03 Apr What is Blue Comedy?
It is common to hear going blue in some comedic references. Most people new to comedy don’t know what is blue comedy, but they’ve surely encountered some form of it. Blue comedy or blue humor is about comic material which is considered as more “adult” and it includes anything like foul language, swearing and scatological (toilet) or sexual humor. Quite different than the material used by the comics at cleancomedians.com . By “working blue” we refer to using vulgar language or touching on topics that are considered as “taboo” or “dirty” in a comedian’s act.
Coming out of comedy clubs, a lot of blue humor is nowadays common on satellite radio and cable TV as well. Comic hosts rarely involve blue comedy on various network talk television shows such as “The Tonight Show, due to the network standards. Also, there are a lot of comics that never involve “working blue” and they keep all the acts appropriate and clean suitable for all ages.
ORIGINS OF THE BLUE COMEDY
Blue comedy is also known as ribaldry which means erotic humor according to Old English. This can often range from bordering on the indelicacy, indecency or gross morality. Blue comedy is also commonly referred as “bawdy” or “bawdiness”.
In foibles sex is a fun topic and weakness manifesting them in the human sexuality, instead of presenting sexual stimulation either artistically or excitingly. Ribaldry uses sex as the metaphor for illustrating anything non-sexual making it closer for satire in this regard.
THE JOURNEY FROM UNDERGROUND TO MAINSTREAM
Around mid-1900s in America, comedians using blue humor in stand-up performances were thought as indecent and obscene for consumption of public. The famous arrest of comedian Lenny Bruce in New York City took place after performing off-color set at the Manhattan comedy club in the year 1964. Even through 1970s, acts such as Redd Foxx were for toning it down when they were mainstream comedians on TV.
In 1970s and much earlier in the 80s off-colored humor had a comeback in mainstream with the success of comic performers like Andrew Dice Clay and Peter Cook. For instance, Clay was a comedian who was quite famous for use of “blue” humor – which is much of the material, was about sex and also includes the use of adult language in reference of severity of social issues that affected the nation.
In the beginning of 21st century, a lot of stigma associated with blue humor dissipated, due to increasing use of course dialogue and profanity in popular culture. This was due to the subsequent and advent spread of internet as a communication and entertainment means.
VULGARITY IN MODERN CULTURE
After political correctness swept in the 1990s, American colloquial language went back towards the vulgar side. A lot of comedians then started using blue humor as normality. Still acts such as Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverman effortlessly mixed vulgarity in their comic acts. It was in their general rhetoric, through toilet and shock humor for emphasizing social disparities such as the economic divide and its correctness.
Although, others tried blue humor a lot for escaping their former image. The same case is with actor-turned-comedian Bob Saget who co-starred in the family drama “Full House” and later was known as “America’s Favorite TV Dad.” This was shortly after ending of the TV show, later Saget started comedy tour with lewd humor, which included sex jokes now-adult but former kid co-stars, Olsen twins.
TV shows such as “Beavis and Butthead” and “Ren and Stimpy” from early 90s influenced a lot of gross humor for making adults and kids laugh. Since then, the television got more crude and vulgar in animated adult comedies (such as “South Park”) and also primetime cartoons such as “Family Guy” with TV-14 rating.