The Sarah Silverman Program



Caustic humor delivered in a sing-songy voice.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Silverman's character is unapologetically self-absorbed, racist, homophobic, ignorant, and even criminally dangerous -- but the humor is largely intended to illuminate sociocultural issues.


Comic violence, like kneeing someone in the groin, knocking over a store display in a threatening manner, or tripping someone.


Crude sexual humor and jokes about genitals. Implied masturbation and brief shots of a porno mag. Faux sex scene between Silverman and "Black God."


Steady stream of mild expletives like "dick," "crap," "ass," and "bitch," along with slang like "titties." Rare stronger language is bleeped.


TiVo is mentioned, and Sarah drives a Ford.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

No central drug or alcohol use, but one episode features Silverman unintentionally getting drunk on cough syrup.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this adult-oriented comedy series revolves around the fictionalized life of a controversial comedienne. She jokes about race, sexuality, disability, religion, sex, excrement, and more -- nothing is off limits. Episodes include scenes of implied masturbation, pooping in public, driving while intoxicated, and one particularly unsettling scene of Silverman having sex with "Black God."

What's the story?

In THE SARAH SILVERMAN PROGRAM, the controversial comedienne plays a fictionalized version of herself who lives in Los Angeles, scrounges money from her sister, and hangs out with her gay neighbors. Just as Curb Your Enthusiasm exaggerates the real life of star Larry David, Silverman also liberally embroiders the truth, engineering exploits in which Silverman's biting, outrageous, and often disturbing humor can shine.

Is it any good?


Silverman is a skilled comic actress and an intelligent social critic, but her humor is known for its political incorrectness and lack of taboos. She frequently jokes about race, disability, religion, sex, and poop; in her stand-up routines, she even takes on previously untouchable subjects like 9/11, Martin Luther King, Jr., and rape. Silverman's trademark persona is self-absorbed and cutesy. She often speaks in a sing-songy voice, with her sweet demeanor highlighting the depravity of her jokes. Sometimes she even breaks into song, mocking the earnestness of musical ballads and MTV videos.

Silverman's commentary on race is especially incisive -- and often disconcerting in its ability to point out social problems. For example, at the end of one wild episode in which Silverman crashes her car into a playground after drinking cough medicine and later winds up in jail, she talks about the lessons she's learned, including: "Elderly black women are wise beyond their years, but younger black women are prostitutes." Like Dave Chappelle's smart and edgy brand of comedy, Silverman's material can very easily be taken the wrong way. Young folks attracted to her scatological humor may not understand that she's joking when she says, "Whether you're gay, bisexual, it doesn't matter, because at the end of the day, they're both gross." Parents may want to preview the show before allowing even mature teens to watch.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about cultural taboos. What subjects are off limits to comedians? Who's responsible for deciding when "the line" is crossed? Are certain topics always going to be "forbidden," or do things change over time? What's the purpose of politically or socially oriented humor? What happens when you hear a joke about something that makes you uncomfortable? Do you think Silverman is taking things too far? Are her jokes simply for shock value, or do they have something important to say?

TV details

Cast:Brian Posehn, Sarah Silverman, Steve Agee
Network:Comedy Central
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bysanban6 July 22, 2010


I think it's great. Most kids my age can't handle the maturity, though.
Teen, 14 years old Written byDib Ship July 20, 2010

I agree with Pokeypics- the show is absolutely hilarious most of the time. But Sarah Silverman has a bit of a sick mind, so some episodes are just gross, but mainly just the last 10 episodes, which were aired in 2009 and are officially the 3rd season. the first 22 episodes are appropriate for about a 13-14-year-old.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byPokeypics May 16, 2010

Perfect for 13+ sometimes

This show is iffy, because some episodes have no cussing and no inappropriate behavior and are stupidly funny, others are filled with sick vulgar humor, but its funny
What other families should know
Too much sex


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