Fact Check

Sarah Silverman: Killing Jesus

After Sarah Silverman appeared at the July 2016 Democratic National Convention, images popped up claiming she made offensive statements about Jews killing Jesus.

Published Aug. 1, 2016

Sarah Silverman said "I hope the Jews did kill Jesus, I'd do it again in a second!"
What's True

During Sarah Silverman's 2005 stand-up performance "Jesus is Magic," the comedian joked that the Jews killed Jesus. and she would "do it again."

What's False

Sarah Silverman did not say outside the setting of a stand-up comedy routine that she genuinely wished to "kill Jesus."

After comedian Sarah Silverman appeared at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, a number of images began circulating quoting the comic as having previously made offensive comments about "the Jews ... kill[ing] Jesus":

The images emerged as a general political critique of Democrats, their values, and their surrogates, largely without any context about what they were referencing. The images essentially suggested Silverman had stated that she'd personally opt to "kill Jesus" again if given the chance, and that she surmised in a straightforward fashion that Jewish people should take credit for His death.

It wasn't difficult to authenticate the quote; in the clips below (which contain profanity), Silverman is captured making the remarks as part of her stand-up routine. In one very truncated clip, Silverman's routine (in which she touched on the historical assignation of blame for Jesus' death to the Jews) was condensed to that single joke:

In another, the remarks were put into additional context as a longer routine about her then-relationship with a Catholic man. The quip in question provided the name for the 2005 stand-up set in question, "Jesus Is Magic":

Whether or not Sarah Silverman's joking about killing Jesus in the context of a comedy routine is offensive to Christians (or others) is a subjective issue. However, what was objective about the comment is that it was made as part of a stand-up comedy performance as part of a riff on religion and interfaith relationships. Silverman also joked about explaining to a potential child that "Mommy is one of [God's] chosen people" whereas "Daddy [believes] 'Jesus is magic.'" No portion of the 2005 stand-up material was intended to be taken as a literal statement.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.

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