Obscenity as Comedy

Where are the clean comedians? On network TV, it was possible to see Milton Berle, Jackie Gleason, Sid Ceaser, Red Skelton, Bill Cosby, Jonathan Winters and others. No profanity, no sex jokes. The whole family could sit down and have a laugh in good conscience. Not anymore.

George Carlin decided to say all those dirty words you once couldn’t say on television. His material includes lots of sexual subjects, death can be fun and/or profitable, and violence is entertaining. Certain four letter words are used so often that some might think it’s OK to say them. It’s not.

Louis Black has said that he doesn’t believe there is any such thing as bad language. He also doesn’t understand why the use of profanity would upset Christians.

Whoopi Goldberg decided to play amateur theologian and explain to listeners of her “comedy” why the claim made in Leviticus in the Bible about homosexual acts is well, not right.

Chris Rock. Almost 'nuff said, but if you’ve never heard him, it’s mostly about sex. Very graphic.

Robin Williams and other “comedians” decided to pay a visit to New York Governor George Pataki not long ago. Why? To get a pardon for a comedian who was arrested and convicted on obscenity charges in the mid-1960s. His name was Lenny Bruce.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, it’s time to take note that crude, graphic and obscene propaganda masquerading as comedy is going on in this country. Female comedians are getting involved also, with equally crude and graphic sex jokes. One even made fun of a rape of a long dead relative.

Complain, politely and out of concern. All of these people are our neighbors, and we need to go to them and say, “Neighbor, why are you saying this? Why have you made a career out of this?” They can criticize the President and government all they want, but to triviliaze people’s lives, to glorify fornication and profanity and make it seem normal, those who live in proper fear of God need to stand up and say, “You’ve gone too far.” There is such a thing as right and wrong and this is wrong.

Love your neighbor as yourself,

A million years ago I caught Red Skelton’s act in Reno. He was the funniest comedian I’d ever seen, and clean as a whistle to boot! I still remember how wonderful his show was.
Sinbad was a class act - very funny, very clean as well.
Jay Leno used to be funny and clean. George Carlin also (believe it or not).
I guess “edgy” means being crude, which translates to big buck$. I’ve said it before - this is what qualifies as wit to the conscience-challenged, and the lazy.
Saw Steve Carrell’s film “Evan Almighty” yesterday. From the 5 year-old in our group to his 19 year-old sister, and various ages in between, all the way to us oldies - we laughed until we cried.
Money talks - seek out quality, and stop funding garbage.

It’s disturbing. My sister gave us tickets to see George Lopez last weekend (I wouldn’t pay $58 bucks a pop to see him!) and he’s very funny, but every other word seemed to be the “F” word. It was used as a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, you name it. That took a lot away from the show, if you ask me.

And have comedians always been so angry? When the shows were cleaner (as those listed in the OP), did the comedians seem to poke as much mean-spirited fun at others as they do now? We used to laugh at Jack Benny making fun of Jack Benny. Now it’s like comedian have to see who they can attack to get laughs (w/ George Lopez, it was President Bush, Arnold Schwarzneggar, and Paris Hilton).

Was it Don Rickles who first started insulting others for laughs? I never did find Don Rickles funny. And was it when “blue” language was allowed that the humor suddenly turned more vicious?

I have a hard time watching comedians any more. I used to like Bill Engvall and Jeff Foxworthy, but the “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” had to be turned off when they started talking about their parents’ and their own sex lives (I never did like Larry the Cable Guy or Ron White… except for Ron’s description of being seated next to a nervous passenger on a flight where the engines were going out: “Hey, man… if another engine goes, how far will we go?” “All the way to the crash site!”)

I would love to be able to do stand up comedy (some people I work with think I do :shrug: ) and be able to keep it clean. I’ll bet there is a market for it, even if no one pays $58 bucks to see it.

It was a gradual thing. In the 1990s, it became “OK” to use the b word on TV. NYPD Blue really took off with profanity and even regular books began using expletives that were not used before. No one got a memo, it just happened. And yeah, Bob Goldwaith with his slightly mental sounding comedy, the heavy-set guy who almost screamed into the microphone, and “shock jocks” who insulted everyone (except strippers and hookers). Don Rickles was mean-spirited and I didn’t like him either.

A kinder, gentler culture was gradually replaced with a meaner, vulgar, loud and over-the-top culture. A shame. And I don’t like it.

God bless,

Just like the frog placed in a pot of cold water - the heat was turned up slowly and he got cooked.
All the garbage turning up now is no surprise to those who saw it coming years ago. One comment, one idea, one word at a time.
Cable TV? Sure, let’s have lots of choices! Satellite TV - Wow - now we have hundreds of choices. And look - they have Catholic channels, family channels, etc!
We have NO cable, satellite, etc. Videos are screened through decentfilms.com or usccb.org. Catholic programming can be watched or listened to on computer - which resides, despite all the articles to the contrary, in our kitchen.
Do our kids try to test the limits? You bet they do, but prayer, vigilance, and knowledge generally wins the day.
Our best man was an exemplary Catholic, or so he told us over and over. “PG stands for ‘Pure Garbage’”, he said when his kids were small. They would only watch quality G-rated shows. OK - fast forward only 4 years. His family came to visit, and I rented “Father of the Bride” with Spencer Tracy. Best man and family smirked and scowled all through it because "…it’s not as funny as the one with Steve Martin."
By the way, the frog-in-water analogy was his, too.

That’s exactly it. First, a little ("Oh, that’s not so bad.). Followed by a little more (“Oh, that’s a little bit more bad but not too bad.”) And on down the line.

A person can rarely go to dinner and a movie today. And like yourself, I have no satellite or cable and as long as this trend continues, never will.

God bless,

I’m sorry Ed. I disagree with your theory about this being a recent explosion of blue material. It is just more easily accessed now. The “blue” comedy was always there even with Bill Cosby and the like. Bill was a regular at the Playboy mansion even after he was married, so I would not hold him up as totally clean example. His material at that venue was nothing like his squeaky clean TV image.

The comedians from way back used to release the raunchy or blue material on “party records” many decades ago because it could not be broadcast. I remember adults talking about the latest party record from so and so and my folks inherited some old records of this type that are possibly older than any of us in this discussion. You could also hear blue material if you saw the people live in a club.

There have been all kinds of books with raunchy material (Fanny Hill) and bad language that may have been banned from public libraries many years ago, but they were definitely published and sold all over the world. People have even passed around “porn” images since well before the photographic era. “Gentlemen” used to collect and pass around hand drawn or painted erotica that the poor could not afford before the printing press and photos made them less expensive.

The bottom line is that we all have to exercise good judgment and not allow what we don’t want in our lives. There were nasty people in the Old Testament (remember how John the Baptist lost his head) and there always will things we don’t want to see or hear.

You want a clean comedian? Brian Regan. My favorite comedian. Squeaky clean. Funniest one I’ve heard. Everyone can listen to him and enjoy him.


yes…the old comedians…Red,Jack etc did make sly cracks but one had to be fairly well grown up to catch em.Bob Hope was kinda off color many times, but again he seemed more like a fresh kid who should get whupped. The so called comedians of today more and more do insult Americas basic concepts as well as Christianitys. Humor to be humor must hit all sides if not then its not humor but an agenda…Christianity is mocked constantly because it is Gods map to Heaven. The corporatons who run the show want us to believe earth is all so that we max out our credit cards buying their usless junk…a good post…trick is to always contact the sponsors of such filth on two legs telling them you wont buy their products…money is their gawd…

It’s not a theory. The gradual “pushing the envelope” on TV, in the movies and in so-called “popular literature” is well documented. Look up a copy of the book, The Cross and the Cinema. Whatever happened in the Playboy mansion stayed in the Playboy mansion and was not broadcast on TV. I know those party records you refer to and porn was generally sold behind the counter back then.

Oh yes, those words and images were out there, but they were kept out of the eyes and ears of the general population and were heavily restricted and looked down upon.

In the 1960s, a man would appear on television and say, “I represent the Standards and Practices Department of your television station. We watch the the programming you watch to make sure it is suitable for the entire family.” And there were words you couldn’t say and images you couldn’t show.

All Christians should be aware of that.

God bless,

You know who I think is funny? “I Love Lucy”…And in some respects that show was ahead of it’s time


The novel Fanny Hill didn’t use any obscenities or blue language (I had to read it for an English class). It was written in a very formal style, but the characters were doing all kinds of eyepopping acts.

I don’t get too upset over the occasional (VERY occasional) blue word (I draw the line at blasphemy) but comedians who constantly use it are, I think, trying to cover up their lack of originality.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.