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tv   The History of Comedy  CNN  February 9, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PST

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circuit of appeals. "cnn tonight with don lemon" starts at 11:00 p.m. eastern, a han 4 sfr. now "the history of comedy" starts. it's amazing there was a time when what you said could get you locked up in the prison. >> i accrued a reputation for buying irref rent. >> i cuss gratuitiously. but subject is another story. >> are there any subjects not appropriate? people say a good comedian doesn't have to cuss. i say it's [ bleep ] rubbish. >> what you're about to hear will zbuflt you. >> you have to do it right. dirty for the sake of dirty.
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nothing worse than that. >> on the show tonight. ♪ ♪ listen i won't be cussing tonight. just sos you know. no i will. don't [ bleep ] me. >> allowing an artist to use the word [ bleep ] is not allowing a guitarist to use the chord e. it's possible to play the instrument but why the [ bleep ] would you bother. >> don't wave your finger at me, you knew when you got here
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there'd be cussing. >> last thing comedy needs it to be polite. world wasn't changed by anyone being well-mannered or quiet. >> there's exhilaration in pushing the boundaries. >> i have memory of being three and would shower with my mother. mom got her water from the showerhead. that water would then cascade down her ample boss om and pike off her '70s jew bush, that was my water. >> i was raised by parents who spoke explicitly. there's something about growing up not knowing that talking about your vagina or penises was taboo. >> if you haven't done it before, ladies go home and treat yourself. do it tonight. give your man a little push push
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in the tush, give him atari. >> whole comedy career told to be less dirty and get more work if i toned it down a little bit. it's crazy like a high brow publication like the new yorker would be interested in interviewing me about why i find it funny to butt finger a man. >> i don't think there's any subject that's off limits. other day a guy told me to suck a bag of [ bleep ]. that's interesting. total stranger told me to suck a bag of [ bleep ]. a whole bag of them. >> what we consider offensive or blue evolves with every generation. >> with vaudeville, first time, comedy becomes an industry. >> poor father, he died of throat troubles.
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they hung him. >> vaudeville is created commercially to clean up humor. there's no cursing, there's no blasphemy, why? they want men, women and children to be able to come there. want a bigger audience. ♪ >> vaudevillian did something on stage that was objectionable, send a blue envelope backstage with the material they wanted excised from their act. that became the idea of the phrase blue material. >> say good night. >> good night. >> vaudeville comedy was accessible to all but concurrently another style of comedy that was different. burlesque houses like going to strip club. guys with trench coats to watch girls. different styles of comedy,
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different people performing within them. >> i see you lying there, my anger is arouses. i pull out my dirk. >> now we're getting to the point. >> because the primary attraction was scantily clad ladies, in order to compete for attention a comedian had to do something to upstage a naked woman so do dirtyish comedy. >> a magician. >> what does she do? >> one trick that's amazing, mystifying. takes a rubber ball, bounces it up and down and stands with her legs like this. when the little ball bounces up and down, it disappears. >> what are you bragging about? my wife does the same thing with a basketball. >> sure? >> she does it the hard way. she's knock kneed. >> vaudeville is clean,
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burlesque is dirty. burlesque audience is all male. not going to burlesque to see the comic but to see the boobs. >> the dean martin celebrity roast coming from the mgm grand hotel. >> dean, liked you to know that i canceled a proctologist appointment to be here tonight. and i think i made a mistake. >> so in the late '60s and 1970s would televise friar's club roasts but sanitized versions of what you would actually see the friar's club. >> there's a lot of reasons why we should honor this man tonight. first of all italian, i love italian people. never forget, who said to me in
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brooklyn on a saturday night. >> the televises roasts that dean martin did were always so funny and fun to see. but something about the private friar's club behind closed doors stag roasts, the fact they were these huge stars like jack bernie and milton berle, the public had only heard on tv or on the radio be squeaky clean, suddenly see another side of it. >> eight years and like most performers, asked thousands of acquaintances, thousands of people that he knows. but he's also one of the people who has close friends. i would like to say that i'm one. don't want to speak for don but i'm one of his close friends. that's important to don because queers need friends. >> the vaudeville style and
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burlesque tradition came together at the friars club. >> it's good when an artist can express themselves in a way that may not be acceptable outside that temple of free speech. people say there's a time and place for that kind of comedy, that's the time and place, the roast. >> i'll remember this evening probably as long as it takes me to get to my car. (vo) data plans aren't one size fits all. and since most people use less than 5 gigs, the last thing you want is to end up paying for data you don't use. now verizon introduces the one plan that's right for you. switch, and for just $55 get 5 gigs on america's best network. that's the right amount of data at a great price. plus, get our best moto droids for $15 a month or less. finally, all the data you need,
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that's why he went to jared. of a trip to athens, greece. you accidentally booked a flight to athens, georgia. with travelocity, there's no fee to cancel or rebook most flights within 24 hours. travelocity® wander wisely™ ladies and gentlemen, here is a very shocking comedian, the most shocking comedian of our time, a young man who is skyrocketing to fame, lenny bruce. >> you might be interested in how i became offensive. >> at that time there were laws on the book around obscenity.
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you couldn't say [ bleep ]. you couldn't say [ bleep ]. you couldn't say [ bleep ]. i mean can you imagine that? >> i would like to perhaps give you a four letter word. that starts with s and ends with a t. first time on television, not going to look at you when i say this because this way i can't get busted, you don't know who said it. the band said it. starts with s and ends with t and word is is not. >> lenny bruce saw himself as social critic. part of that was challenging our language and why certain words were taboo. >> the jew has no concept that there's a dirty word graph. in other words f -- is worth 90 points and s -- is 90 points. >> if you listen to my father's
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routines, you will hear a quote/unquote obscenity, the so-called curse words or blue material. he did not use them for shock value, they had a purpose, a reason, leading to a point. >> and there's a difference between a big piece of art with [ bleep ] in the middle, big piece of art with a little art in the middle. you don't understand. >> if he was just playing small joint and wasn't a household name nobody would have bothered him but popularity started to grow and became a force and something of influence. started to question authority and started to step on toes. >> christ to moses, look at earth, obviously the book is bombing down there. gideons shoved in motel drawers.
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fly to new york. what is playing in st. pat's? good double bill, spelman and sheen. relating love and giving and forgive tons the people and christ would be confused because the route took them through spanish harlem and wondering what 40 puerto ricans living in one roof and guy with this expensive watch. >> what about trampling on religions? >> i discuss religions, many points of view. i'm interested, searching for an answer, as billy graham is. >> at this time priests and people of the cloth, you bowed to them. people get very angry because now talking about religion, belief system. you play with somebody's belief system and their religion, now you got a problem. and they got the powers that be crazy. shut him up, you've got to
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silence him. >> someone saw lenny bruce in club in chicago making jokes about the pope or something, and two detectives went on stage because of that remark and handcuffed him in front of the audience and took him away. you can't even imagine that today. >> they found it was obscene enough to put me in a jail cell for the last 24 hours. thing i wish they would do is tell me what words were obscene? >> in court a cop is reciting what he thinks my father is talking about. when my father had the microphone doing this, he was imitating priest doing holy water in the pews. cops wrote down it looked like he was pretending masturbation. it got fierce, really fierce. >> there were funny great comedians and blue but they chose him to make some
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ridiculous point. they took away his first amendment rights. it was horrible moment. >> the reason i got arrested, i picked on the wrong god. if i would have picked on the god whose replica is the whoopee cushion store, tiki god, would have been cool but picked on the western god, the kennedy god. that's how i screwed up. >> no matter how many times he would get arrested, dragged off the stage, no matter how many times he had to go to court, my father believed that he had the right to free speech. my dad went from making $150,000 a year to being registered as a pauper. we had no money. all the money and everything went on lawyers. the way that he was beaten down and beaten down and beaten down,
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coupled with his drug use is what killed him. >> lenny really took the blows. he was the martyr, cleared the way for the new openness which was happening in all sorts of media in the '60s, but took guys like lenny bruce to push the boundaries and go to jail for it. >> there's not one piece of comedy being down today that didn't come out of something lenny bruce said, really. he was like the big bang. >> did he take the hit for all of us? yeah i imagine he did. thank god for lenny bruce. >> let's see, what's nice to follow a good heavy morose thing like that? a commercial. yeah. for adults with advanced non-small cell lung cancer,
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carlin trying to be arrested with lenny bruce to be able to ride in the paddy wagon with him. >> they're going to bust lenny, they're going to bust me. gives me goosebumps just thinking about that. >> and lenny bruce said, how did you get in here? and he said well i refused to cooperate with the police and lenny bruce said, what are you? a schmuck? >> carlin came up as traditional short hair stand-up comic, self-getting ed sullivan gigs. >> here is comedian comedy star george carlin. >> hippy dippy weather man. tonight's forecast, dark. >> at first wanted to have success. he got that success and felt that he was getting that success
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in a way that didn't speak to his heart. >> i used to be this guy or maybe this guy used to be me, i don't know, we were each other at one time. wasn't long ago. i liked him. he was funny, had fun with him, did nice things for me. but there was nothing behind you, you know, kind of just superficial, just surface. all characters. i found out i wasn't in my own act. >> guy who picks up from lenny is george, who goes right after the taboos again, constantly picking and picking. >> and irish priests heavily into penance and punishment, couple of know novenaso do, stations of the cross, trip to lourd's. wow. that was one of the things that bothered me about my religion was the conflict between pain and pleasure because they were
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always pushing for pain and you were always pulling for pleasure, you know. >> george carlin was a word smith. each of his routines memorized poetry, spent a year practicing the routines. every word there for a reason, nothing by accident. >> trouble is i wanted a list. here are these words i'm not supposed to say. let's have a look at them. i'll be glad to avoid them if i know what they are, you have to say them to know what they are, [ bleep ], oh, [ bleep ]. >> george carlin even more than lenny bruce before him had fun with vulgarity and that drove people crazy. >> i kept finding more ways to describe dirty words than there were dirty words. dirty bad, filthy, foul, vile,
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vulgar, off-color, blue, in poor choice, suggestive, cursing, cussing, swearing, profanity, obscenity, all i could think of was [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> as you watch the bit, he initially gets shock laugh, then he begins inserting these vulgarities into very normal comfortable musical almost lyrical language to show you how rid li ridiculous it is. >> [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> great way it start an orchestra. >> i got carlin records and i remember my dad listening to it with me. he was english major. anything with word play and
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language he was always into it. despite language he would let me hear it. >> united states supreme court has ruled that government can act against broadcasters who present offensive material. upheld reprimand of a radio station that broadcast a record of george carlin. >> wbai played a cut from "filthy words" from earlier routine of "serch words you can never say oon television" in the midafternoon about contemporary language and attitudes. fcc took issue based on complaint from listener in automobile with his son and claimed it was indecent and invasion to his privacy and son shouldn't be subjected to that. >> seven words you couldn't say
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on television didn't exist before george carlin. it instantly goes into the court record and fcc and everybody pretends those were the actual words. he created the battle fought against him. >> federal commission said wbai was wrong in playing the record but fcc imposed no punishment immediately and supreme court agreed. >> i was raised in time when using bad language was associated with people of low intelligence. he helped break that. no such thing as bad words but bad intentions. that was freedom. >> as soon as it's desensitized it's normal, then it's not offensive. then it's not offensive, not afraid of it anymore. everything george carlin said was him looking at world going
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grow up, grow up, grow up. >> [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] and tits. adds fart, turd and twat. and there are other words many of you are wondering about, why not considered or shown up on the list thus far. looking closely. some of your favorites might make the list later this year. [ bleep ], snatch, box, [ bleep ], joint, dork, poontang, cornhole and dingleberry. baa baa black sheep,
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until red fox came along in 1956, nobody had recorded stand-up act and released it as album. redd foxx is distinguished because he invented the genre of stand-up comedy records. >> everybody in my town,
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preacher's wife had the biggest ass in town. i know because i rode her ass sometimes. sometimes so sweaty slid right off. >> making explicitly sexual records or off-color records sold in african-american communities. everybody i knew growing up. listened to by african-americans but unknown. >> put the record on when its dull and wait. >> are they naughty? >> yes. >> there's a new bikini bathing suit coming out this summer. it's two band-aids and a cork. all right, two corks. >> my parents had the redd foxx dirty jokes record in the house
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and put it on after i went to bed, like it was porn or something. >> hygiene, the toughest thing in the world to turn to your mate one night and say, you've got to wash your ass. knowing how difficult it is, i said it for you in this album. you've got to wash your ass. >> when you went to the record store, you often had to ask for these albums because they wouldn't be out that you could just pick them up out of the bin, often hidden or in a certain part of the story you needed assistance from people in the store because they were thought to be too scandalous. >> i've heard several of them and it's a miracle you can select lines from them to do on television. >> they were underground to mainstream society. didn't know anything about it and didn't want any part of it
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at that point. >> ain't no way to get ambulance in the ghetto unless you call up, there's five n -- killing a white woman. why you want to [ bleep ] with me man? somebody get this n -- off me. what? i didn't know was blind. >> i don't know how to feel about the title of your album but i find it difficult to say. >> most white people, it's hard to say crazy. title is that n igg er is crazy. >> you can just say that and talk about it but if i said it, wouldn't you get mad? >> i'd punch you out. >> richard pryor was influenced by redd foxx but brought some of the sensibility to the mainstream. guy developing new provocative racial material suddenly break
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through to mainstream audience was a big moment. >> lot of people here might be offended. should leave now. i'm going to say [ bleep ] and [ bleep ] and [ bleep ] and doodoo. >> pryor used profanity in a way that exceeded lenny bruce and the comics before him. he made the use of those terms seem to be part of everyday life and made the people listening to the comedy except the people saying them, be realistically who they were. this is the way the people really talked, changed low comedy into high art in a way no one had done before. >> i remember the mother [ bleep ], he could make a mother [ bleep ] laugh on a funeral on sunday christmas day. >> it was about making sure he told the truth. he said it on several occasions, that's what he was trying to do. >> my dad would always say, if only you knew lenny bruce, i
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didn't understand that until much later. i think because for my dad that was kind of the beginning of speaking truth to power they say, politically and consciously. >> also like to thank the cameramen done a wonderful job of getting rid of the black cameraman. >> lenny lit that fire and my dad and carlin took it this way and it never stopped. >> richard is a rawest mother [ bleep ], he made me want to do comedy. wanted to be richard so bad go out on stage when i was 15 and do everything like richard pryor. mother watching 15-year-old on stage. all about taking the [ bleep ], because that's all i had done. >> i think every a
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african-american comic -- >> come over to the united states because new york is a tourist place and get hbo and catch "deleerious" and can't say it because of the curses. have foreigners walking up to me all the time. [ bleep ], you suck my [ bleep ]. you black mother [ bleep ]. >> i saw eddie murphys "raw" and "delirious" when i was in second grade and you knew he was nasty and not supposed to say those words and it was hilarious. >> watch the "bill cosby show"? love it. he called me up and chastised me for being too dirty.
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pissed. so mad, i called richard pryor, richard, bill cosby said i was too dirty. do the people laugh? yes. tell bill i said have a coke and a mismile and shut the [ bleep up. get 4 lines of unlimited lte data for 40 bucks each. all unlimited. all in! switch to t-mobile today. today's the day! oh look! creepy gloves for my feet. see when i was a kid there was a handle. and a face. this is nice. and does it come in a california king? getting roid rage. hemorrhoid. these are the worst, right? i'm gonna buy them. boom. i'll take them. impulse buy. ommmmmmmmmmm. with the blue cash everyday card from american express you get cash back on purchases. it's all happening. with no annual fee. here we go! it's more than cash back. it's backed by the service and security of american express.
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my imitation of dolly pardon. dolly pardon's mother. dolly pardon's brother. you're making fun of the brother of a celebrity's testicles. >> i have birth control pill and diaphragm and iud. i don't know what happened with my iud. never came out. but i have my suspicions because that picks up hbo. >> watch showtime, get the [ bleep ] out of my face. >> as guys like pryor and carlin came along and shocked you and were scatological and talked about sex, as each new comedian came along, less and less
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barriers to break through, try to reach further and further to to something to shock the audience. >> sam kinson embodies the '80s era of comedy, people doing characters that were extensions of himself. on stage he was the character as opposed to the man. >> ever been married? what's your name? michael? michael if you ever think about getting married, think you met the right woman and want to settle down and change your life, do me a favor mike. remember this face. ahhh! >> it was the expression of the heartbroken man, we hold a lot of stuff in because we're civilized people trying to do the right thing but there's a lot that goes on emotionally we can't express and have that monster put it out like that,
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great, it's relief valve. >> sam didn't care if the audience hated him and would bait them. challenge them to leave if they didn't like that. and when you don't care, that's frequently when you get the best results. >> very seldom someone comes along who is unusually different and creative and presents something that's unusual. right. and money from last week? >> sam kinissen took comedy to the extreme in shouting, language and tab subjects he went after. >> i read the paper, they said that a group of homosexual necrofe necrophiliacs have been going around mortuaries, offering them money to come spend time undisturbed with the freshest male corpses. corpses because i know the guys
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laying out on slabs, i know life cut up, hard to live up to. faced death and glad i went through it and now ready to spend eternity in heaven and be with jesus. ♪ rock of ages >> hey what is this [ bleep ]? i don't believe this, there's a guy's [ bleep ] in my ass. >> sitting there going, what's this? that moment, boy that was funny. >> month laughing matter, what critics are saying about some routines passed off as comedy these days, lot of it on television. cutting edge of social satire or adult expression of what some children write on sidewalks? >> muppet sat on a tufet, eating
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a curds and whae, sat down beside, whoa, what's the bowl [ bleep ]. >> his dirty was controversial. >> i really don't understand why women go to hear dice clay. to me it's like, a jew going to hitler rally. >> i treat my goifr girlfriend good. for christmas bought her this beautiful dust pan. took it out, ought to see the look on her [ bleep ] face. >> the guy is a chauvinistic moron. i wouldn't hang out with him if he meant those things, even as die, because would be saying
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he's deranged. but as comedian it's funny and doesn't hurt anybody. >> to be outrageous and bad boy and breaking the rules is extremely lucrative and pandering. there's a lot of comedy done under the guise of being the edge which it isn't because it's connecting with the basest audience. >> i found through great effort one remark of his i could say on the air. he describes his sexual technique as i quote, so i say to the bitch, lose the bra or i cut you. is that funny? >> asking many he to defend andrew dice clay, the way you just said it, it's not funny. but the fact for me what he does is a character and when he's up there and on stage, it's
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comedian. >> how are you? >> who is dice, who is andrew clay, who is the jewish kid, the guy acting italian? you want to know who he is, i'll tell you. andrew clay came out here about ten years ago and broke his ass, you know what i mean? broke his ass, believed in hisself, became the hottest comic in the world and anybody who doesn't like it can wipe their ass with whatever they say about me. >> that wasn't dice that broke town, that was andrew, the backlash was so strong it got past dice character and got to andrew, made him feel bad for what was being said. >> did it celebrate a certain type of thinking that probably
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doesn't need more celebrating? maybe. but did it make it look stupid and moronic as well? yes. >> thanks. you're great. see you soon. good night. afoot and light-hearted i take to the open road. healthy, free, the world before me, the long brown path before me leading wherever i choose. the east and the west are mine. the north and the south are mine. all seems beautiful to me. bp engineers use robotic ultrasound technology, so they can detect and repair corrosion before it ever becomes a problem. because safety is never being satisfied.
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there's no worse life available to a human than being a caught child molester, and yet they still do it. which from -- you can only really surmise that it must be really good. from their point of view. not ours but their point of view. >> off limits is not a permanent address. it's just a marker that keeps getting moved. couldn't say pregnant on tv when lucille ball was pregnant on "i love lucy," anybody who says it's off limits, enjoy next ten minutes, it's not going to last. >> thing that's too sensitive to make fun of at this moment. transgender people. see? can't do it. can't make fun of them.
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it's too sensitive. in fact, you can't even call them chicks with [ bleep ] anymore. no. no. you have to call them men who talk too much. >> there's been so many dirty jokes so you can't do cliched [ bleep ] joke that everybody has heard before, cliche big pussy joke. got to do something fresh and new that nobody's talked about. >> most women don't let husband watch while they go through a miscarriage. i sat my husband down while i sat on the toilet and i said you look. he watched whole thing. he felt so bad for me. i used it as leverage and used that [ bleep ] over him for like a month. did whatever i wanted to do for 30 days.
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took me to see beyonce. let me buy a bike off craigslist, that's my miscarriage bike thank you very much. finally everything i wanted. >> there's filth i adore but if it's all you have, you shouldn't be here. >> girls grow up so fast. it's like they don't have childhoods anymore. sexualized so early. a girlfriend of mine has a little baby girl and i babysat her. i changed her diaper, totally shaved. six months old. >> it's always just about busting things that are taboo. unless you're brave enough to lose people, then why are you doing this? >> some people start off with
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friendly material and build up to the intense stuff later on. i like to walk out and do the most offensive joke first in the hope that people who are going to walk away in 40 minutes walk out now and we can actually enjoy ourselves. >> bill cosby. it turns out that bill cosby is a rapist. i know, i always used to watch him on the telly as kid and think to myself, i bet he doesn't rape. hey. i've been wrong before and i'll be wrong again. >> a comedian by the nature of what he is is a trouble maker, iconoclast, playful trouble maker but a trouble maker, therefore he must recognize the existence of certain taboos. >> free speech involves getting free speech back at you. rape joke is good example.
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it's [ bleep ], you shouldn't have made that joke, harshing first amendment rights. no i'm not. it's my first amendment rights to call you a [ bleep ] when you're a [ bleep ]. that joke sucked. free speech mother [ bleep ]. >> there's more freedom now than ever before. and reason is because of redd foxx, richard pryor and george carlin who martyred themselves in the '60s and got in trouble saying innocuous things. we owe them a lot of credit. >> you mad about that one? it's going to get so much [ bleep ] worse. >> anybody who talks graphically, we owe lenny bruce. that was done for us by him. we all know how to work clean. i say [ bleep ] too much, there's no doubt. but i can. >> you remember before we leave, the actual seven words?
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>> god. jeez. i had them memorized. wasn't prepared to do it right now. >> weird. i never committed them to memory. >> i don't want to say them now. people may be watching. >> tits [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] tits. did i miss one? >> the problem is i don't think words are dirty. it's hard to remember what the [ bleep ] they are. [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> missing one. what [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. of course. >> are you serious lewis? [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> [ bleep ] penis, vagina, pussy. >> i was right
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[ bleep ]. [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ]. >> [ bleep ] [ ble ] [ bleep ]. >> tits [ bleep ] [ bleep ] [ bleep ] moer [ bleep ] oh, my god. our breck news on cnn, a huge setback for the trump white house, president losing a major decision tonight hon on his travel ban but that's not the end of it. "cnn tonight," i'm don lemon. federal appeals court rules 3-0 against the trump administration. people from seven banned countries can now travel to the u.s. despite the executive order last month. fight likely to go to the supreme court. president tweeting see you in court, security of the nation is at stake. plus kellyanne conway is


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