2009-05-12

"Seven Dirty Words"

Stand-up comedian George Carlin loved to play with language, or rather the way that words and expressions reverberate and richochet. Skits sometimes included rhyme -- something not intrinsically funny, but he used rhythm and rhyme to gather a certain momentum through the course of a story. His skits exhibited a sense of balance and symmetry of form and length. As the Writer's Almanac noted on May 12, 2009:

. . . he was the first person to host Saturday Night Live. He had a famous "Seven Dirty Words" routine in the 1970s. He would say, "There are 400,000 words in the English language, and there are seven of them you can't say on television. What a ratio that is: 399,993 to seven. They must really be bad." And then he would list all seven.

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