Blue Comedy

archie bunker

lenny bruce by jr williams

Blue comedy is comedy that is off-color, risqué, indecent or profane, largely about sex. It often contains profanity and/or sexual imagery that may shock and offend some audience members. ‘Working blue’ refers to the act of performing this type of material. A ‘blue comedian’ or ‘blue comic’ is a comedian who usually performs blue, or is known mainly for his or her blue material. Blue comedians often find it difficult to succeed in mainstream media.

Many comedians who are normally family-friendly might choose to work blue when off-camera or in an adult-oriented environment; Bob Saget exemplifies this dichotomy. A recording survives of one Masquers roast from the 1950s with Jack Benny, George Jessel, George Burns, and Art Linkletter all using highly risque material and, in some cases, obscenities. In the 1970s, CBS aired the ground-breaking sitcom ‘All in the Family,’ based on the British series ‘Till Death Us Do Part,’ which featured a ‘lovable’ bigot, Archie Bunker. The character’s dialogue usually contained racial prejudices and ethnic slurs, as well as derogatory comments against Jews, gays and women’s rights, but in a guise of blue humor against his own bigotry.

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