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Ex-Journey Singer Steve Perry Denies Sarah Silverman's Claims About Racial Slur

March 18, 2010 11:02 AM ET

In an interview with Playboy set to hit newsstands tomorrow, comedian Sarah Silverman responds to questions about her provocative brand of humor by telling a story about how "the onetime lead singer of a very popular band from the 1980s" came up to her after a show and said, "You're my favorite comedian. You have the best nigger jokes." Silverman didn't outright name Journey's Steve Perry, but she added, "I'll just say this: After that, I stopped believin'," a poke at the band's classic "Don't Stop Believin'."

Was she joking? In an interview with Rolling Stone yesterday, Perry took Silverman's accusation very seriously, adamantly denying he ever used "the n-word" after meeting her backstage at a comedy show. "I'm really shocked. She was so friendly and so nice," Perry tells RS. "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." Perry admits he met Silverman on a pair of occasions "a long time ago" after being "amazed at her ability to make people actually laugh at every racial slur and every ethnic group she could possibly come up with," but insists Silverman's recollection of their meeting is just another episode concocted by the controversial TV star for comedic effect.

Perry tells RS, "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 the accusation, Perry still marvels at Silverman's ability to walk the dangerous line of political correctness with her comedy. "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."

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Song Stories

“Don't Dream It's Over”

Crowded House | 1986

Early in the sessions for Crowded House's debut album, the band and producer Mitchell Froom were still feeling each other out, and at one point Froom substituted session musicians for the band's Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained.

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