Sarah Silverman’s “I Love You, America” Got Canceled and I Am Sad

The Hulu show was like a tender, sympathetic antidote to the fast fury of Fox News.

Sarah Silverman’s I Love You, America was Hulu’s second original talk show, and it just got canceled after only two seasons. Unlike late-night comedians Trevor Noah, John Oliver, Bill Maher, or Samantha Bee, Sarah wasn’t furious or impatient as she dissected U.S. news and politics. Silverman’s show aimed instead to counter those who weren’t sympathetic; whether it be conservatives who dismissed the perspectives of minorities, or liberals who considered Trump voters mere “deplorables,” willfully ignorant and woefully racist. Sarah is not a politician, but she has a big voice, and she used it here to address our state of the union.

Sarah’s face, while interviewing guests on her show, was filled with sincerity and near-reverence. She was genuinely listening, not thinking up ways to discredit or debate people, or even looking for an opening in which to slip a wisecrack. She didn’t seek to reject conservative voters or hope their views eventually evolved; she tried to engage with them and plant the seeds of new ideas (for example, speaking sweetly to a family of Trump voters and Obama birthers in Louisiana and a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church). And following the Louis C.K. sexual assault revelations, her pre-show monologue response was unexpectedly measured and moving: “I hope it’s okay that I am at once very angry for the women he wronged and the culture that enabled it, and also sad, because he’s my friend.”

Silverman’s stand-up itself has never been revelatory—but her chemistry with other people (ex-boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel, for one) is consistently electric and funny. She’s self-aware and empathetic and lovable because of those qualities. On the show, her real dad (exactly the kind of man you’d expect to have raised Sarah, a sassy New York–accented cynic) was shown swimming laps in a pool and answering questions at random. Her Hulu set was decorated “cozy” like a log cabin—but that was ironic, too, because Sarah’s too smart to be comfortable in this political climate. She sought to soothe us, sure, but she also knows this to be a dangerous time.

Sarah almost died two years back from a freak case of epiglottitis, so it seems likely her show germinated from feelings of gratitude. Her humor has long been dirty-edgy (in her last stand-up Netflix special Speck of Dust, she made a longwinded joke about poop, but first tricked the audience into thinking she was describing her sister’s rape); however, Silverman softened—for both our benefit and for her own. We needed that, and I’ll miss it. FL

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