right Place, Head Up Wrong Place” about the Media Action Network for Asian Americans leader who took Silverman to task in 2001 for using the word “chink” in a joke while performing on The Conan O’Brien Show . When she’s not rehashing old battles she’s kvelling unctuously over her fellow famous-comedian friends like Garry Shandling. Still, if you think this joke is funny-“Winona Ryder was born Winona Horowitz but she changed it. What a classic sneaky Jew move”-you will probably enjoy this book.