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The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee

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From the outrageously filthy and oddly innocent comedienne Sarah Silverman comes a memoir—her first book—that is at once shockingly personal, surprisingly poignant, and still pee-in-your-pants funny. If you like Sarah’s television show The Sarah Silverman Program, or memoirs such as Chelsea Handler’s Are You There Vodka? It’s Me Chelsea and Artie Lange’s Too Fat to Fish, you’ll love The Bedwetter.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published April 10, 2010

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About the author

Sarah Silverman

9 books250 followers
Sarah Kate Silverman is an Emmy-winning American comedian, writer, singer, guitarist, and actress. Although usually credited as Sarah Silverman, she is sometimes credited by her nickname, Big S. Her satirical comedy addresses social taboos and controversial topics such as racism, sexism, and religion.

She often performs her act as a caricature of a Jewish-American princess, mocking bigotry and stereotypes of ethnic groups and religious denominations, by endorsing them ironically. Silverman was first noticed as a writer and occasional performer on Saturday Night Live. She now stars in and produces The Sarah Silverman Program, which debuted February 1, 2007, on Comedy Central.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,315 reviews
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,226 followers
October 8, 2014
A couple nights ago, I was licking jelly off my boyfriend's penis. And I thought, "Oh my God — I'm turning into my mother!"

Sarah Silverman exposes herself...well...constantly. That's her ironic, "here's what terrible people say" thing. It's not real. You understand that, right?

In The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee Silverman exposes the real her. From early childhood to her recent successes in comedy and television, some of the more private and embarrassing episodes of her life are sketched out in this pretty darn funny autobiography.

I saw my father's penis once. But it was okay, because I was soooo young … and sooo drunk.

While not the best-written, most well-constructed piece of literature, it is however unabashedly honest and revealing. And of course it never veers far from the realm of "painfully silly" or "hilariously cringe-worthy".

I want to get an abortion. But my boyfriend and I are having trouble conceiving.

Readers looking for a step by step, linear tale of her personal history will be disappointed. The narrative is kept well-enough in line to be comprehendible, even if it is not absolutely comprehensive. If you're a fan of comedy and you want to hear insider stories or back stage tales about other comedians or what it's like writing (briefly) for SNL, you'll find even more enjoyment here.

I always think I should get on it if I want to have kids. Because once you hit thirty it can be difficult to conceive — it can be dangerous. The best time to conceive is when you're a black teenager.

Though The Bedwetter is about as scatterbrained as you'd expect from such an erratic writer/comedian, it is also a generally satisfying smattering of insights into the mind of an unusual entertainer.

NOTE: The quotes used for this review are not necessarily taken from this book. Bedwetter is about her life. These quotes come from any period of said life.
Profile Image for Ray.
Author 16 books289 followers
September 21, 2021
Sarah Silverman fans will enjoy, but not because of the offensive comedy (although it does get very gross and very personal) but because of the heart.

The bedwetting and pee factor isn't just for cheap laughs; she is legitimately sharing stories about courage and redemption albeit as self-deprecating as possible. There's a decent amount to learn about the legendary comedian's biography, although it isn't the most profound of memoirs it is an honest account and well-written.

The book goes fast, with lots of short vignettes from childhood to college to early showbusiness years. Lots and lots about Jewyness. Unfortunately, some of the guest stars have aged badly in the post MeToo era but it's still an interesting window into the comedy scene of recent years...

If you're a fan of the short-lived Sarah Silverman Program, then you'll particularly enjoy her memories.

The most interesting, and also frustratingly-badly aged, are the parts where Sarah addresses her controversies. It probably wasn't a good idea to relitigate and defend that time she said "I love chinks" for example. Better to just let it fade into memory, rather than endlessly go over how wrong her critics were and redebate that entire episode of Politically Incorrect.

Comedy, of course, is hard to explain and still be funny. She does at least call out "fans" who didn't get the intended irony and laughed at the wrong part. Some lines do go too far, and it also depends on the era, but sorry in the 2021 I must say that 2000s envelope-pushing sure can cringe...

(Sarah has by the way since apologized for the racial slur bits if that matters.)

So what. It's not the greatest literary memoir of all time, not even close. It's just a fun book with a little bit of depth by a comedian. Still, I'm glad Sarah made this book and joined the canon of other lite celebrity books!
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
February 12, 2020
I've always had reservations about this comedian. She seriously grosses me out at times, and already feeling adamant about dumb stuff like Georgia O'Keefe canvases, her raunchiest jokes may often cause some serious damage in me (like, for instance, having a feeble, momentary hatred for women--purely superficially, of course). Anyway, she pushes buttons--but she does this here with, how can I put this: grace. Actual, legit grace. She displays her life openly. Always as an act of bravery, always in a very astute fashion. Dare I say this? It's frickin' good. Even avant garde (!) in its enlightening "Midword" mid-book, a new staple in cool anecdotal storytelling, and its Afterword written by no other than God. This is an above average autobio (the kind which I read every other full moon or so) which doesn't disappoint but rather astound & inspire. This girl is genuinely genuine, likeable, though not wholly relatable. But human. Just the admission to bedwetting, as a constant flaw in her heroic comedian's armor, is one very endearing trait. I said it: Sarah Silverman's first book is a smash*!

*& there's less vagina talk here than expected, and an increase in references to ass****s and penises... so that's good.
Profile Image for Naksed.
2,987 reviews
October 5, 2016
I have to give Sarah Silverman A+ for candidness. As uncomfortable and awkward as these memoirs got, I have to hand it to her for speaking so openly, succinctly, humorously, and yes, even elegantly, about horribly humiliating episodes of her childhood as a bed-wetter, and being mercilessly scolded and ostracized for it by children who didn't know better and adults who should have.

Sarah's personal tales of her unconventional family, her teenage battle with depression, her I-can't-believe-it's-true catastrophes with health care experts who were anything but (prescribing a teenager a sixteen-Xanax-a-day dose that could have very well killed her), were the most riveting part of these memoirs.

I have never particularly liked her humor or her not exactly warm, nurturing persona, but I definitely related and connected to her when she was speaking about the adversity she faced growing. I also really respect her for not putting out the big violins and asking us, the reader, to feel sorry for her. She is not a victim, not even a survivor, though she did survive some incredibly dark times such as grossly violent episodes of bullying and other kinds of physical assaults. She just is.

The stuff about her paying her dues to become a stand-up comic, her short stint at SNL and her career in Hollywood was equally sincere and no-holds-barred in its approach but my interest really dwindled. As I said, because I am not exactly a fan of her brand of humor, though I do appreciate the odd zinger she comes up with and I like the fact that she puts herself out there as an unapologetic un-p.c. firebrand, I just was not really interested in her TV or movie gigs or behind the scenes of those endeavours.

There were definitely looooooong filler parts of the memoirs that should have been cut as they were excruciatingly boring such as her reading out loud entire email exchanges with her editor about the title of her book (who cares?), a recreation of her father's insane voice mail messages (not in the least bit funny). or reading her teenage diary (ZZZzzzZZZ). There is only so much navel-gazing I can take.

Overall though, I enjoyed listening to this audiobook, certainly more than I thought I would at the outset, but nothing in here would bring me back to re-read it.
Profile Image for Diane.
1,080 reviews2,653 followers
April 12, 2015
Sarah Silverman is a fun workout companion! I listened to this on audio, mostly while I was on the treadmill, and it is an amusing book.

The narrative isn't chronological and the stories jump around. There were a few times it was a bit confusing and I wish she had either explained events better, or rearranged the chapters. The trajectory of her comedy career was especially jumpy, with anecdotes scattered throughout but rarely in order.

But really, who cares? Sarah is a comedian and this is her memoir, and if she wants to skip around in her storytelling, fine. This isn't a presidential biography — it has a lot of penis, fart and urine jokes, so, it's not exactly highbrow.

However, there were some heartfelt passages. Sarah was open about the fact that she had a serious bedwetting problem for years and years, and it traumatized her as a kid. Going to a friend's house for a sleepover made her panic. She also suffered from depression as a teenager, and was put on a crazy amount of Xanax. But she said she thinks this early trauma actually helped her as a comedian, because bombing on stage didn't seem as scary as the terror of wetting the bed in front of your friends.

She was also upfront about the different controversies she's been involved in about her jokes. In these cases I tend to side with the comedians, because over-analyzing a joke is the surest way to kill it. There are several pages devoted to a joke she told on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2001 (back when he was on NBC). The joke was about her trying to get out of jury duty, and a friend told her to write something racist on the form. The punchline involved the word chink. An Asian American group protested, and Sarah later ended up trying to defend the joke on the show Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher. Sarah said her joke was satire, and the point was that racism is real, but it's not going to go away by censoring comics. In the book, she had this thoughtful passage:

"I grew up watching Archie Bunker, the ignorant racist character created by Norman Lear, who was, himself, famously devoted to advancing racial tolerance and progressive cultural values. Archie Bunker's racism was Lear's vessel for delivering comedy with a social message. Had Guy Aoki [the Asian American group rep] been operating in the '70s, he might have attacked Norman Lear as a racist. The bad news for guys like Aoki is that, not only are the progressive messages out there today more refined and sense-of-irony dependent, but racist message are more oblique, too. Right-wing Americans who appear in mainstream media are not out there calling black people 'niggers' or saying 'The Klan has good ideas.' Instead, they're questioning the legitimacy of Obama's presidency by accusing him of being born in Africa, or of being a Muslim. Or they're having tea parties and calling Obama a communist and a Nazi. The entire Fox News Channel is a twenty-four-hour-a-day racism engine, but it's all coded, all implied. Lou Dobbs used to scream on CNN about immigration, not 'filthy Mexicans.' I suspect the racist messages about Asians that permeate the media are even subtler, and therefore more difficult to combat."

Sarah also had stories about the year she was on Saturday Night Live but failed to get any sketches on the air, and the good times she had making her TV show, The Sarah Silverman Program. Fans of those shows will get enjoy her behind-the-scenes stories.

I've been on a kick lately about listening to performers read their memoirs (including Neil Patrick Harris, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Alan Cumming and Cary Elwes) and it has been so enjoyable I will continue to seek out those audiobooks. Because why work out alone when you can have Sarah Silverman make you do a spit-take on the treadmill?
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,294 reviews2,961 followers
October 29, 2018
I wouldn't say I'm a big fan of Sarah Silverman but if I am flipping the channels and see her on a late night talk show, I'll tune in as she usually can get me to laugh at least a few times. She does have a tendency to put her foot in her mouth and has said some pretty offensive things over the years. Fair warning, this book will contain stuff that will leave you shaking your head and thinking "why would you say that?.

Given the title, the book obviously goes into detail about Sarah being a bedwetter well into her teenage years and still occasionally having the problem as an adult. While I knew Sarah suffered from depression I didn't realize it was so bad growing up she wasn't able to attend school for prolonged periods or that she was prescribed Xanax at such an incredibly high dosage level. She also talks about how she got her start in comedy and some of the different projects she has worked on including her Comedy Central show.

When I read a memoir by a comedian, I'm going to need to find it funny. And in this aspect the book certainly delivered. I read about half the book while in the waiting room of a doctor's office and there were multiple times I had to cover my mouth and bite my tongue so everyone wouldn't know I was laughing hysterically. The humor combined with Sarah's openness to discuss the good and bad things in her life made this one of the better memoirs I have read. Would definitely recommend if you are a Sarah Silverman fan or enjoy reading celebrity memoirs.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,859 reviews5,634 followers
July 11, 2018

*3.5 stars*

I love, love, love celebrity audiobooks read by themselves. They usually do an excellent job with the narration (exception: Tiffany Haddish), and the books just sound so much more alive through audio format. That was certainly the case with The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee by Sarah Silverman.

I'm a Sarah Silverman fan, and I enjoyed her in this book, though it was scattered and uneven. It was like listening to Sarah Silverman ramble for a few hours, which isn't that bad of a way to spend your time.

I personally related to most of her stories being a person who wet the bed later than most kids (and pregnancy peeing doesn't count, right??), survived a Jewish summer camp in the Berkshires (shudder), and who grew up with affectionate and overprotective Jewish parents. I thought the book was really funny, even if Sarah reiterated perhaps a few hundred too many times that she is, in fact, Jewish... Yeah, we get it.

Overall, a enjoyable listening process and a moderately successful book, though structure and formatting isn't Sarah's friend.
Profile Image for Joel.
554 reviews1,622 followers
November 27, 2010
Sarah Silverman knows how to write a good joke. She does not so much know how to write a good book. As a consequence, The Bedwetter is for the most part very funny, but it doesn't really do any of that good memoir stuff like tell about how she lived in devastating poverty in Ireland and was forced to spend her days rummaging for coal to sell so her siblings would have enough to eat before they all died of typhoid fever, or reveal that her monumentally irresponsible and unstable parents kept uprooting their family when the creditors came calling before they eventually settled in a shack in the Ozarks and had to pee in a bucket in the kitchen, or allege that her father injected her with cocaine and had sex with her throughout her childhood (though to be fair, Sarah does lament that last one).

No, pretty much it just explains that she was a late bloomer and a chronic bedwetter, and her coping mechanism in the face of acute and laser-focused teasing was to develop a filthy sense of humor that would make a prison rapist blush. Then for roughly the next 200 pages, it offers up randomly grouped anecdotes about her life, her career, her friends and her TV show with no rhyme or reason (well, sometimes they rhyme, like the song lyric "there's a dream in your head/ that will never come true/ there's a stickiness all over/ and it didn't come from you"). She talks about her philosophy of comedy but doesn't get into her personal life too much. Unless of course you count her deeply personal recitations of various sex acts. But she doesn't count those. Obviously. So I won't either.

It's pretty entertaining but it isn't really a book so much as book-length, which I suppose Sarah goes ahead and admits in her "Mid-Word" (as opposed to the forward and afterword), which lists all the things she would do to get out of actually writing the book (online shopping, googling herself, falling into a deep post-googling nap, [expletive deleted], [body function deleted]. [onanism deleted]). Then she pads it out some more by putting in some pictures of penises.

So, it's pretty much what you'd expect if you saw Jesus is Magic.
Profile Image for Evan.
1,071 reviews739 followers
October 5, 2011
Sarah Silverman's lightning-rod comedy -- irreverent, snarky, grotesque, un-PC and offensive to those who lack an ironic sense -- invariably causes her to have to sometimes justify, explain and defend herself to humorless people, who still won't get it anyway.

My review of this book will be a little bit like that, because, even though I'm giving it a fairly lowly two stars, I'm not saying it's not enjoyable, funny, revealing, sometimes thoughtful, and a good read. The book is like spending the evening with Silverman in her living room as she plies you with conversational reminiscences. There's some courage, not terribly much redemption, and hella lots of pee. The stories alternate between the funny and the sad (she was a loner and heavily medicated for depression in her youth and could not suppress her bedwetting habit until her early adulthood). She fairly well explains the early familial and social influences that led to her unique outlook and comedy style.

The narrative is broken into short one- and two-page biographical anecdotes, and even though there's an overall chronological arc the bits seem to randomly jump back and forth in time. For instance, we hear about her first sexual encounter in her early '20s (she's a late bloomer in everything relating to her vagina, she tells us) and then she whisks us back again to more anecdotes about her teen years. If you read the book loosely and not fixate too much on when things are happening you'll enjoy it more.

Sarah writes her own foreward and "midword," thus breaking one publishing rule and establishing a new one, and has God write the afterword. It's that kind of book.

This is not a great book by any means, but it's breezy and occasionally brilliantly funny, and after reading it I think I like Silverman even more than I did when I started reading it. I particularly enjoyed the stories about the behind-the-scenes censorship tussles with Comedy Central over the content of The Sarah Silverman Program, particularly those uncovering a double standard in the way male and female genitalia could be described (men's could be mentioned more explicitly than women's). Her uncompromising approach to her art and craft and her musings on various serious issues, including religion, reveal her to be an intelligent, socially conscious person.

And I love her father, who enjoys chiding rich people as he watches them walk in and out of Starbucks, saying things such as, "Hey, nice Mercedes! That could probably feed eighty thousand people in India, but, no, you need it. Good job!"

Irreverance runs in the family. Gotta love that.
Profile Image for Carol Storm.
Author 28 books182 followers
July 28, 2013
Hello, my name is Sarah Silverman. I'm not very funny, but I am very pretty. Will you buy my book, please?

Now obviously, there's good and bad in all groups of people. In general, we Jewish girls (see, I'm a Jew! How daring of me to come right out and admit it!) are just as human, frail, heroic, whatever, as anyone else. But some of us (and I do mean me, not the person reading this review) do have a tendency to slack off and use our looks to get what we want out of life. It's not exactly new. In the Old Testament, (that's like, the cool Jewish part of the Bible, where all the sex and killing is) Esther married the King of Persia because it was easier than working or coming up with a plan. I'm like that. (Me, not Jewish girls in general, and most especially not the ones reading this review.) I don't have a lot to say, but I sure look good saying it! Esther and I both got lucky, but the difference is she just enjoyed being lucky and I try to act like it gives me a pain. But it really doesn't.

What does give me a pain is trying to think of shocking, dangerous, irreverent things to say about modern life. Thinking, thinking, thinking . . . I'm no Einstein, you know! (Did you know he was Jewish too?) Oh, um, okay. I think it's very sad that I used to be a bedwetter. Okay, that's not much.

Do you know how hard it is for a rich, pretty Jewish girl in America to find anything to complain about?

Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books105 followers
April 30, 2017
I've tried to read/listen to quite a few comedian memoirs and so far haven't had much success in terms of tolerating them. This one, for whatever reason, charmed me. It's really interesting to read her take on the culture of comedy in different places/modes/moments (stand up, SNL, Larry Sanders show, Sarah Silverman Program...).

In the earlier part of the memoir she talks about growing up, and the fear and shame and logistical mayhem brought upon by her chronic bedwetting. She is open in the ways she wants to be open and also uses humor to remain private/protected in the areas in which privacy is important to her. Granted, Silverman's categories--what is considered "proper" "public" material and what is not--are a bit different than most people's. But that's Silverman's schick to a degree. She has a way of painting herself as someone who's humor is silly scatological physical comedy often personal (or at least performed as personal) stuff. But of course, this is a comic persona by way of which she is often pedaling wonderfully incisive social satire.

Silverman's comic persona is at once innocent and childish and grossly explicit in a whole other childish (though often sexual) mode. I haven't watched a lot of her Sarah Silverman Program (on my to do list) but the episodes I saw gave me the same sense. There's a compassion and appreciation for absurdity, but she doesn't let her viewers off the hook any more than she lets herself off the hook. Human's are curious, messy, shitty and absurd. Not to mention self-righteous and hypocritical. There is nothing dumb about her comedy, even when it's stupid.

I appreciate her discussion of controversies and mortifying moments as well as "failures". (Portrayal of "God" in her show, stabbing Al Franken in the head with a pencil, getting let go from SNL...)

Being who she is (a Jewish woman from a secular home, a former bedwetter and at times social outcast who used humor to cope, a stand-up comic, appreciative, loyal and sometimes awkward friend, a writer, sister of a rabbi, politically progressive, at times suffering from depression), her comedy is angled in a very specific way. She is not a social satirist in the way of, say, George Carlin, Dave Chapelle. Nor is she an observational comic in the mode of Seinfeld and Louis C.K. Who is she like? I don't know. Maybe there's a touch of Lucille Ball and a bit of Key and Peele. A dollop of Radner and a little dewdrop of Rivers.

While she works to shed light on social hypocrisies and inequities, Silverman insists on keeping her comedy deep in the realm of the personal and absurd. She's found a voice and persona that allows her to appear vulnerable innocent-ish while saying outrageous things. It's sexual scatalogical existential slapstick of some kind. While her comic persona likely overlaps with her "every day" self, it is never so simple to say that the Sarah Silverman we see in stand-up or who's voice we hear in this book is simply her. This is a performance. A variation on stand-up. I suppose all books are to a degree. The quality of the writing is uneven at best, but she offers a wonderful commentary on the form of the memoir and its component parts--she burlesques it with characteristic warmth. (She has a farcical forward and then, in the middle of the book, includes a MIDWARD. She even includes alleged correspondences with the publisher debating whether the book should have Pee or Peepee in the subtitle.)

Having listened to the audiobook, I wasn't able to fully get a sense of how the parts are broken up. Some sections are more conventionally told memoir type stuff, and there are shorter sections which are more like vignettes. Though I enjoyed the whole thing, my favorite section, perhaps, was the one in which she performs reenactments of voice mail messages left by her father. I tend to appreciate these kind of things (comic reenactments of parental voice messages.) But, there's much to enjoy in this book and a lot to think about (including no small amount of farts).
Profile Image for rachel.
751 reviews146 followers
July 20, 2014
What I have learned from this book: Sarah Silverman is a clever, sensitive, free-spirited clown who clearly adores her family and her friends, and who has no fear about talking honestly about her clinical depression or admitting that she wet the bed until she was 16.

Also: Steve Perry is a racist (or was that a joke? I don't even know) and Louis CK is reserved, mature, and very smart, in some ways as much like his Parks & Recreation character as his onstage character.

At this point I'm a little terrified by the possibility of Dane Cook or someone close to him writing a memoir. See, I'm pretty comfortable disliking his public comedic persona. I don't want to find out that he's like, a horror buff and huge online Scrabble player that just loves cats, or anything else that might endear me to him. I like forming opinions about people completely around how they act in front of a crowd, without having to consider the possibilities of nuance and "acting" for "money," and I don't enjoy having those presumptions challenged and proven to be wrong. Sarah Silverman, you have ruined me!

As for the book itself, I'm inclined to go with the general consensus of Goodreads. The beginning was significantly funnier than the rest of it; it does sort of deflate around page 120 or so, picking up again when she writes about her friends at The Sarah Silverman Program; it's definitely random and unorganized. But I have a small attention span and wasn't a huge fan of Sarah in the first place, and I still read all of it. Make of that what you will -- it's readable.
Profile Image for Ben.
2 reviews3 followers
June 5, 2011
Sarah Silverman has a horse-ish face and is proud of it. Normally this would make me have a crush on her instantly, unfortunately this book does a great job of making me genuinely dislike her. The "childhood" part of the book is the only piece with any sort of a narrative. Most of the "adult" half of the book is just a loosely held together collection of paragraphs describing various incidents in her life. Chapters jump from problems with depression, to the loss of her virginity, to a terrible dress that she wore, then back to sex again. Mostly what we learn from this is Sarah was depressed as a child, then moved to New York where her dad paid her rent while she tried to become a comic (but mostly slept around and did drugs). She got fired from SNL after she went a whole season without having any of her skits produced, she somehow got a TV show, then after a few seasons they wanted her to tighten up her schedule and she decided that would make her "cranky" so she tried to cancel it. And she also wore a terrible dress, but at least it was "comfortable". And she feels bad that she made fun of Paris Hilton.

Sarah Silverman is funny, but her book makes her seem like somewhat of a spoiled brat...just a thought.
Profile Image for christa.
745 reviews277 followers
April 24, 2010
Attention pervos: If you are looking for a free photograph of a penis wearing a hair clip, just find a dark corner of your local (preferably indie) bookstore, and flip to page 209 of Sarah Silverman's "The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee." That's where you'll find the shot of a chunky decorative unit resting on a bed of balls, framed by bunchy boxer shorts and a nest of unkempt, as Silverman would call them, pubes.

You're welcome.

Silverman's story is equal parts memoir and stream of consciousness. It has a dab of confessional, when she reveals bedwetting that lasted well into her teen years and a prescription that allowed for more than a dozen Xanax per day. How her dad coached her to shock and awe people with her adolescent potty mouth, and that time when she was five and bombed in front of her family with a joke about her dead brother.

She writes about her first open mikes, and how her dad encouraged her to drop out of college and follow her dream and the apologies she had to send to Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and how the public outcry was far more fierce in these situations than when the head of Media Action Network for Asian Americans called her out for a joke she performed on the Conan O'Brien show that they deemed inappropriate.

The book is pretty self-referential, including email back-and-forths with her editor concerning the title and deconstructing which is funnier: "Pee" (Silverman) or "Pee-Pee" (her editor). There is also the "Can Silverman write the foreword to her own book" debate in which Silverman makes history as being the first HarperCollins author to bestow this privilege onto herself. She also has an unprecedented "Midword" and an afterward penned by God, who rifs on the awesomeness of his invention Cancer.

This book has pockets of hilarity here and there, but more often it just has a funny word, or three word combination dropped into a story to keep the buzz alive. Some of it reads like filler. Like maybe Silverman wasn't really feeling the whole "book" thing, and goes off-roading with teenager journal entries and lists of things she did while she was not writing the book ("I Googled myself," "I bought vitamins that stimulate brain function")and how she would like to hold relationship auditions where a long line of men cuddle with her in bed while watching "Damages." She's not, like, MacKenzie Phillips, she admits. And as of the writing of the book, she's never been raped. At least not 100 percent. Although some of her encounters might count as like a 30 percent rape.

This book is obviously not going to change the world -- like the time Sarah Silverman got Barack Obama elected. But it's a fun little romp. Of course this book will offend some people. For sure MacKenzie Phillips.

Profile Image for Amanda.
193 reviews2 followers
June 1, 2010
I have to go against the more popular three star choice because, while I did enjoy many parts of this book, it was just so random and unorganized I felt like I was reading the rough draft version before the editor even touched it.
The personal stories of her childhood, experiences working in the industry, and friendships with other comics were interesting, but many of them just seemed there to fill up space and not really connected to anything else. As a fan of the program and knowing her show business history, I guess I was looking for something a little more insightful and...linear? I also grew tired of the constant commenting about how hard sitting down and writing the book was because it was very clear after the first third Silverman really wasn't into it anymore and it seemed like a chore for both her and the reader. When will celebrities learn that just because they're famous they don't have to write their memoir, though I suppose if someone backed a truckload of cash up to my house to write a book I'd do it too.
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,194 reviews
May 3, 2017
When I was a kid, I used to think I was related to the actor Jonathan Silverman because we shared a last name. How I wish Sarah was famous back in the mid-'80s, as I would have loved to imagine being related to her.

I've seen Sarah Silverman in various movies, on sketch comedy shows, etc. She's always been really funny, so I was interested in checking out her book. Right off the bat, she had me laughing out loud. We have a similar sense of humor when it comes to bodily functions, so hearing her say that she thought her readers were listening to her while they were going #2 (to put it nicely from my end...excuse the pun) had me sold on whatever was coming next.

Sarah didn't have a charmed life growing up. She dealt with bullying, depression, her parents getting divorced, etc. The one thing she did have was comedy. Always outspoken, she wasn't embarrassed to say what she was thinking in public. I even laughed at her response to her grandma asking if she wanted some cookies (or maybe it was brownies).

I enjoyed hearing her talk about her career in comedy, from open mic nights to writing for SNL to eventually having her own TV series. Comedy is definitely a hard field in which to have a career. Almost brutal, if it weren't so entertaining. There are so many critics and people are happy to bash you about the smallest of offensive jokes. I give her a lot of credit for not shedding her thick skin.

Sarah also talked about being Jewish, dating, her parents, her grandma, adventures while living in New York City, etc. She was adorable to listen to overall. There's just something about her voice.

Fair warning: If you are easily offended, then this is not the book for you. She uses the c-word, n-word, and r-word liberally, which means you can't avoid them unless you don't listen to (or read) this book. It's the main reason for the four star rating. Yes, I knew what I was getting into, but I wouldn't want you to be in a position where you're going to be totally upset every few minutes if your sense of humor (or sensibilities) is (are) more delicate.

Would I want to be friends with Sarah? Yes! I'd be glad to hang out with her as acquaintances or even work with her. She just seems like the cool older sister I should have had, given we share a last name and all (or maiden name in my case). I had fun learning more about Sarah and I hope she'll write a follow-up book or at least perform stand-up comedy in a town near me.
Profile Image for Matthew.
26 reviews2 followers
June 2, 2010
What's good:

-She sprinkles funny lines throughout.
-Her childhood and her bouts with bedwetting and depression are interesting, however they feel ghostwritten.
-The stories of the writer's room throughout the years and early years in the Boston and New York stand-up comedy scenes.
-She has led a resilient career overcoming a failed stint at Saturday Night Live and countless controversies over her style of button-pushing comedic style.

Not so good:

-She has a habit of victimizing herself throughout the controversies she has stirred. There are multiple sections in which she reads hate mail that commonly feature racist and sexist slurs to detract credibility from her critics. She ultimately is ignorant or refuses to understand that there is a fundamental difference between jokes directed towards of a societal division in which she is included (women, Jews, etc.) and divisions of which she is not (Asians, black people, Catholics, etc). In the final sections she assumes she is exempt of criticism from Catholics over an edgy bit about the Church because she frequently makes fun of Jews. That's just not the way the game is played. Backlash is inevitable. She has done well eventually weathering these PR storms, but she contradicts her own sensitivities by minimizing the sensitivities of others.

-She is a bit naive and irresponsible in her subtle Steve Perry story. She is upset that Perry likes the wrong parts of her racial jokes. One joke of hers that comes to mind,

'The best time to get pregnant is when you're a black teenager.'

This jokes has an academic value, part of the value is its edginess. But this is the problem with race jokes. It's not that everyone that likes that joke is racist. Far from it. It's more that most racists will probably like the joke. So if jokes like this one are to be included in a stand-up show, take responsibility for the demographics of which it might appeal.

I know I've clearly detailed what I disliked more substantially than what I liked. But that's because the enjoyable parts are face value and its faults are a bit more below the surface. This is an enjoyable read, particularly if the reader is Jewish.

Profile Image for Sylvia.
60 reviews18 followers
December 17, 2011
I'm not sure why I picked this book up. I'm not a Sarah Silverman fan--not a hater either, just someone who is ambivalent. Also, the books I read this year by comedians I adore were something of a let-down. So I was predisposed to dislike, if not outright hate, this book.

I was pretty shocked to find myself adoring it. From the first page of the foreword, where she correctly ascertained my physical location (on the toilet) through all the funny, sincere self-exposure, this book was great. The chapters were short, the prose was simple, and the stories were punctuated by adorable and funny pictures.

It was cool to learn some background on Sarah Silverman, the comedian (family encouragement of her humor, palling around with comics, that sort of thing), but this book really shines as an ode to the art of the showbiz memoir. It is deeply revealing and funny, self-deprecating but lighthearted. It tells a story of a human being with wit, brevity and a comic's close attention to the absurd. Also, there are dick jokes.

I would have liked this book even if I'd never before or since heard of this chick. Even if the few chapters devoted to other famous people she knows were excised. Hey Sarah Silverman, this ethnically Jewish neurotic dick-joke-lover thinks you're pretty cool.
Profile Image for Nathan.
Author 5 books114 followers
February 1, 2011
I've always been ambivalent with Sarah Silverman. She can be hilarious (THE standout in "The Aristocrats"), but she often pushes buttons that makes me uncomfortable. As, of course, she means to. But in my critical world, reader response is #1 and artistic intent is #2--I choose to consume, I am interested in its effect on me. It's ironic, of course, because my response to Silverman must be how other people respond to me: "aw, why did he have to say THAT?"

This book is different, though. It's not a joke, it's not written in character, it's her genuine attempt at autobiography. It's uneven, but I got a sense of who Silverman might be: the girl whose parents rewarded her for saying outrageous things, the bedwetter who was ostracised and nervous, the ambitious comedian, the hard-worker. She throws in the occasional bomb, a deliberately offensive line, but it's clearly to remind you she's the Silverman you've seen on TV, not because it's her everyday speaking voice.

Criticisms: I wearied during the sitcom-writing passages and the book lacked a satisfactory narrative climax--but what do you expect from someone who is only 41?

Benefits: genuinely human, interesting story.
Profile Image for StarMan.
632 reviews17 followers
May 28, 2021
[$0.99 find at thrift store. I do not feel cheated after reading it.]

Difficult to rate, but it was funnier than most autobiographies/memoirs. Overall it was well-written, and not as scattered as similar attempts by celebrities who dress better than Sarah.

Makes a great coffee table conversation piece, or a gift for the stick-in-the-mud friend in your life.

VERDICT: 2.95 stars, rounded all the way UP to 4 because it exceeded my very low expectations.
Profile Image for Jeimy.
4,539 reviews33 followers
January 3, 2017
Loved reading about her childhood, not so much about her adulthood. She is pretty hilarious throughout, though.
Profile Image for GTF.
76 reviews99 followers
April 19, 2018
Funny, candid, and crude (although sometimes abhorrently), Sarah Silverman is her usual self in this book.
Profile Image for Alexa.
Author 5 books3,203 followers
November 3, 2019
Saw this on Kindle Unlimited and thought I would give it a whirl. Read it on a plane in about two-ish hours flat. It was perfectly entertaining, but wasn't a fave? I might have felt better had I read it when it came out in 2010, but reading in 2019 it was a bit strange? First, man, optimism, re: Obama in hindsight lol. Also many protracted stories about men who have now been #MeToo'ed (though as I recall, she addressed it on her Hulu show, which I did enjoy). And that's the thing: I read this post-Sarah's Hulu show (I Love You America), where she was more mature and measured about, re: well, a lot.

It's also a strange read given I remember literally NOTHING about her Comedy Central show, even though I think maybe I watched it? So the chapters devoted to it and how proud she was left me a bit blank. I didn't care about how they worked on that show, comments on "breakout characters" I can't even remember. Also really didn't care for the whole "in our writers room everyone whips their dick out! Woo!" Again: post #MeToo and in the midst of cancel culture it's like OOF. (There's a section on Sarah being called out for an offensive joke and honestly I don't know where I land on it in 2K19)

This makes me sound sensitive; I'm not. I wasn't offended, but was not particularly entertained by those chapters. Big ole shrug emoji @ 2009 "edginess" and boy's club comedy. I really liked the earlier chapters--so the first half of the book--about Silverman's childhood/upbringing, as well as her time on SNL. The latter half was where I flagged a bit in large part, honestly, because I expected her to talk about Jimmy Kimmel and her mid-stage career (when she became known) but she entirely skips it. I suppose what I wanted was a thoughtful memoir that really delved into her career/relationships, but that's not what this is. She probably didn't have the perspective on that part of her life yet as it was fresh, and as a 2019 reader it's hard to remember that--this was written in 2009. I suppose I should judge it on its own merits, but that almost impossible. I'm bringing a current lens to it.

I hope Silverman gets another opportunity to write a memoir, though it will suck that she won't be able to repeat too much of the rich material of her childhood. But I'd be very keen to read about the rise of her career and, yes, about her relationship with Jimmy, and about her Hulu show/post-Obama Sarah. I think she's become an even more interesting person in the last decade, and I'd love a glimpse into that version of her. How does she feel about everything in hindsight, given #MeToo and cancel culture? Does she have regrets? Does she approach comedy differently now?
Profile Image for Christy Stewart.
Author 12 books301 followers
June 30, 2010
I don't like to brag, but I hate memoirs.

This is the first one I've read of my own volition, let alone of a celebrity's, and thank God I have good taste because I loved it.

Silverman spares you lots of details and just jumps to the horrible and funny parts; which are the only parts strangers actually care about anyway. Instead of writing about sex or drug addiction like everyone else she decided to write a good book that relays her actual experience of life.

And like the first 50 pages are about her wetting the bed.

5 stars.
Profile Image for Jae.
215 reviews
June 8, 2010
I laughed so hard reading this on the plane that people started to stare. I read a number of reviews that said this book isn't funny for the last half. I disagree. I laughed all the way through. Granted, reading about the culture at Saturday Night Live might not be as funny as you expected, but that's the point, at least partly.
Profile Image for Jeff.
115 reviews499 followers
November 13, 2015
Couldn't finish it. I respect her comedy and I was laughing at times but it just wasn't for me. Don't let my rating of it deter you, if you like Sarah you will appreciate this book.
Profile Image for Wallace.
144 reviews114 followers
May 19, 2010
On the front flap of comedienne Sarah Silverman's humorous memoir, The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee, there is a warning from the publisher. It is a silly three question multiple answer quiz asking, in various forms, what limits can be pushed before you are offended. Though an original way to announce what is to come if you read the book, the quiz is quite an accurate barometer. If you can't make it through the short questionnaire without a red face, then you should not open to the first page. However, if you do decide to read the book, make sure you do so in places where it is appropriate to audibly laugh and gasp... often.

Silverman keeps the pace going as she jumps from anecdote to anecdote. This memoir is not set in chronological order, but rather by topic. Often ones which you wouldn't talk about in front of your grandmother. That is unless you are Silverman herself, who learned at a very young age that saying shocking statements in inappropriate places gave her much desired attention. She is still continuing in that vein of attempts for laughs today.

Though Silverman's book has a funny title, not all of her stories are light or ridiculous. Though she can turn most things into a joke, she does also share some of her vulnerable and insecure side. An admitted bedwetter until well into her teens, Silverman credits the humiliation that she experienced because of this to her success at stand up comedy. "But maybe my lack of stage fright was the upside of years of bedwetting. Maybe that daily shame had ground away at my psyche... I understood that bombing on stage could never be as humiliating," she states on page 74, while explaining her lack of fear at jumping into life of public comedy. She also shares her battle with depression, and the fact that she felt like an outsider as a young Jewish girl in her home state of New Hampshire. It's what propelled her to New York, and ultimately her career in show business.

Silverman divulges some behind the scenes from her short stint at Saturday Night Live, and does her fair share of name dropping, but isn't that what we are hoping for when we read the memoirs of famous people? What we are also sure to get, and no disappointment here, is a platform for the writer to voice their opinion on people and situations that have been critical of them. Silverman does this not only with situations that made it to the news but also down through the line to middle school bullies. At a certain point this insecurity detracts from the book as a whole, but Silverman redeems herself by keeping those diatribes short and changing the subject often.

With fair warning that the crudeness of this book may shock you, it will also make you laugh quite out loud and will keep you up at night wanting to read just a few more pages. Sarah Silverman has not become one of America's top comedians for nothing and she proves that with her writing. She is surprisingly articulate with an impressively wise perspective. Besides, for those of us who grew up in her era, it's hard not to feel somewhat of a kinship for another kid who owned (and wore) her rainbow Mork-from-Ork suspenders with pride; even if her style choice wasn't as big of a hit with her ten year old peers as it was with this reviewer's two year old ones.
Profile Image for Chuy Ruiz.
396 reviews1 follower
April 8, 2020
It was an entertaining short read. Interesting how what's acceptable changes in a relatively short amount of time(10 years). Some of what she talks about doing and joking about just wouldn't be okay anymore. I'm glad for the progression, I don't think comedy needs to use racist or sexist tropes to be funny.
Profile Image for Byron.
Author 9 books98 followers
July 8, 2013
Fished this from a dollar bin, and I was surprised at how much I liked it. The one and two star reviews must be big Journey fans. You might remember that she not so subtly hinted that lead singer Steve Perry said Paula Deen-style racist shit about black people to her after one of her shows. He of course denies it ever happened. I wrote about it back when this book came out a few years ago.

The first half or maybe two thirds is a sort of memoir about her life growing up in New Hampshire, small for her age and weird-looking, covered in body hair, surrounded by people right out of an LL Bean catalog, constantly wetting the bed, being mental to the point where she had to leave school for a period of time, experimenting with sex and drugs, getting hung out of a window by a guy, so on and so forth. If only this part could have been expanded to a full length book or turned into a novel or something.

As it is, the whole thing, in its entirety, once you get rid of the old Polaroids and that thing a lot of non-writers do where they spend a chapter or two complaining about not being able to finish a draft, and ducking calls and emails from their editor (complete with a supposed actual email exchange), this is only about half a book, and I didn't care for the stuff about her recent career as much. I've never seen her basic cable series that was on Comedy Central and was later canceled and picked up by a gay-oriented deep cable network, but it looks deeply obnoxious.

Giving this a four instead of a three to balance out the negative reviews and because the few parts where she actually lifted a finger really, really work. Halfway tempted to give it a five but that would just be wrong.
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