While perusing my google alerts this morning, this one particular headline grabbed my attention:
Edmonton Comedy Festival to 'keep it clean'
I couldn't resist clicking on it, Clean Comedy? It almost seems a juxtaposition, what is this? Some kind of Christian Comedy Festival? Laughs for the repressed?
What exactly does clean comedy mean? Where do you draw the line, when does a joke become 'dirty'?
The Artistic Director of the festival Andrew Grose believes that "if you need to rely on profanity to get the punch, you need to rewrite the joke". The article goes on to say that 'Just because you're not going to hear the F-word every second line doesn't mean these are all G-Rated events', the example Grose gives of a joke that is 'off-colour but still clean' is "Pedophiles aren't all bad. For example, they never speed through a school zone" (he did not credit the source of this joke).
Alright, so it's not so much a clean comedy festival as it is a "non-swear word comedy festival".
While I believe there are a lot of comics that do rely on the use of obscene language to get their laughs, the majority use profanity within the context of their jokes and their comedic style. I also understand that comedy doesn't have to be dirty to be funny (although I personally prefer it that way).
I'm unsure as to what the point of this 'no foul language' rule is. If you are going to let obscene content and what would widely be considered contraversial or offensive material through what's the point in making comics omit mere words from their sets?
Grose believe's that comics who use profanity are lazy. Granted this might be the case in some situations, but those kind of comics rarely get past the open mic scene.
When it comes down to it obscenities are just words.
Words have no weight without intention behind them.
Words mean very little without context.
Individual words only make up part of stand-up comedy and it's the way in which a comedian uses them that determines if they may or may not be dirty words and it goes on and on in circles.
While I can see where Grose is coming from with his concept of a clean (thus commercially viable) festival however I don't think you can apply clean when 'off colour' is still allowed. But thats just me.
The Edmonton Comedy Festival is on October 19 - 23