Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Old People are Really Nasty and Raunchy
Okay, maybe that's a bit of a generalization. But that's the impression I got from watching the Comedy Central roast of William Shatner. I used to watch the TV show Golden Girls when I was a kid in the 80's, and Betty White was one of the stars. She played, the sweet, but gullible (read: stupid) Rose and really projected the persona of a nice, sweet old lady. Imagine my surprise watching Betty White roast William Shatner with the most vile racial and homosexual jokes, complete with language that would make Richard Pryor blush. Oddly, she delivered all her jokes in the same sweet, old lady voice and tone I remembered from the Golden Girls. It was absolutely hilarious (see a clip here; *WARNING* it's not for sensitive viewers).
And she wasn't the only senior citizen on this show with a foul mouth. Star Trek co-stars Nichelle Nichols and George Takei were equally raunchy and funny, not to mention the guest of honor William Shatner himself at the end.
A roast is definitely not for the easily offended or thin-skinned. The jokes pull no punches and the roasters seem to take perverse delight in outdoing each other in vileness offensiveness and profanity. The humor comes from their reveling in the vileness and the absurd extremes to which they push the material.
I expected the raunchyness from the younger comics at the roast, but watching Betty White casually join in the fun was a treat of perverse comedy. I guess when you get older and wiser, you're less concerned about how other people see you and more interested in just getting the most out the time you're given on this Earth.