The Bedwetter: Stories of Courage, Redemption, and Pee

Published: May 5th 2010
in Culture » Books

The Bedwetter

From a very early age, Sarah Silverman would say pretty much anything for a laugh.


As soon as she could utter a word, in fact, her father taught her to swear. She would make outlandish assertions in public, like “I love tampons!” and other claims involving various four-letter words that typically aren’t ingrained until at least elementary school.


She also told her grandmother to shove baked goods up her posterior crevice, though not in so many words.


Regardless, the shocking contrast between the words and the mouth from which they spew elicit guaranteed laughter – or, at the very least, a reaction.


Today is not much different, except now she gets paid.


Sarah Silverman has made a career out of her oh-so-apparent “Jewishness”; it has, after all, afforded her much material to work with and given her immunity, so to speak, to deprecate all minorities equally.


The book begins with a foreword penned by Sarah herself. In fact, true to Silverman’s character, she very openly refers to discussions between herself and her editor, focusing primarily on instances where they failed to see eye-to-eye. Writing her own foreword was one of these instances.


She is very open about her reasons behind writing the book: "I'm not writing this book to share wisdom or to inspire people. I'm writing this book because I am a famous comedian, which is how it works now. If you're famous, you get to write a book, and not the other way around."


Silverman also includes what she calls a “midword,” an intermission of sorts, where she reflects more on the actual writing process than the narrative of her life.


The afterword is written by, who else –  “God”:  “Despite Sarah’s and my rather strained relationship over the course of her life, I am thrilled to be involved with this book.”


Her comic success can perhaps be attributed, at least in part, to a fearlessness and strength of character developed very early in life. According to the comedian, "My early trauma was a gift, it turned out, in a vocation where your best headspace is feeling that you have nothing to lose."


Silverman’s frankness does not come across as too much information; rather, it’s endearing. We love her even more, knowing that she was sent to camp for several years, despite her chronic bedwetting, which continued well into her teens. We feel for her various childhood traumas, especially the one in which her therapist hanged himself while a young Sarah sat in the waiting room.


The result is an unmatched breed of ironic comedy that both shocks and awes. We admire the wit and satire that belie each of her crass comedy bits, and we roll our eyes with her at those who don’t understand.


A lesser known fact about Silverman, and perhaps one of my favourite of her recollections, is her one-year stint on Saturday Night Live. This period of her life is comparatively low-profile, it turns out, because during that time not one of her sketches was used.


She did, however, manage to stab Al Franken in the head with a pencil… and if that’s not success, I ask you, what is?




Related articles: (books, sarah silverman, the bedwetter, harper collins)

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