Earlier this year, comic Sarah Silverman won praise for how she dealt with an internet troll who dropped the c-word on her. It wasn't because she struck back with a lethal insult. Instead, she noticed that he'd once tweeted about back pain and reached out to him with empathy. “What she said broke through what months and months of therapy couldn't even do,” the now-former troll, Jeremy Jamrozy, tells Drew Magary of GQ. “Like, she just broke me down to where she made me more humble and nice and positive." Silverman has since helped him out with medical bills, and they remain in frequent contact. This incident is no fluke. In a feature that is part profile, part interview, Magary writes that Silverman, 47, is a changed person—and a changed comic—from the caustic Silverman of old.
"She's an anomaly among comics because she's decided to become, well, NICE," writes Magary. The change is reflected in her Hulu talk show, I Love You, America, which often finds the liberal Silverman on the road talking to Trump supporters—not to either belittle or coddle them, but to "playfully" challenge them and perhaps understand their views better. "She has made herself vulnerable," writes Magary. "She has taken the risk of adapting her comedy to a more mature and genuine worldview, and so the obvious question here is: Can she pull it off? Or does being a better person make you a worse comic?" Click to read the full article, in which Silverman says she now cringes at a blackface bit she performed on her old cable show and scoffs at her own "I'm playing a character" rationale for doing it at the time. (Read more Longform stories.)