It’s Two-Edged Sword Time Again

While we’re working away on a post about the not-at-all-surprising soft ride reviewers have been giving acts at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – and we’re also working on a Vale Woodley post that shouldn’t be far off either – it’d be remiss of us to ignore what is perhaps the funniest thing we’ve seen all year:

COMEDIANS have ventured into the last no-go zone of bad language, with many shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival featuring the C-word.

The liberal use of the offensive swear word has divided audiences and critics, prompting debate about its place in contemporary performance.

It is estimated up to a quarter of the 400 shows at this year’s festival use the C-word at least once, but there have been “very few complaints” to organisers.

Do we really have to tell you that this comes from The Herald-Sun? The media partner of this year’s MICF? The paper that ran “They Spat In The Face of Dying Children” on the front page while stoking the outrage about the Chaser’s “Make a Realistic Wish” sketch a few years ago (in case you were wondering: the Chaser did not literally spit in the face of dying children. The Herald-Sun ran a lie on their front page). Clearly their fear-mongering skills have dropped off a bit since then:

But parents have been caught off-guard by a potty-mouthed puppet who drops the C-bomb in the first 10 seconds of Sammy J and Randy’s performance.

Sammy J said the show had a recommended age of 15 and over at a venue where children needed adult supervision.

Geez Herald-Sun, everyone knows you get in at least one quote from an “appalled” or “disgusted” parent before you let the comedian mount a defense. More interestingly, there’s this:

Reviewers are divided over its relevance. Some said its use had been appropriate and a winner with audiences, while others said it was lazy, unnecessary and crude.

Aww, come on; name the reviewers who think using the C-word is “unnecessary”. Considering the C-word use has been going on on-stage – according to Justin Hamilton, and why wouldn’t he know – for “more than a decade”, we’d guess it’d be a reviewer new to the live comedy review gig, someone with a record of taking counter-intuitive views on review-related issues for the sake of gaining attention…

(okay, yes, we’re hinting that maybe it’s Jim Schembri. He didn’t quit covering film and television for The Age to be exposed to this filth!)

Seriously though, considering it seems to be the basis for the entire story, why not name these “reviewers” who are divided over a single word that’s been used in live comedy regularly for over a decade? Maybe because it would make them look out of touch and unqualified to be reviewing comedy in 2012? Though if some of the reviews that’ve seen print in the Melbourne papers are anything to go by, a reviewer’s qualifications are the least of anyone’s concerns…


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1 Comment

  • Viv Smythe says:

    I’m proud to lay claim to using the “c-word” as part of my basic 5-minute stand-up routine in the late-90s, although I’ve long since retired from the stand-up stage. This is hardly a new thing in comedy shows, and is typically far less in what can be heard in your average suburban pub on an average weekend night.

    It’s certainly a word that can be over-used in a hateful way, and lazily defended as “challenging taboos” when it’s really just playing on shock value for no larger point at all, but it’s still just a word. One wonders whether these unnamed reviewers grok the argument made by Tim Minchin’s Pope song or whether they simply melt (a la Wicked Witch of the West) in the face of a few “taboo” words?