In my younger days (1960s-1970s) a well-timed F-bomb or a crude reference to a reproductive organ would have me rolling in the aisles. Lenny Bruce knocked ‘em dead in the clubs with that kind of material. Richard Pryor too. But nobody did it better than George Carlin. His (in)famous 7 Filthy Words You Can’t Say on TV was classic. So if I laughed then, why don’t I laugh today?
Is it because I’m older? Is it because I’ve turned into some kind of prude? Is it because I’ve completely lost my sense of humor? Well, sure. But I think there’s another reason too. Vulgarity simply isn’t funny anymore.
Humor is a lot like horror, my other vice. They both sneak up on you from behind. The difference is that humor hits you in the face with a banana cream pie while horror chews your neck off. In both cases, it's the "sneaking up" that makes it work. And F-bombs simply don't sneak today. Why? Because they've become commonplace. They’re no longer unexpected. They no longer shock. They've lost their punch--their edge.
Hang around a bunch of teens or twenties long enough and you'll know what I mean. It's "eff this" and "eff that." It's "eff" as a noun, adjective, verb, adverb and probably a gerund too, whatever the hell a gerund is. So how can it sneak up on you when it's in your face all the time? It's lost its meaning.
So I'm declaring vulgarity dead in humor as of today, and I have to say I won't miss its passing. If you do, I'm sorry, but you're simply going to have to deal with it. Move along. Shock me with something different. Maybe try innuendo for a change. Innuendo's a lot harder to do, but it's infinitely cleverer. And it makes me laugh.