Sarah Sherman Reveals Secret Origin of ‘Sarah Squirm’ Name

Sarah Sherman Reveals Secret Origin of ‘Sarah Squirm’ Name

When her name is shouted out during the opening credits of Saturday Night Live, Darrell Hammond still respectfully calls her “Sarah Sherman.” But to most comedy fans who saw her coming up in theaters and comedy clubs, there’s a more familiar nickname: Sarah Squirm. A stage name that some clever marketing genius thought up to sell her unique brand of body-horror humor? Hardly. The “Squirm” predates any professional comedy, dating all the way back to Sherman’s freshman year in high school.

Click right here to get the best of Cracked sent to your inbox.

“I was young, I had a freaky look, and I had scoliosis,” Sherman told Racket. “I was skinny like a string bean, and I had this big, curly Jewfro, and I wore crazy clothes and was, like, squealing all the time. I was doing improv in my basement, and all my friends on the improv team called me Squirmin’ Sherman because I was a sight to behold. That was truly my essence, and it evolved into doing gross-out performance art comedy. Definitely I’m still the same person I was in the basement in high school.”

All of that, er, squirmin’ seems like an unlikely recipe for a Saturday Night Live audition, but a killer set at the Just For Laughs comedy special earned her an audition for post-prime-time stardom. At first, Sherman wanted no part of it. “Auditioning makes me feel really bad,” she explained. “You’re doing comedy because you’re a reject, ya know? And then further rejection is scary to me, and auditioning has never gone well for me — I’d never fucking booked anything.”

Obviously, Sherman got over her apprehensions and auditioned. But it wasn’t easy. In fact, she was a squirming nervous wreck. But fellow auditioner James Austin Johnson helped her chill. “I was like, ‘I don’t want to do this, it’s going to make me feel bad, I’m not going to get this,’” she remembered. “And James was like, ‘What are you talking about dude? SNL is a live comedy show. You live for live comedy; don’t be stupid.’”

So Sherman decided not to be stupid, diving into her audition with Austin’s “good vibes” by strictly thinking of the tryout as a live comedy show. “I didn’t have any impressions or characters. It was disgusting, I’m talking about genitals,” she confessed. “People think you have to do stuff to get stuff, like doing five minutes of characters and this and this and this to get SNL. You don’t have to do anything. Be yourself, do whatever you want.”

Crazy clothes and disgusting genital talk did the trick. Both Sherman and Austin effing booked the gig. Which brings us back to the question — now that Sarah is on SNL, would she prefer to go by Sherman or Squirm?

“I legitimately don’t know,” she responded. “I get to clock into work as one thing, and then at night go crazy as Sarah Squirm. It’s funny to be Sarah Sherman in the sheets, Sarah Squirm in the streets.”

Scroll down for the next article


Forgot Password?