The other night I was channel surfing and saw a comedian on Comedy Central named Katt Williams. His routine was so laced with expletives, you ended up hearing more bleeps from the censor than actual words. Every joke seemed to be about drugs or sex or how bad white people are. What first stood out to me was how unfunny, unclever, unoriginal, and stereotypical this man was. Now, I don't know too much about this person, and I have certainly seen plenty of other comics on television to which I have developed similar opinions. There was nothing special about Mr. Williams in this regard. However, the second thing that I noticed was how out of place this whole scene was. Mr. Williams was dressed in a very expensive suit, walking around on a very big stage in a very fancy auditorium, in front of a huge crowd. As they panned across the crowd from time to time, I could not help but notice how everyone seemed so well dressed, so erudite, like they put on their best for an evening at the opera. The crowd seemed to eat up everything Mr. Williams spewed. They were laughing so hard that more than one person had tears running down their faces. I guess what I was so surprised by was how mainstream foul language, bad taste, and derogatory racist diatribes have become. This wasn't Lenny Bruce in some small, smokey venue in Vegas. This was a very strongly promoted hour-long television special that came on in prime time.
I was really kind of blown away by all of this. Now I can assure you that I am no tee-totalling, uptight prude. However, I could never imagine going into public or standing in front of an audience and talking in that manner. I wonder what it says about us that this kind of television special is allowed on the air. Does this kind of "extreme" pull viewers in with its shock-inducing nature? Is this stuff funny? Is this necessary? Is this acceptable? The answers are yes, no, No, and NO!, respectively.
3 hours ago