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Rough edge Sarah Silverman is funny, but her friends don't help

She explains the title this way: If she and her boyfriend (comic and TV host Jimmy Kimmel) ever get married and have kids, she'll simply tell them "Mommy is one of the chosen people, and Daddy believes Jesus is magic."

As Al Jolson used to say, you ain't heard nuthin' yet. Here are some other things that actually come out of the mouth of Sarah Silverman:

*"The best time to have a baby is when you're a black teenager."

*"I don't care if you think I'm a racist. I just want you to think I'm thin."

*"I was a bed-wetter until well into my teens. . . . And I was raped (pause) by a doctor (another pause), which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl."

*"Do you know what babies love? Ethnic jokes."

*"I tell my niece every time she loses at tag, an angel gets AIDS."

Lest you doubt, still, that Sarah Silverman is the edgiest comic out there at the moment, she delivers a 9/1 1 joke that actually gets belly laughs and casually says about the "blood libel" that Jews killed Jesus Christ that she personally would kill him again if she "heard his Birkenstocks clicking this way."

And here is what, somewhat astonishingly, has proven to be the tricky part for some people: This, it can't be said enough, is a carefully created comic persona. In this case, it's the Monstrous American Princess, the suburban narcissist so self-obsessed that the entire history of civilization is irrelevant.

Whoever the "real" Sarah Silverman is, she could no more be this super-callow stage bunny than Don Rickles could be what he is onstage -- or the "real" Gracie Allen could have been the dumbest woman who ever wore shoes. Though some call Silverman "the female Lenny Bruce," she is, thank heaven, not yet close to the stage where she has fatally confused her self with her act.

It's Silverman's pose, and it is, indeed, wickedly funny -- so much so that in this season of hype, Rolling Stone's Peter Travers caller her "the most outrageous funny woman alive." If she's that, I'm Scrooge McDuck (sorry, that takes in way too much territory).

There isn't a whole lot of film here, just 72 minutes. The ratio of guffaws to film, though, is in Silverman's favor. What I think has to be realized is that she's still, at this stage in her comedy career, at the mercy of friends and associates who aren't nearly up to the level of her talent (which IS exciting).

No one else involved in this movie -- from director Liam Lynch on down -- is anywhere near her level. As a consequence, they can't help her. Hers is a talent, I think, that desperately needs to stretch up, to be packaged (as Whoopi Goldberg first was by Mike Nichols or Tracey Ullman was by James L. Brooks) by someone who can make her look better rather than like someone fighting a war with enveloping mediocrity.

Still, this is a very funny movie.

3 stars (out of 4)

SARAH SILVERMAN: JESUS IS MAGIC

STARRING: Sarah Silverman, her friends and her band

DIRECTOR: Liam Lynch

RUNNING TIME: 72 minutes

RATING: Unrated but hard R equivalent for much graphic sex talk.

THE LOWDOWN: Edgy young comic does her one-woman show in Los Angeles.

e-mail: jsimon@buffnews.com

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