Sarah Silverman Spreads the Love - NECN

Sarah Silverman Spreads the Love

The comedian's "I Love You, America," returns to Hulu Thursday for a second season of using humor – and human interaction – to bridge divides

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    Sarah Silverman Spreads the Love
    Getty Images, File
    In this July 25, 2016, file photo, comedian Sarah Silverman stands on stage in Philadelphia.

    Sarah Silverman, in the second installment of "I Love You, America," visited Mineola, Texas, located in a county where 84 percent of voters cast ballots for Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

    The comedian, a Bernie Sanders supporter who later spoke on Hillary Clinton's behalf at the Democratic National Convention, didn't unearth any liberals at the town firehouse, diner or beauty parlor.

    But she bonded with the locals over laughs by swapping bathroom disaster stories. "We're all connected," Silverman declared.

    Her search for glimmers of commonality amid the muck, political and otherwise, lifted the Emmy-nominated Hulu show, which returns Thursday for a second season.

    Word Sneak with Sarah Silverman on 'Late Night'

    [NATL] Word Sneak with Sarah Silverman on 'Late Night'
    Host Jimmy Fallon and Sarah get cards with random words, such as belly button and hoverboard, and must work them into a casual conversation.
    (Published Friday, Jan. 22, 2016)

    Silverman set a high bar the first time out by adding gentle, humor-laced human interaction to her bawdy mix of smart and low-brow comedy. 

    She ate dinner with a struggling family of Trump fans in Chalmette, La., and discovered some openness toward same-sex marriage ("I hate to tell you this, but you're a liberal," Silverman said to the crew's young matriarch).

    Silverman sent comedy writer Gil Ozeri to spend a night in a Spring City, Utah, doomsday bunker ("Goodbye, world!" he cried. Spoiler alert: He survived and so did the planet, at least for now).

    She traveled to Nashville to pen a tune with country music songwriter Lee Thomas Miller (He rejected as unrelatable her proposed lyrics about her assistant's failure to remove the pulp from her coconut water).

    That's a prime example of Silverman using her privileged, often-clueless comedy persona to spread a mantra of awareness that reaches beyond the self.

    Her evolution stands in contrast to recently ended first season of Sacha Baron Cohen's "Who is America?," in which he donned disguises and got figures, well-known and not, to reveal the worst of themselves.

    The two shows, both reactions to the upheaval buffeting the nation, are effective in different ways. Still, you come away from "I Love You, America" more optimistic about the country Silverman shares with about 325 million other folks, presumably many poop-joke fans among them.

    Silverman doesn't pretend she can clean up our bigger mess. But she goes at least a small way toward showing we're all wading in it together.

    Hester is Director of News Products and Projects at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY. He is also the author of "Raising a Beatle Baby: How John, Paul, George and Ringo Helped us Come Together as a Family." Follow him on Twitter.