Mormon comedians find success staying clean in an industry that isn't

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  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2011 11:23 a.m.

    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.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 26, 2011 10:27 a.m.


    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."

  • jdcray Richmond, VA
    Aug. 26, 2011 8:06 a.m.

    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.

  • Monsieur le prof Sandy, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:23 p.m.

    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.

  • annewandering oakley, idaho
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:31 p.m.

    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.

  • donquixote84721 Cedar City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:14 p.m.

    This is in the style of the great comedians as Lucy Ball, and Carol Burnett.

  • ms Draper, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 6:58 p.m.

    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 the time.

  • KJB1 Eugene, OR
    Aug. 25, 2011 6:39 p.m.

    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.

  • Mel50 Nashville, TN
    Aug. 25, 2011 6:38 p.m.

    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 humor.

  • CTguy30 Colchester, CT
    Aug. 25, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    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.

  • JoeBlow Miami Area, Fl
    Aug. 25, 2011 5:24 p.m.

    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.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Aug. 25, 2011 5:09 p.m.

    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.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 5:04 p.m.

    Don't get too condescending. Comedians can work clean or not. Some of us are just capable of dealing with it either way.

  • Lasvegaspam Henderson, NV
    Aug. 25, 2011 4:51 p.m.

    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 itself forcefully."

  • CA. reader Rocklin, CA
    Aug. 25, 2011 4:12 p.m.

    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.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 25, 2011 4:06 p.m.

    I'd like to see more cowboy poetry on TV.

  • friedeggonAZstreets Glendale, AZ
    Aug. 25, 2011 3:46 p.m.

    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 obscenity.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 25, 2011 3:31 p.m.

    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.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    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 bad word).

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 3:10 p.m.

    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 be?

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 3:03 p.m.

    Brian Regan is an example of how clean comedians can make it BIG!

  • hamletfan8 Bentonville, AR
    Aug. 25, 2011 2:00 p.m.

    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 house."

  • bikeboy Boise, ID
    Aug. 25, 2011 1:23 p.m.

    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.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    Aug. 25, 2011 1:12 p.m.

    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.

  • krislost Sterling, VA
    Aug. 25, 2011 1:04 p.m.

    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.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 25, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    So people who swear are the least creative things out there? LOL!!!! Well said Christoph, you are brilliant in your ignorance.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 25, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    "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 thought through".

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    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.

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    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 $.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:50 a.m.


    "It takes a simple mind to need to hear vulgarity to laugh."

    That's not true. Quite the generalization there.

  • defibman Syracuse, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    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 alcohol.

  • aghast SYRACUSE, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:45 a.m.

    Is it easier to remember a clean joke, or a dirty one?

  • Kami Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    I love clean comedy. It takes a simple mind to need to hear vulgarity to laugh.

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    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.

  • just-a-fan Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 10:26 a.m.

    Great job...This is a great article and I appreciate the insight.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    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.

  • Red Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:26 a.m.

    Good Story. Keep it up!

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:20 a.m.


    "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.

  • speed66 Heber City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 9:05 a.m.

    @terra nova - Thanks for the tip.
    @will7370 - 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.

  • DodgerDoug Salem, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    Kudos to Jenna Kim Jones!

  • RSD Pepperell, MA
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:39 a.m.

    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.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    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.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    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.

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:16 a.m.

    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.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    Aug. 25, 2011 8:01 a.m.

    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.

  • will7370 LOGAN, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 7:51 a.m.

    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.

  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Aug. 25, 2011 7:37 a.m.

    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!

  • Spikey Layton, UT
    Aug. 25, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    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!