Sarah Silverman: comic turned author

The US comedienne talks incontinence and shock humour as she releases her first autobiography, The Bedwetter: Stories Of Courage, Redemption and Pee

We expected your first book to be funny, but it’s really funny. And it’s not just about bedwetting, even though you were a big bedwetter, er, in high school…

(Laughs) I was a chronic bedwetter. But the book has lots of other personal essays and stories. There are a few lies in between but you can tell those because they’re just silly.

One of the things you mention is that your dad taught you to swear from the age of three…

It’s true, my dad thought it was hilarious to hear a three-year-old say “Shit”. I don’t know how it holds up today but in 1974 it was a big hit! I would get this sense of wild approval from the adults and I became addicted to that. It’s so obvious now why I would be drawn to shock humour.

Some of your jokes could be seen as offensive. Do the Jewish ones ever upset your Jewish family?

Not at all. I’m probably the least funny one in my family. My sister Laura plays my sister in The Sarah Silverman Show [available to download at] and my elder sister Susie is a rabbi and she’s hilarious. I know I’m not PC but the jokes I make are examples.

So by making them, you’re addressing issues that aren’t politically correct?

Yeah. A lot of people call themselves PC but ultimately what they do boils down to money or political votes.

You’ve dated chat show host Jimmy Kimmel and are currently seeing Family Guy producer and writer Alec Sulkin. Could you ever be with someone that isn’t funny?

No. I mean, they don’t have to make a living from it, but to me, being funny is as important as kindness. I love laughing.

Comedy is a very male-dominated environment. Do you find that difficult?

I think the people that obsess about that stuff are maybe not as funny [as men]. I think the remedy for women having more of a presence in comedy is to be hilarious. And it works. Tina Fey is probably the most successful person in comedy right now.

On an entirely different subject, you’re turning 40 in January...

(Laughs) It feels weird. I don’t feel the way I thought I would in my 40s. I want to have a kid some day and I don’t feel ready at all. I’d I’d feel like a kid having kids. But you know what? Everyone’s got their own personal velocity.

The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee (£12.99, Faber) on sale now