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It's been just over a year since Comedy Central, in the network's worst decision since airing "Battlebots," canceled "The Sarah Silverman Program."
We've had to make do without, at least in pseudo-sitcom form, the undisputed queen of the comedy of the uncomfortable. So we're heartened by The Hollywood Reporter's dispatch noting that Silverman has signed a script deal that could put her back on TV. Silverman reportedly is writing the new show with Jon Schroeder and Dan Sterling, who worked on her last program, which lasted three memorable seasons.
Silverman is an acquired taste, but one that's hard to shake after the escape of that first reluctant chuckle. Her brand of comedy doesn't necessarily transfer well to print description – she somehow gets laughs out of subjects like the Holocaust and pedophilia via her childishly self-absorbed and clueless character. For some folks, her humor doesn't translate even on TV and has been known to offend.
But we see Silverman at the vanguard of a comedy of ironic irreverence and unfettered honesty, in the company of fellow practitioners like Larry David, Ricky Gervais and Louis CK, all of whom are making welcome returns to the tube this summer (Gervais, fresh off his cameos on "The Office," is set to guest star on David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and has a recurring role on CK's "Louie").
As for Silverman, we’ve had to be satisfied with occasional TV appearances (she proved effective in a serio-comic role a couple weeks back on "The Good Wife"), web videos (we got a kick out of her gory animated Thanksgiving “special” on Funny or Die in November) and tweets ("Jesus died for our sins -- he'd be SO bummed to know how many of us killed in his name! Awkward!").
“Awkward!” might just sum up Silverman’s comedy (in a good way) – and it’s just what we’ve been missing. Here’s hoping her new show, whatever the format, is a comfortable fit for a comic who excels at making us squirm as we laugh.
Hester is founding director of the award-winning, multi-media NYCity News Service at the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism. He is the former City Editor of the New York Daily News, where he started as a reporter in 1992. Follow him on Twitter.