I've found that there are three kinds of people who dislike profanity. There are
those who only find it distasteful when used at inappropriate times - in mixed
company, professional settings, etc. Then there are those who find
all of it distasteful. It makes them uncomfortable and they try to avoid it. I
even know one woman who blacks every word out of the books she sees.Then there are others who like saying how much they dislike it so that they
can feel morally superior to others. They tend to be the ones who are the most
vocal about it and want to demean others for using it. They are also the ones
who use words like frick, fudge, dang, crap, use "ignorant" as a verb
and can't pronounce the the word ornery. Profanity is like any other
word - you personally decided how much power to give it. Some of the best
coaches I had growing up used profanity. So did some of the most important books
and most impactful films. One man's profanity is another man's art.
I consider myself a bit of an art-lover.
LasVegasPam:Sure, just because SWK said it, right?I'd
say it this way:"Prophecy is the attempt of a feeble mind to
express itself forcefully."
Great article. My wife and I LOVE clean comedy; so unfortunate that it comes in
such limited supply. We've already watched both Brian Regan spots carried by
Netflix, and we'll likely re-watch them just as we have Seinfeld.
I loved Johnny Carson because he could be risqué without being vulgar.
Jay Leno started off pretty good, but his humor has since degenerated into crass
words and vulgarity. I liked Drew Cary for a while, but saw him on a cable show
where his language turned the air blue. I've avoided him every since.You don't have to lower yourself to the lowest common denominator in order to
make people laugh. Those who laugh at off-color jokes are usually laughing out
of embarrassment rather than the wit of the comedian.
What I know is that lately we have had a hard time finding comedy, standup or
not, that is watchable because of the profanity and vulgarity. My husband is
pretty good at ignoring the profanity and even he can't watch it anymore. It's
very annoying when you really want is to sit down with a good comedy show on
netflix and relax but there is nothing, even there, clean.
This is in the style of the great comedians as Lucy Ball, and Carol Burnett.
Once upon a time..... the only great comedians were the ones who told clean
jokes, Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Bill Cosby,Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, George
Burns, Milton Berle, and the list goes on and on, all clean and presentable for
radio and television. I agree that while crass jokes can be funny, clean humor
is the sign of true talent, as anyone can make crass jokes, amateurs do so all
There are plenty of "clean" comics (Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Cosby, Bob
Newhart) who are hysterical and a lot of "dirty" comics (George
Carlin, Patton Oswalt, Chris Rock) who are brilliantly funny. The idea that
people who "bad" language because they can't express themselves any
other way is just a lazy stereotype. That said, there's nothing more irritating
than someone who uses vulgar language just for some sad attempt at shock
value.Clean, dirty, I don't care. Just make me laugh.
RockOn - I saw George Carlin once on The Tonight Show, maybe back in the 70's,
and he was hilarious. Then I saw him on an HBO show doing pretty much the exact
same jokes, this time liberally peppered with profanity. And not only was he
not a bit funnier for saying those words, I'd venture to say he wasn't as funny,
because I knew how unnecessary the filth was. One clean comedian no
one has mentioned is the great Red Skelton. He was maybe one of the funniest
ever, and a wonderful person, who never would resort to even the suggestion of
off-color humor. Another contemporary comedian everyone should
check out is a guy named Heywood Banks. His shows are very family-friendly and
he sings silly songs like If I Had a Bulldozer, Looking At The World Through
Flies' Eyes", Fishin' Worms, and others that are funny for adults and
children both. Youtube his song Toast and you will see a good example of his
Re:LValfre - I often am guilty of observing people out in public, how they
interact with one another. I notice exact consistencies with those who choose
not to use profanity in there normal communication versus those who DO use
profanity. Night and Day my friend. I could be wrong, but if someone were to go
into a job interview dropping the F-bomb everywhere, versus a person who used
actual words in their interview...I could 99.9% guess who was getting the job.
That's definitely NOT ignorance. Those who like profanity...Great, have it.
Those who don't...also get to enjoy laughter in their life. Win, win.
Cmon people.It is not an either/or situation.We are all
different. We like different things. We like different cars and houses.There is not a right and wrong comedy. Watch what you like.And, FYI, what YOU dont like is NOT necessarily garbage.
When I think of Kathy Griffin, for example, what comes to mind is
"obscene" "vulgar" "crude" and "eviscerates
those with whom she disagrees". Some call this comedy and will actually
pay to listen to it. Thank you Jenna Kim Jones for offering us an option within
the world of comedy.
Don't get too condescending. Comedians can work clean or not. Some of us are
just capable of dealing with it either way.
Hey Mormoncowboy: Here's something I repeat that HAS been thought through.
Spencer W. Kimball: "Profanity is the attempt of a feeble mind to express
Those of you that think comedy cannot be clean and funny are obviously too young
to have ever heard Bill Cosby or Bill Dana or any number of comedians from the
60s who did not need to stoop to foul language to get a laugh.There
will always be a market for good comedy, especially thoughtful routines that use
good clean ideas for good clean fun.Most of the foul-mouthed
comedians started out doing very funny and very clean routines. They changed
their acts simply to stay popular. Blowing with the wind may keep you popular
but that is about all.
I'd like to see more cowboy poetry on TV.
Terranova---I was about to suggest that website or maybe a youtube channel. I
hope they read these comments and get to work. I like to laugh, but I don't like
It sounds like the aforementioned comedians have already made the decision about
"Zion or Babylon" and have succeeded. More power to them. I don't
stay on a station or buy a ticket to something that is going to be embarrassing.
Therefore, it is in the interest of any of the comedians to clean it up so
those of us who feel that way will stay for the whole show. Stay 'adorable'
Jen. I for one have found that foul entertainment is not entertainment. It is
disgusting, unacceptable and is turned off immediately. That usually means I am
watching less and less tv, going to fewer movies and actually doing some
worthwhile things in place of listening to a non-stop recitation of filth. Soon
perhaps, I can just take the tv to DI.
I duh thought duh that clean humor duh would speak duh duh duh for itself. Go to
the crap shows and the supposed comic says one of the list naughty words and
people laugh. Did you find all my "duhs" annoying? Funny? Speaks to
your mental acumen if you thought they were funny.Some
"adult" humor is VERY funny. But humor with constant crap words is low
humor and shows the witless nature of the speaker. Carlin was too much some
times, but he knew language and how to use it. Brilliant in so many routines.
But, even geniuses go over the top and lose out on their humor. It's nearly
impossible to watch "Def Comedy Jam" as the supposed funny guys are
quite boring. And Lisa Lamplightinthebelly has mostly "shock" going
for her. Glad to see some "clean" folks. But, I won't
laugh because it's clean. I'll laugh because it is funny. Jason
Hewlett is terrific. So is Brian Reagan. Lots of others. They don't lower
themselves to dullard humor. No duh!!! (cue the fools to laugh... I just used a
Bill Cosby clean? Jerry Seinfeld clean?You people have never seen
their live stuff. Not "clean" at all.LDS comedians find
success... Rally? Never heard of this woman. How "successful" can they
Brian Regan is an example of how clean comedians can make it BIG!
Comedians can be clean and funny as well as clean and NOT funny. Just like
dirty comedy can be funny but also VERY unfunny. There are no guarantees either
way. I saw Ryan Hamilton in a very expensive comedy club in New York
where he was performing with four other comedians. Three were funny. Two were
not. Ryan was clean and every bit as hilarious as the other two funny
comedians. And that's not just based on my own personal tastes. That is based
on the reaction from the entire audience. The two unfunny comedians just flat
out weren't funny no matter how dirty or low they decided to stoop. Hardly
anyone was laughing and everyone looked uncomfortable. Recently, I saw
a profile of Chris Rock on CBS Sunday Morning. The interviewer asked him about
his reputation of being edgy. He commented that while it worked for him but he
advised young comedians to go into the clean comedy because that is where the
money is. "You think I have a big house? Ray Romano has an even bigger
I used to love "Saturday Night Live." From the early days, up
through, oh, maybe Chris Farley. They'd occasionally inject some crudeness, but
mostly it was original and inventive... like nothing before.Since
then, it seems that the "comedy writers" have drifted away, and more
and more they go for the shock value or groan value. I can't even watch any
more.There will always be a demand for comedy that you can enjoy
with your momma.RECOMMENDATION: "Woody Allen: Standup
Comic" Recorded in the mid-60s, before he went to Hollywood. Nothing
lurid... and you'll laugh 'til you cry.
Without a doubt a comedian can be clean and funny.Just look at Bill
Cosby.NOBODY is funnier than his stuff when he was in his prime.
I was friends with Ryan Hamilton back when he was just getting started on being
a comedian. I love the fact that it is over ten years later and he is still
just as clean and funny, and still managing to make it in comedy.
So people who swear are the least creative things out there? LOL!!!! Well said
Christoph, you are brilliant in your ignorance.
"Filth is boring and dull and narrow; get into a clean environment and the
creativity is endless. Filth is the least creative thing out there. Same with
people who swear---there are more than 10 words in our vocabulary."I get why people don't like "filth"...but comments such as
those above fall into the category of "things we say that we haven't
Filth is boring and dull and narrow; get into a clean environment and the
creativity is endless. Filth is the least creative thing out there. Same
with people who swear---there are more than 10 words in our vocabulary.
I really hope this gal and the other clean comedians succeed. I appreciate good,
clean humor and really enjoy Brian Regan's comedy. I've seen him perform live
and own a few of his DVDs and CDs. He succeeds by drawing his audience in and
talking about life and laughing at himself.I think Dennis Miller is
quite funny and clever on TV. But I made the mistake of buying some of his DVDs
for my spouse as a gift. Had to quit watching after 2 minutes because of filthy
language. Too bad they can't rate comedians/routines PG, PG-13, R, etc. Would've
saved me $.
@Kami,"It takes a simple mind to need to hear vulgarity to
laugh."That's not true. Quite the generalization there.
Back in the day, we had Redd Foxx come over to Germany to perform and ticket
prices were high but sold out fast. A friend of mine went to it knowing what to
expect. It was not even half way over when over half the audience had left due
to his crude language. I found it strange that even though people expected it,
it was too much and way over the top. Too many people think that if there isn't
any cussing, then it isn't funny and will laugh just because there is some foul
language.Kind of akin to thinking that you cannot have fun without
Is it easier to remember a clean joke, or a dirty one?
I love clean comedy. It takes a simple mind to need to hear vulgarity to laugh.
Of course you can be clean and funny. Just look at Sinbad. He has been
hysterically funny, over the years. Although, the latest footage I saw of him
wasn't so clean, and he didn't need to put it in his routine. Just be what you
are and it will succeed the test of time.
Great job...This is a great article and I appreciate the insight.
I'm torn because I love a good stand-up routine, but even I generally end up
turning off about half way through because of the overt vulgarity. At the same
time, the so-called "clean comedy" is about as lame as anything I've
heard. Not because it's "clean", but because most of the people in
this category just aren't all that funny. I would prefer to hear a comedian who
is funny, who also happens to not use vulgar language constantly. However, the
minute they start advertising as "clean comedy", the funny factor
diminishes drastically. So, for me it's a catch-22.
Good Story. Keep it up!
@speed66,"I admire those who paid the price: Lenny Bruce,
George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Steve Hicks, Henny Youngman, Eddie Murphy, Robin
Williams...all contributed to their craft."I agree with you!
These are real comedy legends. Many comedians now follow principles set forth
by these pioneers, and I'm not talking about what kind of language is used but
how things are presented in comedic ways.
@terra nova - Thanks for the tip.@will7370 - ...now that's funny. This article speaks volumes about the character of the The Daily
Show.I agree with the idea that funny doesn't have to be crude.
George Burns was very funny and I can't remember him ever uttering a word of
profanity. Bob Hope, Bill Cosby, Henny Youngman, Steve Martin, Jerry Seinfeld,
John Pinnette, Steven Wright. This is not a religious issue as much as a style
issue. I don't use profanity in my public life but don't have an issue with
anyone else using it. At the same time, I celebrate the fact that the only
place where 100% pure free-speech is protected is a comedy club or the stage
where a comic performs.I admire those who paid the price: Lenny
Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Steve Hicks, Henny Youngman, Eddie Murphy,
Robin Williams...all contributed to their craft.Lenny Bruce and
George Carlin were both arrested for words they said...can you believe that?
Consider their transgressions compared to today's talking heads - Beck, Rush,
Hannity, Olberman - all whom would have been considered treasonous somewhere
else. I love our country - where freedom is more important than taste.
Kudos to Jenna Kim Jones!
Bill Cosby managed a lifetime of genuine funny humor, that's still funny every
time you listen to it, without resorting to seventh grade boys' locker room
humor and words you wouldn't want your mother to hear you say. I'd put him up
against any of the ones listed by "LValfre." The Smothers Brothers
managed it too. There's a lot more to humor than being able to talk about body
parts and spewing off four letter words in front of an audience; a fact that is
lost on a lot of comedians today, and why they won't be remembered and revered
for making us laugh.
will7370 ,I think LDS comedians will be able to survive for a time.But, If you want clean, Christian comedy, Clean Comedians has all the best
Christian comedians for your entertaining needs. From comedians to magicians to
jugglers and other variety acts, Clean Comedians provides the best in Christian
entertainment. In a church setting it is important to have clean,
appropriate entertainment for your attendees. Christian entertaining requires
not only non-offensive acts, but also stimulating and relevant shows. Our
Christian entertainers know how to relate to Christian audiences and how to
deliver an experience that keeps the group focused and relaxed.
Clean comedy can be funny but it's not as funny as crude comedy can be. Dave
Chapelle, George Carlin, Kat Williamz ... these guys are truly funny. Jeff
Foxworthy ... he's alright.
Another guy with a clean comedy act Jason Hewlett. We booked him for a
corporate event and had a great evening. Someone ought to start a web-site
featuring clean comics.
I love comedy, ever since the days my Dad would bring home reel-to-reel tapes of
Bob Hope and Bill Cosby from USO shows on aircraft carriers. But this art form
has denigrated itself into the basest of all. Jones is to be commended for
sticking to her principles. You don't have to be filthy to be funny. How many
times have my kids cracked me up without a single ___ or ___?I have
stopped watching Last Comic standing, because after the first couple of rounds,
you can't understand a word of it, through all the beep-beep-beep-beep.You notice that almost all special guests on talk shows are music acts? I
think it's time comedy made a comeback and took back that stage.
I think LDS comedians will be able to survive for a time, but eventually Babylon
and Zion will separate so much that they will eventually have to make a final
decision. I believe scripture says the day will come when there will be a
complete separation of the wicked from the righteous.
Let's get these clean comedians on a DVD so we can laugh at really clean funny
stuff. There is so much trash in the media who dares even watch stand up comedy
these days. For now I just stick with BYU sports. Go Cougars!
I've said for years that a comedian/comedienne that can't make people laugh
without being crass isn't really all that talented. It's easy to make people
laugh with a crude joke. It's NOT easy to make people laugh with a clean joke.
Jerry Seinfeld has the clean joke market, he has tapped into it and is a winner.
He TRULY has talent.Gary Mule Deer is another---we saw him perform
on a cruise ship and I was so impressed with his humor! I told him afterward
that I was glad he kept it clean and that to me it is a true sign of talent!