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Sarah Silverman is perfectly fine cringing at her former self. It means she's growing

Sarah Silverman is known for breaking taboos in her comedy. Her new off-Broadway musical The Bedwetter, adapted from her 2010 memoir of the same name, centers on the most humiliating part of her childhood: wetting the bed every night until she was about 16.

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Other segments from the episode on May 24, 2022

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Tuesday May 24, 2022: Interview with Sarah Silverman; Roger Angell Obituary

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. My guest is comic, actor and writer Sarah Silverman. She's known for breaking taboos, often to mock sexism, racism and extremist politics and religion. She now has second thoughts about some of her earlier comedy, wondering whether, when she was trying to mock racism, she didn't understand her own limited perspective as a white person. We'll talk about that later. Silverman has broken a big personal taboo from her childhood. She was a bedwetter. It was a nightly occurrence until about the age of 16. It was especially humiliating during sleepovers with friends and the summers she spent at sleepaway camp. She wrote about that in her 2010 memoir titled "The Bedwetter." Now that book has been adapted into an off-Broadway musical. She collaborated on it with songwriter Adam Schlesinger, who co-founded the band Fountains of Wayne, wrote the title song for the movie "That Thing You Do," the songs for the rom-com "Music And Lyrics" and the TV series "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" and what may be the best song that ever opened the Tony Awards ceremony, "Broadway - It's Not Just For Gays Anymore." He was one of the very early COVID victims and died April 1, 2020. The songwriter David Yazbek completed writing the songs. "The Bedwetter" officially opens June 7 at the Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan.

Sarah Silverman, welcome back to FRESH AIR. I've really been looking forward to talking with you again. You were on our show in 2010 after "The Bedwetter" memoir was published, so congratulations on that.

SARAH SILVERMAN: That's right. That's right.

GROSS: Yeah. Congratulations on adapting the most humiliating experience of your life into a musical.

SILVERMAN: (Laughter) Thank you.

GROSS: Oh, yeah. So what was the turning point when you decided to make this really hidden part of your life something that you talked about on stage and wrote about?

SILVERMAN: The shame started officially subsiding when I was young. I just was sure it would be my deepest, darkest shame and, you know, my biggest secret. And when I was around 10, I was in my bedroom. And I had a little color TV. And my mom came upstairs. I had - my room was in the attic. And she said, oh, turn on Johnny Carson, this actress that's on, she was promoting a mini series called "V." And she said she used to be Miss New Hampshire. So we watched it together, and I couldn't believe it. You know, she said it very cavalierly like it was nothing that she was - used to be a bedwetter. And it just blew my mind, you know, that someone else with this problem would be so casual about it and say it on national television. And it just kind of blew out a wall in my brain a little bit, you know, where I saw the world a little differently. And I thought, oh, gosh, you know, maybe I could get past this.

GROSS: So now "The Bedwetter" is a musical, and Adam Schlesinger was writing the songs. But, you know, really sadly, he died before the show was completed on April 1 of 2020 in the early days of COVID when, I mean, COVID was terrifying. There was no treatments. There was virtually no testing that you could get. I mean, it was just - it was - this was probably during the period when bodies were piling up in freezer trucks on the streets of Manhattan. I mean, it's just terrifying.

SILVERMAN: Right around the beginning of that. He - yeah, we - I had come to New York for three months to rehearse and put up the show. You know, the show was completed to that point where we were going into rehearsals and previews. But, of course, there's always so much to change and songs you cut and songs you add and, you know. And yeah, he - I remember he had finally gotten his hands on a test like five days into having this like 104 fever and then never got results, just never heard back, you know. Like, there was just nothing really available. And we knew so little. And then he was in the - you know, then he texted, I'm in the - can you believe it? I'm in the hospital with actual COVID, you know. And it felt so - it was scary. But because he was texting us, it just felt like, OK, well, you know. And then the texting stopped. And we started just getting emails from his girlfriend, Alexis. And then that was that was it, April 1.

It just - it was so shocking and surreal. And it still doesn't really feel real other than this show is finally on. And, you know, he's everywhere in it. And yeah. It's - his family came to it, and they didn't know how they would feel. And I think it was very life - it was cathartic for them. They ended up really loving it. But it's, you know, of course, it's just, you know, a parent doesn't want to have to see some - a posthumous work by their son. But it was - yeah, it's been really surreal. And David Yazbek's been a mensch to come in and kind of doula the rest of this, you know, into being - and a very selfless, beautiful act by him just kind of seeing it through. And he's been incredible.

GROSS: Are some of Adam Schlesinger's songs still in it? Like, how many of the songs are ones that he was able to complete before he...

SILVERMAN: Oh, most of them, most of them.

GROSS: Sarah, this may be asking too much, but we don't have any of the songs. They haven't been recorded, at least not for any kind of public use.

SILVERMAN: No.

GROSS: Could you sing a few bars of one of the songs?

SILVERMAN: Oh, my gosh.

GROSS: I mean, you have a great voice, so I know you could pull it off because I'd love to hear some of the music, and I know our listeners would, too.

SILVERMAN: Oh, my. Terry. OK. I - let's - well, one that I love is "Sarah Makes Some Friends" (ph). You know, this is about my life when I was 10, so it's just this little tiny 10-year-old girl playing me. And she makes some new friends, and she brings them home. And she introduces them to her dad, Donald (ph), who owns a discount clothing store called Crazy Donny's Factory Outlet (ph). And she introduces her friends to him, and he seems to know all their moms. And finally, one of them says, how do you know all our moms? And he starts to sing.

(Singing) In my line of work, women's fashion retail, I need to know my customer to the last detail. What does she want? What does she desire? Then I can position myself as her supplier. So when your mother showed up at the door of my store and said she needed pants. Well, I could sense she meant more. So I put her at ease with my expertise until I could see she was relaxed and calm.

And by then, some sets have closed in front of the girls. So it's just him on stage. And then he continues. (Singing) So I closed a little early, and I f***** your mom.

That was a little sample. Oh, my goodness.

GROSS: But that's really funny.

SILVERMAN: It's just so - well, it's very, very funny. There's - and then just heartbreaking, beautiful songs, a lot of really funny songs. I'm not doing them justice singing them for you in my phone.

GROSS: Let me just stop you for a second, though. So did your father actually have intimate relationships with his customers like the father in the show?

SILVERMAN: It's an exaggeration. But yes, he did have - he was - you know, I think he was exotic, hot property in New Hampshire in 1980, though.

GROSS: Yeah. There weren't many Jewish people in your neighborhood outside of your family.

We're going to take a short break here, and then we're going to talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is comic, actor and writer Sarah Silverman, and her show "The Bedwetter," based on her 2010 memoir, is now off Broadway in Manhattan at the Atlantic Theater Company. It opens June 7 and is now in previews. We'll be right back. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOLDENBOY'S "KITTENS OF LUST")

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. Let's get back to my interview with Sarah Silverman. And her new off-Broadway show, "The Bedwetter," is in previews at the Atlantic Theatre Company in Manhattan. It opens on June 7. And Sarah Silverman is a comic, writer and actor and has been our guest several times on FRESH AIR.

I want to talk to you a little about your series "I Love You, America." And this was 2017 and '18, and you've incorporated songs that you've written into several of your shows. And in your series "I Love You, America," the series opens - there's this big production number in which you're walking through the streets, singing and trying to be very inclusive, singing about your love for all races and ethnic groups and religions. But in trying to say the right thing, you keep kind of saying the wrong thing, which is a kind of style that you became famous for. I'd love to play this song. But before we hear it, is there a specific kind of song or production number that you thought of yourself as, you know, parodying?

SILVERMAN: Well, I think the style I was singing, I was trying to be kind of like a generic Bruce Springsteen, I think, but yeah, I don't know.

GROSS: Well, let's hear the song.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "I LOVE YOU, AMERICA")

SILVERMAN: (As herself, singing) I love you, America, from sea to shining sea, from the East Coast to the West and whatever's in between. I love you, America, the old red, white and blue. I love you, America, and everyone in you. I love you, men. I love you, women. I love straights, and I love gays. I love all the Americans from places far away. I love you if you're Haitian or Korean or Irish. I love that you're Mexican, and I love that you're from Afghani - Lib - Turkey.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: (As character) North Carolina.

SILVERMAN: (As herself, singing) Carolina.

(LAUGHTER)

SILVERMAN: (As herself, singing) I love Black people. I love whites and Asians, too. I love Latinos, Muslims, Christians, goodness, and the Jews.

(LAUGHTER)

SILVERMAN: Wait a minute. What am I doing? I'm listing kinds of people? I'm categorizing human beings and putting them into little individual boxes. I mean, whether I mean it or not, I'm part of the problem.

(Singing) I love you, mailman person. I love you, bus driver, too. I love you, police officer.

Oh, that's - yeah, that's easy for me to say. I mean, I can walk into any encounter with the police assuming they're going to serve and protect me. That's my luxury. That's called white privilege. You know, a few years ago, I was sitting around, and I go, wow, there's a real epidemic of cops murdering unarmed Black teenagers. And then I realized that's not an epidemic. That's how it's always been. I'm just aware of it now because of social media. And I was so ashamed, and, [expletive], I just want to be a good ally. How can I be a good ally?

RETTA: (As herself) It's not my job to teach you how to be a good ally.

SILVERMAN: (As herself) Right. No, I know. You're right, of course. But there's no way I can know unless someone whose experience I could never understand is willing to...

RETTA: (As herself) Sarah, seriously? Take a class or something. I'm busy. I'm not all Black people. I'm just me. I'm just Retta.

SILVERMAN: (As herself, singing) I love that about you.

GROSS: I really love that. Can you talk a little bit about the process of writing that?

SILVERMAN: God, I don't remember. I'm so glad you played some of it because I couldn't remember it at all. I think it was just, like, making fun of my own process of kind of awakening to the things that we all, so many of us, became, like, conscious of at that time and being the one that makes the mistake. And, you know, it is something that I think is important is, you know, I see so much - an odd - listen, you know, I have a million problems with the right and stuff like that. But just within my own - the left here, I just get frustrated by a kind of an elitist thing where you've got to know all the language, and you need to adapt immediately, and your history has to reflect everything we know right now. And there is just very little grace I see.

And, you know, I know that with friends that are nonbinary or their pronouns are they/them or, you know, I know - you know, I love embracing that and using it. But I mess up constantly, and I'll go, oh, God, oh, I mean, they. You know, I'll go, well, she - oh, they, they, you know, whatever. And they always say, you know, don't worry about it. You're trying. You'll get it. Don't worry. And I do think it's, like, instead of just this hard line of you're not getting it yet, and you're bad for that but just kind of like - you know, I always say to people who scoff at they/them pronouns or anything kind of new, I go like, you can fight it. But in two years, you'll be - it will - you will have embraced it. That change can be something that can be supported and with the understanding that it takes a beat for people and sometimes a longer beat for other people - you know, it doesn't make them bad - and that saying you can't be in our club because you don't have all the language right is so much less fruitful than come join us, sit by me, there's room for you here.

GROSS: Do you feel ever like you were shut out of something because you said the wrong thing or used the wrong noun or pronoun?

SILVERMAN: Oh, you know, I'm sure I'm not - I certainly don't mean it personally. I'm fine. You know, I'm not defending myself. But that I see people being called out constantly when they could just be a little more gracefully corrected and included, you know, that there's this error of judgment, I feel, that emanates from the left that is not fruitful. Like, I know there's a million examples that would make me, you know, too pie-eyed in what I'm saying, but I do think that there's more that comes from that, from understanding that we're all connected, than buying into the whole thing that we're teams that hate each other.

GROSS: You know, I'm wondering as a comic what it's been like for you - I don't know if you've done stand-up lately, but you've certainly done a lot of stand-up over the years - seeing Chris Rock slapped really hard on stage by Will Smith and then, not long after, seeing Dave Chappelle, like, pushed onstage by somebody in the audience who, you know, just ran onto the stage and had to be, like, dragged off of it. I mean, these - this is dangerous. So what did it make you think about as a comic and especially as a woman comic who, I think, like, because comedy was always such, like, a male-dominated field and it was mostly, like, guys at the comedy clubs for so long that women felt especially out of place and, often, that a lot of the audience didn't get it because it had been so male-dominated in the past?

SILVERMAN: Right. I mean, I think we, as an entire people, like, forgot that there are more women than men in this world (laughter), you know? Like, I remember being told, like, not to talk about things that are specific to women on stage because it's the men that laugh, and the women only laugh if the men are laughing. So you have to appeal to them, which is, you know, that was - let's see - you know, 1990. But I took that on for a while. I mean, it's just bizarre - not very long, but I did kind of go, ah, they must know, you know? But the whole Chris Rock thing and the Chappelle thing, I feel like it's indicative of this move we've made as a society where we expect more from our comedians than our representatives.

GROSS: Oh, that's an interesting way of putting it, though I'm sure the representatives are getting all kinds of death threats.

SILVERMAN: Sure, but so do comics.

GROSS: Well, that's true. Yeah. That's right. But it wasn't always that way, was it? I mean, like, were comics getting death threats when you started in comedy?

SILVERMAN: No. But before that, I'm sure - I think Lenny Bruce probably did. But there was also less - there wasn't - certainly, there was not social media, and there wasn't - there was just, like, letters or maybe phone calls. So you don't really understand the scope of (laughter) insane people, you know? Comedians draw a certain pathology that - where people think they know you. And so I think it's all been kind of compounded lately, you know, where you can find something a comedian said publicly, you know, 12 years ago and kind of litigate that on social media, when we've all been growing and changing and learning and understanding the people around us more in large part due to social media and having a farther reach and making the world smaller in that way.

GROSS: Let's take a short break here, and then we can talk some more. If you're just joining us, my guest is comic, actor and writer Sarah Silverman, and her 2010 memoir "The Bedwetter" is now adapted into an off-Broadway musical that is in previews and opens June 7 at the Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan. We'll be right back after a short break. I'm Terry Gross, and this is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF JONATHAN BATISTE'S "KINDERGARTEN")

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Let's get back to my interview with comic, actor and writer Sarah Silverman. Her 2010 memoir, "The Bedwetter," about the most humiliating part of her childhood - wetting the bed every night - has been adapted into a new musical, which is off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company in Manhattan. It's in previews and officially opens June 7. The songs are by Adam Schlesinger and David Yazbek. Sarah Silverman starred in the shows "The Sarah Silverman Program" and "I Love You, America" and was featured in the series "Masters Of Sex."

Well, you've reflected on your comedy from the past, and you have, like, mixed feelings about some of it. Like, some of the things, some of the comedy you've done in the past, you feel bad about now. You feel like you didn't quite get it, that you made assumptions about the kind of comedy you could do as a white liberal, but maybe you made the wrong assumptions and that you were just living in a bubble. But I want to play something that you said on your series, "I Love You, America." And this was a monologue on your show. And you were talking about blind spots that you had when you were making jokes. And this - you have particularly apologized for having worn blackface on one of the episodes of "The Sarah Silverman Program," which was your Comedy Central sitcom based on - in which your character was named Sarah. And your character was always, like, saying and doing the wrong things. So let's play that excerpt from "I Love You, America."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "I LOVE YOU, AMERICA WITH SARAH SILVERMAN")

SILVERMAN: As a white person, I have only had to see the world through the lens of the white experience. People of color, in addition to their own perspective, have had to see the world through the lens of white people their whole lives in order to survive, to get jobs, to succeed, to exist. I've never had to see the world through the Black experience, though as a liberal, I was sure that I had.

(LAUGHTER)

SILVERMAN: There was an episode of my old show, "The Sarah Silverman Program," that...

(APPLAUSE)

SILVERMAN: Oh, my God. Thank you for looking at the applause sign.

(LAUGHTER)

SILVERMAN: Anyway, I had a moment on my old show where I could not see past the scope of my liberal white lens. And look. Comedy isn't evergreen. It gets old or trite or irrelevant as fast as the changing times - obviously, except for "Garfield." I mean, come on. The way that cat at once loves lasagna and hates Mondays is genius. It's timeless. And look. There's stuff I did on "The Sarah Silverman Program" that I love. I loved playing this arrogant, ignorant ass****. But then there's stuff that I did on there that, you know, I cringe at. And one thing in particular is - to call it problematic would be too kind. OK. I'll just rip the Band-Aid off right now and say it. I did an episode where I wore blackface. The context was, well, irrelevant because it's not OK to do blackface ever. But slash and - there is irony because in this episode, I played an ignorant woman in a liberal bubble who thought she was illuminating racism by wearing blackface. What I didn't realize then is that, in reality, I was an ignorant woman in a liberal bubble who thought I was illuminating racism by wearing blackface.

(LAUGHTER)

SILVERMAN: I mean, good grief. That is some real liberal bubble s***. We know it's wrong, so we can do it.

GROSS: So that was Sarah Silverman on her series "I Love You, America." Sarah, when did you have that realization that some of the things you did, you wanted to kind of retract, that you thought, looking back on it, that they were wrong?

SILVERMAN: I think as I was growing and changing and seeing more of the Black experience through Black voices. And, you know, I hadn't gotten into trouble. Nobody had exposed it at that point. I exposed it myself. And it was something that I think is important to do because I want to be able to prove to myself and show to others that you can't change your past, but you can be changed by your past. And, you know, even at that time, I thought I was being subversive and, you know, making a point. But it certainly doesn't hold up in any way. And what I was able to learn from it I was able to use in what I was doing in that moment. I mean, listen. There's - even just in comedy, you have to change with the times and grow or else you become a caricature of yourself or just a signifier of a time. And not only is that no way to create art or be a comedian, but it's no way to live. And I just think it's got to be OK to mess up in life and to acknowledge it and notice it and be changed by it.

GROSS: Well, first of all, I want to say, I thought "The Sarah Silverman Program" was really funny, ditto with "Jesus Is Magic," which was a comic film that you did of your show. And I thought the kind of jujitsu comedy that you did was really funny when you played a white liberal but also mocked that person for not really getting it. It was this kind of like double layer. And I remember in one of my intros, because you've been on our show several times, and one of the intros I said, if you hear Sarah Silverman's comedy, you might think that she's, you know, racist or sexist. But if you listen closely, you're realizing, no, she's mocking that. She's mocking people who are racist. She's mocking people who are sexist. And I had always thought that that was really successful, that you did that in a very successful way. So I was really interested in hearing that you didn't think, you know, in retrospect, you don't think that it was successful.

SILVERMAN: I think it was successful. I got successful from it, you know, so that's how I know it was successful. But in - so in that time, it worked. I mean, listen. All that stuff had to go through several filters, which were also probably white people, you know. But it was on the air. And it was in, you know - and so it's really just looking at it through the scope of the moment that makes me cringe. But I've also always felt like if you don't look at what you did in the past and cringe, you haven't grown much, you know.

GROSS: Well, I really appreciate that you are so reflective about your own comedy. Can I ask you for an example of something that you were referring to from your early years where you were saying something because you meant the opposite, but it could be taken out of context and people would think you really mean it?

SILVERMAN: I don't see color. To me, everybody's white.

GROSS: (Laughter) That's really funny. Do you still feel good about that?

SILVERMAN: Yes. I mean, I think, you know, I didn't know the word white privilege. But certainly, that was what I was exploring in a lot of my comedy early on that other people described as, like, she's playing a Jewish American princess, which never popped into my head and was never my experience growing up in New Hampshire. I'm not, you know - but that's how it was perceived, I think, by people. But to me, it was really exploring what I didn't know what was called white privilege.

GROSS: So I'm going to reintroduce you here. If you're just joining us, my guest is comic, writer and actor Sarah Silverman. And her memoir, "The Bedwetter," has been adapted into an off-Broadway musical. We'll be right back. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF LARY BARILLEAU AND THE LATIN JAZZ COLLECTIVE"S "CARMEN'S MAMBO")

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. Let's get back to my interview with comic, actor and writer Sarah Silverman. And her 2010 memoir, "The Bedwetter," about the most humiliating part of her childhood, wetting the bed every night, has been adapted into a new musical, which is about to open off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theatre Company in Manhattan. It's now in previews.

So I don't have children. And I'm always interested in how people choose to have children or not have children if they have the choice. And that choice seems to be on the verge of being eliminated for a lot of women if the Supreme Court really does overrule - you know, overturn Roe v. Wade.

SILVERMAN: Yeah. That's certainly the plan, isn't it?

GROSS: Yeah, it seems to be. Can you talk about choosing to not have children?

SILVERMAN: Yeah. I think I always kind of thought, well, you know, I'm going to adopt when I'm 40. And then I was 40. And I was like, no, I think I would, like, adopt when I'm 50, you know? And I remember being, you know, in my late 30s and my gynecologist pushing me to freeze my eggs, you know? And I said, I don't want to have children. And, you know, he said, well, you don't - you might want to down the line. I said, well, if I do, then I'll adopt. And I'd like that to be what my option is. And - but, you know, as I - you know, I love kids. I love babies. I love kids so much. And I've said this, you know, in - as a joke, but I really mean it that the only thing I love more than kids is doing anything I want at all times. And that's just really been my choice. There's so much I want to do. And, you know, now there are very successful, you know, women comedians that have children and families. But it certainly was not how it used to be. And it still is something that, I imagine, is extremely hard to navigate.

And it always was interesting to me that men comedians were often married and had kids, and it did not get in the way of their careers at all, you know? I had - I was having tea with a couple of guy friend comics. And they were telling me how there's a comedian, Mike Lawrence, who's very funny and a really good writer. And they said, you know, we came up in comedy with Mike's mom. She was a comedian. And I was like, oh, my God. That's so interesting. Where is she? What happened to her? And they said, well, she had Mike. And it just really hit me so hard, you know? And maybe that was a choice she made. And it was, you know - it was something that was a real mitzvah in her life that she - you know, I don't know her at all. But it just was - it was such a given to them that so many women's careers in comedy, it's you - that's the choice. Do you want to have kids, or do you want to have a career? And that just isn't the case for men.

GROSS: The relationship you're in now is, you know, one of several long-term relationships that you've had. And you said that in the past, you felt, even though you were really kind of strong and independent as a comic and in your career and you could say anything onstage, that in relationships, you often felt like you were just, like, either overshadowed or that you had to be more compromising in relationships. And now you're just kind of, you know, embracing who you are and being yourself. And you can say it better than I can because you know your thoughts.

SILVERMAN: I felt, sometimes, like I was contorting myself to be what girlfriend meant to them because it's so - it is important to me to be a really good partner, you know? And - but, you know, I've learned what I really need in life. Like, I didn't know that I needed to be alone for a solid amount of time every single day. And so I didn't know how to protect that, you know? And it's no bueno when I don't get it. Like, it's important - took me a long time to realize that.

GROSS: How do you get the alone time that you need?

SILVERMAN: I take it. I mean, listen; when I'm with Rory, who's my partner - we live together, which I did not see myself ever doing again. We do our own thing. We have kind of parallel play. You know, I'll be upstairs. And I do my - the stuff I like to do. I like to spend time alone. I like to be - we - you know, speak out loud, talk to myself, you know? There's - I have a process that, like, I never - I didn't understand that I could value, you know, even if it's just, like, hanging out, taking a bath, singing out loud, singing in the shower, talking out loud, you know, just doing things that really are, like, what I've learned are important to my process as someone who makes stuff and writes stuff.

GROSS: So you know, part of your memoir, "The Bedwetter," which is now an off-Broadway play, was about depression and how your mother was so depressed during some of your childhood that she stayed in bed, as I think she does in the show. And then you've been on antidepressants that have really been helpful. But in 2016, you had an abscess on your windpipe and had to have emergency surgery, and you were taking off your antidepressants. I'm not sure why, if that was a mistake or intentional. But anyways, you went into what's been described as chemically induced suicidal thinking, and that must have just been horrible. Like, you really have to taper off of antidepressants.

SILVERMAN: It's really - and if my experience is a common experience, it's really dangerous, you know? I mean, listen, these doctors saved my life. I had this abscess, and I had no idea. And I was moments away from it bursting without realizing it, so I had a very dangerous surgery, and - but it worked. You know, my boyfriend at the time and my manager who were there - you know, it all happened so fast - you know, I went to the doctor, and he rushed me to the hospital - that it would be about 50% chance of survival, you know? But I survived, so then it was fine.

But the - my blood pressure is very low, so they weren't able to completely put me under. So what they did was just give me - just snow me with opioids, you know? And I just - I have no kind of visual memory of it. I was totally out of it. You know, I guess my eyes were open, but I have no recollection. And they took - you know, I've been on Zoloft since 1994, and it's really - works very well for me. And you really can't take someone off of that cold turkey. It's dangerous. But they did.

So I got out of the hospital after eight days, not realizing I had not been taking my medication for a week, and I was also on a lot of medication that makes you kind of emotionally unstable and was going through withdrawals from eight days of basically having, like, all the heroin in the world in my body, you know? It's just all morphine and Dilaudid and whatever they pump into me to not feel anything. So I was - I mean, if it wasn't for my boyfriend at the time, I would have jumped off the roof of my building. It's all I could think about doing. Everything was too heartbreaking or too beautiful in - like, for a few days there. And my sister finally said, they did not give you any of your Zoloft. And just knowing that - and I took, like, three right away to start getting it into my body, and it, you know, just - it helped. It helped me, you know, get back on track.

GROSS: Well, I'm glad you are past that.

SILVERMAN: Thank you.

GROSS: Sarah, it's been great to talk with you again. It's been a few years. So I'm real glad we had this chance again and that it's for such a kind of happy occasion.

SILVERMAN: Yes, me too. Thank you so much. Good to talk to you, Terry.

GROSS: Sarah Silverman's off-Broadway musical, "The Bedwetter," officially opens June 7 at the Atlantic Theatre Company in Manhattan. After we take a short break, we'll listen back to an interview with Roger Angell. The revered baseball writer who wrote for The New Yorker, where he also served as fiction editor, died last week at age 101. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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