I have been playing a very naughty game on Twitter, entitled “change love to knob songs”. So far I have come up with such gems as All you need is Knob (The Beatles), A Million Knobsongs (Take That), You can’t hurry knob (The Supremes), All the knob in the world (Dionne Warwick), and so on and so forth.*
Midway through said jape, I was further amused to discover that there is a group on FaceBook entitled Substitute the word ‘wand’ in Harry Potter for ‘willy’.
Totally inappropriate, unashamedly purile and utterly hilarious. Those who have known me for many years won’t be too surprised. I know I should know much better.
This propensity for bawdy humour probably doesn’t bode too well does it? I often wonder about my propensity to be something of a liability. The quote of the evening goes to DH who commented “I don’t think that the bishop is going to be too impressed if he finds out that my wife likes to say ‘knob’ on the internet”. Sometimes it feels like I’m living in a particularly surreal 21st century version of Terry & June.
Still some of the greatest writers in the English language exhibited a taste for bawdiness and vulgarity. Chaucer and Shakespeare spring to mind. Ben Elton and Richard Curtis aren’t averse to a knob-gag or two, and yet their artistic and moral integrity remain intact.
What I can’t fathom out is whether or not it falls into the category of flippancy, which CS Lewis warns about in his Screwtape Letters? I don’t think so, in that bawdy humour isn’t laughter for the sheer sake of mockery, with no actual humour at work. It doesn’t contain personal derision, although it isn’t perhaps the most intelligent form of humour. I’d like to think that A Million Knobsongs is what Lewis might term a ‘joke proper’ as it is the play on words, the surreal idea of someone singing about the amount of songs devoted to the male genatalia in an attempt to woo, that delights, amuses and entertains. Besides which, the word ‘knob’ is funny as is the idea that there might be literally a million songs about a knob. The double-entendre which allows silly, smuttily ambigous sentences to be constructed, is a rich seam of comic potential, and for someone who enjoys word-play as much as I do, a natural source of mirth. I do concede however, that substituting one word with a rude one, is the type of thing that a 6 year old child might delight in as opposed to an allegedly intelligent and sophisticated person.
Perhaps this is a purely British phenomenon. For me, Up Pompeii, remains unsurpassed in the annals of British comedy. Still, I console myself with the Wikki thought that the acceptance of saucy and smutty humour is a”historical reaction to the intolerance of Puritanism”. I must admit, I hadn’t ever considered the possibility of a theological connection to our humour, although Monty Python married the two beautifully in ‘The Life of Brian’.
And thus I end the post on a classic note. Titter ye not.
* Since original post, it has been pointed out to me that I omitted How Deep is your Knob – The Beegees. Sincerest apologies.