book comedy

The Bedwetter

17.1.14

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I’ve been meaning to read this book since the time it first came out in 2010. I was immediately drawn to it the moment I noticed its title: The Bedwetter! This had to be good! Add to that the imaginative subtitle: “Stories of Courage, Redemption and Pee”, it was certain to be one of my next reads! I never got around to it, but still kept it in mind almost four years after its publication, that and my incurable fixation with audiobooks, I thought I’d give the audiobook version of this a try. The Grammy Award nominated audiobook that is. It took a while to finish it, much more than it would if I’d read the book as I kept falling asleep to Silverman’s own narration. Then again that didn’t happen because the book wasn’t interesting, but only because a. it totally lasts almost six hours long and b. I always started listening to it wasted tired, late at night.

I found the most enjoyable part of the book to be the first part, the one concerning Sarah’s upbringing, her Jewish heritage, her childhood and teenage years in New Hampshire, followed by her moving to New York seeking for a career in comedy. Those years don’t seem they were any different from a common person’s childhood and adolescence, entertainingly described in anecdotes and mostly reported through her bedwetting condition that lasted until she was 16. Not everything in there is necessarily funny. Depression and anxiety is heavily involved, featuring some life threatening amounts of Xanax, all that mainly because of that condition and her being a very late bloomer. Even the tragic death of a baby brother isn’t left out. Just as I expected the book to be like, I wasn’t listening to (or reading) comedy, but a comic’s memoir. Expect to be fascinated, but don’t expect to be light-heartedly amused.

After the bedwetting goes away, so does the turbulence, things begin getting in some kind of order for teenage Sarah Silverman and a brilliant career in comedy starts shaping up. Or that’s what it looks like. Nothing’s left out. From the flier passing on the streets of New York, to the first small moments of fame and getting the laughs through the stand-ups, to the neglected time on SNL, the Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central and all the controversies, like the “chinks” joke on Conan O’Brien and the “attacks” on Paris Hilton and Britney at the MTV VMAs, all’s in.

Silverman never stopped being offensive and assaultive through her jokes and probably never will, no matter how hard the critics turn on her. Her jokes sometimes sound like they’re conceived with a defense mechanism attached to them, formed to kinda make you feel bad yourself if you’re offended by them. Then again, a joke’s a joke and you shouldn’t be offended by it. Sarah’s semi-fictional comedic persona, for art’s sake, is allowed to be relentless, do and say anything she wants on stage and film. On the other hand, Sarah Silverman, the author, is certainly funny, yet gets to be bitter as well, skeptical and profound out of the box. Her squeaky, colourful voice made me even more glad I went with the audiobook option on this one. Well rhythm-ed prose comes with a charming radio-drama-like performance, it’s a win-win.


The Bedwetter on Amazon

The Bedwetter on BookDepository

ZR

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