She’s never been to the Spirit Awards and she’s never hosted a kudos show before, but Sarah Silverman says she’s ready to flaunt her indie spirit.
The comedian, who is known to tweak things just past the comfort zone, is an apt choice for mistress of ceremonies. “She has the perfect sensibility for who we are,” says the kudocast’s exec producer, Diana Zahn-Storey. “She’s funny, very irreverent; she’s just edgy. I’m always pushing for people to go farther than we do on the show, because that’s what indie films are about.”
Beyond her standup work, Silverman has guest-starred on series including “The Larry Sanders Show” and “Seinfeld,” and she’s acted in films both big (Par’s “The School of Rock”) and small (Chris McQuarrie’s “The Way of the Gun”).
Says Silverman, “With indies you get a kind of camaraderie in that we’re trying to get away with something — stealing locations and stuff. But besides that, for me, (studio and indie films are) not too different. I make no money and my trailer is tiny either way.”
Last year, she saw the film version of her hit one-woman show “Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic” get a theatrical release via Roadside Attractions. In another 2005 indie release, “The Aristocrats,” she performed what many called the creepiest rendition of the filthiest old comic insider’s joke by turning it on its head. Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, wrote, “The surpassingly lovely potty mouth Sarah Silverman … internalizes the joke and re-enacts it as a recovered childhood memory; it’s a daring, dark and funny bit…”
When asked about the biggest delusion people have about indie films, Silverman says, “That it’s smart. A lot of times it is, but that’s not a given. It’s just the indie films that make it far enough to actually get seen in a mainstream medium tend to be the cream of it. Whereas studio films often get mass exposure despite being crap.”
So what do the Spirit Awards’ best feature nominees — “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote,” “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “The Squid and the Whale” and “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” — say about the state of indie film?
“We’re gay cowboys that love black-and-white movies, smear semen on our lockers and then write about it,” she quips.
Silverman’s idea of the perfect indie role is Jeff Daniels’ part in “The Squid and the Whale,” and, she says, “Catherine Keener in any Nicole Holofcener movie.”
The thesp claims to have “No idea” why she was chosen by FIND to host the show.
“Who’s FIND?” she jokes.
Of course, she knows what the almost-acronym stands for: Film Independent, the indie org that backs the show.
It took the folks at the former IFP/Los Angeles a while to come up with a name for the newly rebranded group. What would Silverman have come up with?
“I always had this name in my head for a heavy metal band, but it could work for FIND: ‘Born Victim’ — you know — like a burn victim, but you’re a victim of being born. Maybe that would just be for the drama department.”
Her hosting counterpart at the Oscars, Jon Stewart, is a fellow comedian. Silverman says that Stewart’s biggest laugh “will be about George Bush being an idiot and mine will be about me being an idiot.
“I’m going to make witty observations about life and then ask, ‘Who are these people??'” she adds, noting her hosting style will be “Oprah-ish.”
Any fears or worries as prepares for her first Spirits show?
“Just ghosts,” she deadpans.