Sarah Silverman Redeems Herself on ‘SNL’

Comedian Sarah Silverman made her first appearance on Saturday Night Live as a host and redeemed herself on the sketch comedy show years after working on SNL for one unmemorable season, after which she was fired. It’d been a full 20 years since the last time the actress appeared on the show; she was fired after appearing as a featured player on the 1993-1994 season.

During her characteristically weird and hilarious opening monologue, Silverman sat in the lap of an audience member for an uncomfortably long period of time, forcing the woman to give her compliments and talking about how she wants to have her “hair shampooed like a little child or a princess or a quadriplegic.”  She also spoke to her young self from her SNL days, when she was planted as a mole in the audience to ask the host questions like “Why does the human knee bend?” and “What do you feed the dinosaurs?”

SNL paid tribute to the late Joan Rivers in a sketch with Silverman playing Joan Rivers in heaven, roasting other dead celebrities, including Freddie Mercury, Richard Pryor, Steve Jobs, and Ben Franklin. She asked Franklin whether he got his outfit from “Forever 1721″ and hoped that Jobs was forced to update to a “newer, better casket every six months so you can see how we feel.”

Another highlight was the mock trailer for a sequel to the teens-with-cancer romance The Fault in Our Stars, but with a current events twist. The Fault in Our Stars 2: The Ebola In Our Everything shows Silverman as a young girl with Ebola trying to find love, but her would-be suitor seems a bit wary of the highly contagious disease his beloved is carrying.

Silverman made her return to SNL after picking up an Emmy this year for her HBO special We Are Miracles. In the intervening two decades since being fired via fax from the variety show, Silverman has become one of the best comedians in the business, known for her incredibly raunchy and politically incorrect humor. The triumphant return to SNL capped off what’s been a great year for Silverman. In addition to We Are Miracles, Silverman has had a well-received small role on Showtime’s critically acclaimed Masters of Sex.

She isn’t bitter about her firing from the show, though she has said that the old, male-centric SNL was where she found herself, and that if she’d been involved with an SNL where Tina Fey was the head writer, things probably would’ve gone differently. “It wasn’t like I did something wrong,” Silverman recently told HuffPost Live. “I was that last year of the old guard and they started anew. And by the way, I wrote not a single funny sketch, so that might have something to do with it too.”

Critics loved the job she did hosting the show on Saturday night. “Her ‘return,’ as a first-time host, was a total triumph, with the monologue serving as a preemptive victory lap. Silverman was on-point enough that we’re guessing even the haters were queueing up her HBO special before bedtime,” said Rolling Stone. Her entire appearance seemed to be given with a wink to the fact that Silverman didn’t need SNL in order to become the uber-successful comedian she is now.

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