Foul-mouthed, obscene, vulgar, ribald and racy - these are just some of the (nicer) names that these R-rated comedians have been called. However, one thing’s for sure, these entertainers will make you laugh till you cry. Their jokes can range from the suggestive to the downright rude - so leave the kiddies at home, their shows are an adult affair. No subject is taboo and everything and everyone is fair game - from the politician caught with his pants down, to 90-year-old grandma Rose! Sex, drugs, fetishes, alcoholism, bodily functions - while these may seem coarse and crude, it truly takes a talented performer to make them seem funny, but not offensive (well, not totally offensive, anyway) Those who are easily offended may shy away from these acts, but these comedians can truly make telling dirty jokes an art, and if you can roll with the punches, then you can’t miss these hilariously naughty comedians:
Ribaldry, bawdiness, “blue comedy” - these are terms to imply that the type of entertainment is adult in nature, and has been around for a long times, though perhaps these days the term “mature” and “rated R comedy” is more appropriate. It has been present as far back as we know history - from works of ancient Greece, to Shakespeare and Chaucer, humans have been presenting the subject of human sexuality in various, non-pornographic (or sexually stimulating) forms, whether it’s in the form of entertainment or to make a social commentary. The term “blue” (whether comedy or films) for any sort of risque materials has no exact explanation, though some theorize that it was because back in the days, prostitutes who were in jail were dressed in blue uniforms.
Still today, performing mature material still carries some stigma, though most comedians revel in their rated R comedy reputation. Perhaps one of the most famous (or infamous) adult-oriented comedian is Andrew Dice Clay, who earned the reputation of “most vulgar comedian to walk on the planet” and has caused him to be banned from several radio and TV shows. Nora Dunn refused to appear on air with him when he hosted SNL and even Sinead O’Conner (yes, THAT Sinead O’Conner) boycotted the show, despite being invited as the musical guest. Of course, he was, in turn, influenced by the original vulgar funnyman Lenny Bruce. Bruce was famous, not so much for the sexual nature of his act, but that he left no stone unturned - religion, race, sexism, politics - everything was fair game and sure enough, Bruce was arrested for obscenity (among his other legal troubles) though he was posthumuosly pardoned.
In the tumultuous 60s and 70s, there was name associated with off-color comedy - George Carlin, who today is still best known for his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television" routine, which was, incidentally the same 7 words that got Lenny Bruce in trouble. After performing this routine, Carlin was arrested as well, but the case was later dismissed as the judge ruled that it was covered under free speech and the routine itself caused no disturbance or trouble.
Rated R comedy isn’t exclusive to men of course, and in some way, many audiences seem to accept ribald material when coming from a woman. Jackie “Moms” Mabely was one of the earliest and most successful female comedians back in the 50s and 60s, quite a feat for someone who was African-American and an openly-lesbian woman. She recorded over 20 comedy albums, and regularly appearing at the Apollo in Harlem, raking in over $10,000 per week. While many comedians of her day (both women AND men) stayed away from controversial topics, she tackled racism, war, sex, homosexuality through her on-stage persona. Another famous African-American comedian, Whoopi Goldberg citse Mabely as one of her biggest influences.
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