Silverman told Playboy, in an interview featured in its April 2010 issue, that after one of her shows, “the onetime lead singer of a very popular band from the 1980s” complimented her performance by saying, ‘You’re my favorite comedian. You have the best ni**er jokes.”
The comedian slyly hinted at which popular band she was talking about by adding, “I’ll just say this: After that I stopped believin.’”
Perry, who was the frontman for Journey from 1977-1987 and 1995-1998, handled lead vocals on the band’s 1981 hit “Don’t Stop Believin.’”
On Wednesday the singer spoke with Rolling Stone about Silverman’s accusations.
“I’m really shocked. She was so friendly and so nice,” Perry told the magazine. “I don’t understand why she would go there, it’s so bizarre. I don’t use that word, are you kidding? That’s so derogatory.”
He said he met the comedian “a long time ago” and had been “amazed at her ability to make people actually laugh at every racial slur and every ethnic group she could possibly come up with.”
Here’s what Perry says actually happened backstage:
“I walked up to her after the show and I said, ‘I can’t believe that somehow you seem to be getting away with all these slurs and the n-word, I just can’t believe how you’re doing this,’ and I looked at my friend and I said, ‘I can’t believe how she’s getting away with this,’ and she looked at me and kind of smiled. It wasn’t like I was condemning her or condoning her, it was just that I can’t believe how somehow creatively she was making everybody in that club of all colors and all ethnic backgrounds laugh. That’s what it was.”
Despite Silverman’s accusations, his interview with Rolling Stone wraps up with Perry still singing the comedian’s praises.
“You’ve gotta see her show because she uses every ethnic slur known to man that historically has been very unforgivable,” Perry says. “I’m Portuguese, that’s the only ethnic background she left out, but maybe after this article she’ll come after me now.”
So, whose side are you on? Do you believe that Perry is telling the truth and Silverman just twisted his words? Or did Silverman actually remember what the singer said word for word?
The April 2010 issue of Playboy hits newsstands today.
Click here for the Rolling Stone story.