Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hollywood Magic Masks Sarah Silverman Jimmy Kimmel Relationship Blues

What happens when, in Adam Sandler-speak, "one fine looking Jew" vegetarian and meta-bigot comedienne reaches the end of the line in a five year dalliance with an Italian meat cooking Christmas loving late night TV show host?

They milk it as the biggest free publicity stunt in the anals of show biz lore, packaged as one of the most hilarious spoofs ever played by a We Are the World A-list cast of characters formerly sidelined by the WGA.

It's side-slapping to watch the big names who participated. And yet somehow, I can't help but feel badly for Kimmel and Silverman. Clearly, something is whacky in relationshipland. Apparently, I'm not the only one feeling their pain.

Sarah Silverman and Jimmy Kimmel began dating shortly after she stepped on the stage of a Hugh Hefner roast and lambasted Kimmel as "fat" with "no charisma." Lovely way to kick off a romance. Tender and gentle in an "I'll stomp you so don't mess with me" kind of way.

In November 2005, Silverman flirted with other men at the wrap party for her money-making movie, Jesus is Magic. Kimmel made fart jokes at Silverman's expense.

The couple was living together in May 2007 when Kimmel trotted Silverman out on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He outed her unshaven legs, complained about farts, and wondered aloud about the red stuff on her lips (it was lipstick) as if she had never before worn any in his presence. This, mind you, as a build-up to Silverman's famous skewer of Paris Hilton at the MTV Movie Awards and simultaneous Maxim cover debut. Silverman was poised to hit the big time and was coming into her own, yet Kimmel didn't seem particularly enthused or proud of his significant other's accomplishments.

Silverman either has an amazing sense of humor or she's the biggest patsy who ever walked the face of the planet. If my boyfriend treated me like that on national TV, I would have taken his puckered lips at the end of the segment and pushed them down his pudgy throat.

But what appears to be the final straw was yet to come. Kimmel publicly embarrassed Silverman on his show in October 2007 by insinuating she was a man and nipping her suggestion of marriage in the bud. At one point, Silverman dropped to her knees in mock proposal while Kimmel tried desperately to cut away to commercial. Nervous banter aside, the only one laughing was the audience.

I'm afraid what we are now witnessing is the beginning of the end. Silverman fired the first shot in January 2008 by getting Kimmel to play a video in honor of his fifth anniversary show. Her professed love affair with People's Sexiest Man Alive, Matt Damon, was an immediate Internet sensation, registering millions of hits and quickly raising her profile around the blogosphere. This week, in the spirit of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Kimmel countered with his own musical spoof, professing undying love and covert shtuping with Ben Affleck, Damon's cohort and confidant.

Both Damon and Affleck are married to women and each of them is raising a child. Damon also helps raise a step-daughter. And as long as people want to start keeping tabs, the Silverman spoof is a rip-off. Check out Damon in these highlights from Eurotrip. Chalk up one for the Kimmel in this battle of lilting love.

It's wonderful to see the funny folk of Hollywood therapeutically hash out their problems through the production of jocular entertainment. Kind of in the vein of "If ya can't beat 'em, join 'em," Kimmel and Silverman are getting the last laugh on the tabloids and I say "good for them."

But what I see lurking behind their side-splitting antics is far from good. A sad spectacle of romance on the rocks. To their ingenious credit, these videos are the talk of the tabloids rather than their more obvious relationship blues.

Maybe that's just as well.