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3 Surprising Facts About Sarah Silverman

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I was reading an article on Sarah Silverman this week in Bust Magazine (which is a terrific magazine by the way). Comedians spend so much time trying to be "on" that I have a real soft spot for when they're being genuine. In any case, I think Silverman is a genius, and though I'd read up on her before, here are a couple of things I was struck by.

1) She's been fired by Fax Machine

I'm always stunned by people who come into their own at such a young age. At 17, Silverman was already working night clubs in New Hampshire, and at just 21, she was hired as a cast member on SNL. While it isn't unprecedented for the show (Anthony Michael Hall was 17, Eddie Murphy was 19), I'd forgotten just how young she was when she was already offending the public. Weirder still is the way in which she was let go. Lorne Michaels is notorious for making poor decisions in how he's let people go. Apparently, in Sarah Silverman's case, she learned of her termination via fax.

2) There are things she won't Joke About

While rape and abortion are topics Silverman is happy to take on, she draws the line at making fat jokes about women. From the profile: "Fat men in our society still deserve love, and fat women don't. So what's the appeal of making fun of that?" Further, while she's surprisingly frank about her bed-wetting problems and bouts with depression, her relationships (particularly her recent break-up) is off-limits.

3) She thinks Kathy Griffin is funny

I've heard Silverman bristle in interviews at people who undercut other comedians (Dane Cook, for instance), but I was pleasantly surprised by her take on the Vanity Fair piece on the "Queens of Comedy." Disappointed by the article's stress on female comedians' looks over the quality of their material (she was described as "sexy" and "coquettish" apparently), Silverman was even more flustered by the women who weren't covered. While Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were rightly profiled, she was upset by the omission of Kathy Griffin. In her own words, "When Kathy Griffin wasn't there, I was horrified... I think because she's a loudmouth, people don't respect her for how brilliant she is."

Story via the always enlightening Bust.

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Big Questions
What's the Difference Between Vanilla and French Vanilla Ice Cream?
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While you’re browsing the ice cream aisle, you may find yourself wondering, “What’s so French about French vanilla?” The name may sound a little fancier than just plain ol’ “vanilla,” but it has nothing to do with the origin of the vanilla itself. (Vanilla is a tropical plant that grows near the equator.)

The difference comes down to eggs, as The Kitchn explains. You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

In an interview with NPR’s All Things Considered in 2010—when Baskin-Robbins decided to eliminate French Vanilla from its ice cream lineup—ice cream industry consultant Bruce Tharp noted that French vanilla ice cream may date back to at least colonial times, when Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both used ice cream recipes that included egg yolks.

Jefferson likely acquired his taste for ice cream during the time he spent in France, and served it to his White House guests several times. His family’s ice cream recipe—which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream—seems to have originated with his French butler.

But everyone already knew to trust the French with their dairy products, right?

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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science
Belly Flop Physics 101: The Science Behind the Sting
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Belly flops are the least-dignified—yet most painful—way of making a serious splash at the pool. Rarely do they result in serious physical injury, but if you’re wondering why an elegant swan dive feels better for your body than falling stomach-first into the water, you can learn the laws of physics that turn your soft torso a tender pink by watching the SciShow’s video below.

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