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Comedy and the F Word

Hats off to the Mormons. They've taken comedy to a cleaner level: Dry Bar Comedy. I've downloaded the app. I'll let you know soon how I liked it. If the comedians are half as funny as Ryan Hamilton, it'll be great.

The problem is, Ryan might not be considered "clean" by all people. He talks about smoking crack (not him, but a bum on the subway), drinking (not him, but everyone around him), and other topics that the censorious often don't want whispered, much less joked about. The people inclined to censor are too often the people without a robust sense of humor, the people who say "What about the children" every time they hear something they don't like. I'm guessing the app creators, though, have a robust sense of humor so they'll allow such things as long as the comedian isn't endorsing it.

I, regrettably, often find humor in a well-placed obscenity, but our language has been saturated with it to the point of obsolescence.

Back in the 1950s and Lenny Bruce, the "F word" resonated by itself, just for the shock value. As culture "progressed," it was funny when slipped in to emphasize a point. By about the 1990s, it needed to be used cleverly in order to be funny (as one friend of mine put it, "When I use the F-word, it's a work of art"). Today, it has lost all resonance in and of itself. It can still invoke laughter when used with other words, but by itself? Rarely, if ever, can it be funny . . . gerund or adjective, whispered or yelled.

Obscenity is the language of the semi-literate. That doesn't mean the highly literate don't use it (ten pound dumbbells are used by weaklings, but strong men can lift them, too). It just means any idiot can use it. It doesn't make it good or bad; it just makes it boring, which is where obscenity now resides thanks to sheer over-usage.