This Memorial Day, comedian Sarah Silverman was a guest on “The View.” Sarah has quite a large following, as well as a new book she’s promoting, and after catapulting into the scene over the last few years with her television show, movies, magazine articles, and online viral successes, she’s very well liked by many television hosts. Silverman’s certainly made it, she’s a success, and good for her. So with all that she has to be grateful for, what would possess her to put an audience filled with military personnel in for New York City’s Fleet Week on the spot?
After a warm introduction and resounding applause, Sarah jumps on the couch in the fashion that she usually does and was asked what she thought of the military audience. She stated that however you feel politically, these people are heroes, and at that moment I’m thinking that was a nice, appropriate, and classy thing to say. Then, as quick as you can hear Tipper Gore shutting the eco-friendly door on Al’s backside, the politics came out of nowhere. The next sentence she uttered was:
“Wouldn’t this be a great opportunity to ask you guys about ‘don’t ask don’t tell’….to me, it was like a stepping stone to equal rights…now its like a silly relic.”
Did Sarah have a moment where she thought she was headlining at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles? Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar immediately jumped in to inform her that military personnel are required to refrain from speaking publicly about political issues and therefore cannot and will not answer. And note the wild applause from the audience for Elisabeth Hasselbeck after she states:
“We’re not gonna ask. And they’re not gonna tell.”
Then, instead of acknowledging what was just said to her the moment before and dropping the subject as was intimated, she continued on to say:
“These are people who are at a show featuring the women of “The View,” me, and the kid from “Glee.” So we don’t have to ask. I think we know.”
Note the lack of applause for that statement.
I wondered if Bob Hope was spinning in his grave. The camera panned the audience a few times and you can see from the look on these brave men and women’s faces that they were uncomfortable and caught off guard. Now whether Sarah ran her provocative question by the producers beforehand is not known. Regardless of whether she had clearance or not, her behavior was inappropriate at best. However you feel politically, many comedians like to bring up topics for shock value, but Comedy 101 is knowing your audience.
Being part of the military is also about being regimented, respectful and loyal. Regardless of how any of these soldiers feel on the inside, “The View” was clearly not the place for a discussion of this nature with these brave men and women.
Sarah Silverman will continue to have a great career. Humor is subjective and she knows what a certain segment of the population wants. But if she is ever in the presences of anyone in the military again, may I suggest that next time she start with thanking them for their heroism and leave it at that.