The comedian Sarah Silverman gained fame as a stand-up in the early aughts pairing her high, feminine voice with a dirty mind and sharp wit. She played a character who is "strangely Pollyannaish and utterly absorbed in her own point of view," as the New Yorker described her in 2005. On her Comedy Central sitcom, The Sarah Silverman Program (2007-2010), she one-upped the man-children (Seth Rogen, Will Ferrell) who characterized that comedic era by playing a woman so proudly infused with the spirit of a snotty 11-year-old it was a wonder her character was allowed into mainstream society.
But in the last few years, Silverman seems to have grown up. She got great reviews playing a drug-addicted housewife in I Smile Back in 2015, and she campaigned vigorously for Bernie Sanders, and then Hillary Clinton, culminating in a viral moment at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in the summer.
Silverman has returned to her roots as a stand-up comedian. She'll play two shows at the Keswick Theatre, a sold-out one Sunday and another Monday night, in preparation for a stand-up special she'll film in February.
You're on the road again for the first time in a while.
It's a little lonely but I love stand-up. I am a people person, though I get so embarrassed if I'm sitting at the gate for my flight each day and get stared at. I like hellos and being talked to like a human person, but the stares, because it's just me, make my head feel very hot. I can't explain the sensation more than just the feeling of embarrassment.
Stand-up is who I am. I'm a stand-up. It's my constant. And I have so much bulls- I wanna tell you!
How do you characterize the Philadelphia audience?
I don't know. I'll let you know. I can't wait! Todd Glass, one of my all-time favorite comics and beloved friend, is opening for me and it's his hometown, so I'm excited.
You had a big moment in Philadelphia over the summer when you called a heckler "ridiculous." Why did you respond?
Because I was there for Bernie. And Bernie was there for Hillary. And to see people screaming in other people's faces with such rage in a time when we had to come together. And if you love Bernie, you'd do that for him, make sure that someone who listens to him, who is an ally, gets in office. That was the best way to love him. So it hurt me to see that behavior and I just said something. To those people I was looking at in front of my face in that moment. And you would have, too.
Your visibility as an activist was certainly upped this election cycle. How do you plan on continuing your activism in the coming years?
I don't plan. My whole family has always been active citizens. One thing I'm focused on now is being aware of where my money goes and how I spend it and what I spend it on. The oligarchy sees us as consumers, not people. So what we do and don't consume matters. Changing from a bank to a credit union is a great place to start.
8 p.m. Sunday (sold out) and Monday, Keswick Theatre, 291 N. Keswick Ave., Glenside, $49.50-69.50, 215-572-7650, www.keswicktheatre.com