Language and humor [Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005, 5:27 pm]
I came across an interesting quote in Joe Franklin's "Great entertainment trivia game," concering the use of profanity in humor:
"People often ask me what I think about the all-too-common use of profanity in today's comedy acts. I really believe that the curse world has become the crutch of the lazy comic . . . too many comics have resorted to cursing as a way of either stretching a short routine to run longer or getting quick laughs based more on shock than on legitimate cleverness."
I agree. And it's not just a problem in comedy, unfortunately. Whether it be movie scripts, literature, or music, I don't understand why the constant repetition of certain words are supposed to make something funny. What's so original about using the exact same obscene words that the other dirty comics have been using for a long time? I think there's a reason why the greatest comedians in history weren't known for being obscene - they were original instead.
I remember an interesting communications class when the professor talked about the links between obscene language and physical violence. He said that people at the lower end of the vocabulary scale (criminals, uneducated, etc.) are often the most likely to resort to physical violence because they're frustrated that they are unable to express themselves the way they want to in words. Even these people realize that beginning every noun, verb, and adjective with the letter f doesn't work. Obviously there are many other factors that link language and "status," but that was one I had never considered before.
Vitality - Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2009