Silverman tanks at US conference

...even organiser calls her 'God-awful'

When organisers of a major international conference of ‘the world's leading thinkers’ decided to invite controversial comedian Sarah Silverman to take to the platform, they would surely have known they were taking a risk.

But the comedian bombed at the Technology, Entertainment, Design event in California to such an extent that event curator Chris Anderson twittered: ‘I know I shouldn’t say this about one of my own speakers, but I thought Sarah Silverman was God-awful’.

Silverman reportedly spoke about being Jewish, about insecurity as a survival skill and how she planned to adopt a ‘retarded’ child – but one that was terminally ill so she wouldn’t need to look after it forever.

One guest, AOL founder Steve Case, was among the unimpressed, calling her ‘an inappropriate guest for a TED talk’ – and told her directly: ‘Shame on you. The sad thing is you’re not that funny’

However Silverman used her Twitter account to hit back, saying Anderson – who made his fortune with the Future publishing company in the UK – had made TED ‘an unsafe haven for all’. She added: ‘You’re a barnacle of mediocrity on Bill Gates’ asshole.’

And to Case, she sniped: ‘You should be nicer to the last person on earth with an AOL account.’

But Case shot back: ‘I left AOL ten years ago. You need new material.’

Anderson later deleted his initial comment about Silverman.

Other speakers at the TED conference in Long Beach include Bill Gates, Google co-founder Sergey Brin and David Cameron, who spoke at the London offshoot.

In 2008, Silverman tanked at a show at the Hammersmith Apollo designed to launch her career in the UK, performing for just 45 minutes to an audience who came with high hopes for their £50-a-head ticket, but left disappointed.

Published: 15 Feb 2010

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