SNL guest host David Spade used a Owen Wilson impersonation to sneak a penis nose past the censors. Aristophanes would approve. I’ve been thinking that if a FCC crackdown does happen, that we’d go back to more veiled allusions of sexuality in comedy like early film and television. And strangely enough this is an example of that. Nobody really noticed until a week after broadcast and there wasn’t a single complaint the night it happened. Sounds veiled to me, even if it was plain as the nose on Spade’s face.
Comedians hate standards and practices, but these censors are, in some ways, the best thing to happen to comedy. You need real human cruelty and stupidity to make great targets for jokes. And you need watchdogs so you aren’t just making the crudest joke you can think up. Having something or someone to resist against makes something funnier. It forces you to use innuendo, suggestion and wit to hit a target. As well as make-ups jobs apparently. The cat and mouse game of what you can and can’t say isn’t fun for comedians, not to mention tedious with the splitting of hairs (saying “ass” is just fine, but imply there’s a hole in it…). But the process as a whole is probably better for comedy. Standards that are too loose make nothing shocking. No shock = no surprise. No surprise = not funny.