A few weeks ago I spoke at a comedy symposium at U.C. Santa Barbara (along with other panelists the students had actually heard of). There was a good crowd, several hundred at least -- all the more impressive because the surf was really up that day. During one of the panels (not mine), they showed a clip from an ALL IN THE FAMILY episode from the early '70s. It's the famous scene where entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. finds himself in Archie Bunker's home.
The students were stunned. The scene deals with racial issues and prejudice. And some of the words uttered were absolutely shocking to them. The "N-Word" for one.
Today there is no way in hell you could do this scene. You probably couldn't discuss this topic much less say the words bandied about in this piece.
On the other hand, in the '70s even vague euphemisms for sexual body parts was strictly forbidden. You could say the N-Word, but you sure couldn't say the V-Word. Today, not only can you say vagina, you are required to say vagina at least five times an episode (six during sweeps).
So which era's brand of comedy is better? Which is funnier? Has more social value?
There is no real answer of course. It depends on your age and sensibilities. But to help you decide, here's an example of both. First, the Sammy Davis Jr. ALL IN THE FAMILY scene, and then a representative clip from 2 BROKE GIRLS.
Would love to hear your thoughts.