I meant to write about this (foul language in entertainment) many months ago. But as each week’s deadline dawned, other matters usually popped up to reduce the topic to relative unimportance. But I’ve been paying particular attention to it since this past mid to late December.
For the record, I’m an avid supporter of the 1st Amendment’s free speech protections, no matter who’s doing the speaking/writing, whether or not I agree with the language used, and whether or not I agree with the message.
One of the often unstated costs of living under a Democracy is the fact that we have to tolerate a lot of pure crap in order to enjoy our OWN freedoms. So as long as the speaker isn’t breaking any laws (yelling fire in crowded halls, etc.) and the writer isn’t divulging national security secrets, let it rip!
And as far as language is concerned, in my opinion, it’s neither bad nor good of its own accord.
Reduced to its lowest common denominator, speech is nothing more than words expressed in relative context. The words used may be appropriate or grossly inappropriate relative to their timing and audience; but in isolation, they’re neither good nor bad.
I enjoy good stand-up comedy. I’m not going to list the ones I consider great, good, bad, or terrible because it’s only my opinion, which is important ONLY to me. Just the same, mileages are sure to vary on topic
Some stand-up comics, though, present routines that have long marinated in the combined linguistic sauces of profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity. And while it’s not typical to any specific race, color, or creed, I’ve spent the past few months or so following one act in particular.
This man’s act first hit my radar one evening as I was channel surfing late at night for something worth watching on TV. I stopped momentarily on—I believe—Comedy Central.
A stand-up comic was pacing back and forth across the stage holding a microphone close to his mouth. I couldn’t understand most of what he was saying because for every fifteen or so words that he spoke, about ten of them were bleeped out by the censors.
I stuck with him for about another two minutes until the station broke for its usual hemorrhage of at least 18-commercials. I had never seen him before; but Comedy Central’s program blurb told me his name: Katt Williams.
I still channel surf late at night whenever I can’t get to sleep. As well, I still come across reruns of his Comedy Central routine; but I don’t waste any of my time lingering.
I did manage to watch a video of his live, uncensored stand-up routine, though. A comic has to be REALLY off-the-wall before the Comedy Central censors hit that bleep button. Katt Williams. WOW!
It isn’t that his topical material isn’t fertile ground for hilarity; it is. It’s the landslide of profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity with which he delivers the funny stuff that—at least in MY opinion—removes “funny” from his routine.
Profanity is speech that singularly or in combination disrespects God, religion, and/or other beings… living or dead. Obscenity typically involves some sex act; but it may also include profanity. Vulgarity is most often associated with bodily functions, but usually includes both profanity and obscenity.
If I were searching for stand-up comics who project themselves top-notch linguistic cripples while simultaneously defining themselves as colossal assholes extraordinaire, Katt Williams wouldn’t just be the model; he’d be the very MOLD.
Without a doubt, he’s my undisputed champion when it comes to combining all three (profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity) into stand-up routines. Others have tried, but they fail by comparison to Mr. Williams.
And taking into account his behavior as depicted over myriad news and entertainment sources, his offstage behavior isn’t any better.
Since this past mid-December he’s been arrested or has had various arrest warrants issued on his behalf for child endangerment, various gun violations, and illicit drugs in his home.
And over the past couple of weeks alone, he’s been arrested on both felony and misdemeanor assault charges against other people, including leading police officers on a wild motor cycle chase.
The criminal charges are just that: charges. He’s innocent until proven otherwise. But it does not bode well for him or his career. I wish him the best.
I think the man has tremendous inborn comedic talent but needs to filter his language to keep things situationally appropriate. Others do it quite well and they are very funny.
But until he does this—at least from my perspective, he’ll continue projecting himself as a diminutive specimen of a man who’s self-justifiably beset by repressed feelings of emotional and intellectual inferiority.
In short, he strikes me as a monumentally frightening manifestation of uncontrolled profanity, obscenity, and vulgarity all neatly wrapped up into an unsophisticated, stupid little wimp of alleged manhood.
Other than this, I like the guy!