I remember once — what seemed like a thousand years ago — I sat in the audience during a taping of Saturday Night Live. To give you an idea of how long ago it was, Eddie Murphy was the brand new talent on the show — not even host material at that point. We, the audience members, sat through the rehearsals as well as the live show and I distinctly recall an incident occurring, one that for some reason I would never forget.
Murphy was doing his ad-lib schtick and during his routine he said, “Oh God!” Immediately, the director stopped him to give him notes.
“Eddie, could you do that again please, but this time, don’t say the word God. We can’t say God like that, on TV.”
I hadn’t known that, but apparently at the time, that was protocol. Those were the days when television commercials didn’t slander other people’s products — by name — and you didn’t say the word God. At least not in comedy.
Words like ‘bitch’ were still highly charged secrets, and no one ever called anyone a bitch unless it was in a private setting and meant to deeply wound whomever was on the receiving end. The N word was even more taboo. Pop culture hadn’t yet discovered these words, and television — the media — had not yet found a way to exploit them. Those were the days where we still respected certain words and that respect not only taught us discretion — it allowed us to retain a certain dignity. Read more