Bathroom Humor in the News ------ Feedback Box:

Script of a feature of The Uncle Ed. Show #269, first aired May 23 & 27, 2000 AD

By Dave Leach

A radio station asked me what I think of their ad. They asked you, too, I suppose. They want us to call them or email them. Well, I thought I would just Uncle Ed Showed them.

The ad reads: "Too dangerous for the MTA?" (Metro Transit Authority) is the banner at the top. Below that is the ad which the radio station tried to buy to put on the city busses. The ad reads "If you don't listen to Pure Rock Lazer 103.3, your problem is obvious." Then it has this nice graphic of a contortionist with his head completely up inside his rear. As a nice secondary touch, the man's neck gives the illusion of the man's behind sticking out its tongue at you. Alongside this work of art is the story: "Lazer 103.3 purchased advertizing from the MTA to run this ad on Des Moines area buses. But when a few humorless citizens complained, the MTA pulled the ad campaign. We don't think the boards are offensive. We think they are funny. What do you think? Write to us or email us right away at lazercomments@lazer"

Here is what I think.

Sirs: Thank you for asking what I think about your ad. I am struck by your analysis of those who aren't amused by your ad. "Humorless", you call them.

My perspective would be that if you want to be funny, but you are disappointed that your audience isn't laughing, it is a tad aggressive to solve your disappointment by accusing your audience of being "humorless". That is probably not the approach that will succeed in putting them in the mood to laugh at your next attempt. However, I have known bureaucrats, and boot camp sergeants, who have employed that technique with considerable success. You may want to consider employment in those fields.

I think MTA executives had to choose between you calling them humorless, and the rest of the city calling them tasteless. What a hard decision that must have been.

I have been in groups which would have found your level of humor very funny. I was in Junior High. Later I was in Boot Camp. We also loved great jokes about minorities, fahrts, and sluts. Filthy language, and vulgarity in general, made us roar. It was like kids in church: we all knew it was wrong to laugh at it, so when we started laughing, it was the inappropriateness of the laughter itself which became funny. Had it not been for that, we might have noticed that our profanity was actually quite boring, there being such a small number of profane words available which we had to repeat over and over. We made fun of outsiders, turning the innocent into our victims, just like your ad ridicules anyone who doesn't appreciate your taste in music and disk jockeying. We didn't realize we were hurting anyone, until later, when we grew up.

In normal human relationships, by contrast, I sense little appreciation of bathroom humor.

I rank your ad with the filthy billboard by Infomax, showing a nerdy man making a photocopy of his bare behind, with the caption, "what you copy with it is your business". I have always marvelled that anyone, after seeing that ad campaign, would ever want to rent an Infomax copier. Wouldn't anyone wonder where it might have been?

I don't think your ad is inappropriate in the Des Moines Register, however, in whose pages your level is often reached. The Register loves to take those Younkers ads of women in their underwear. I wouldn't want to see one of those ads on a bus. It's bad enough in the Register, which decent people still have the right not to buy.

From an analytical perspective, genuine humor conveys truth. After analyzing the "truth" of your ad to the best of my poor powers, I really don't think you have a case for calling it "humor".

If you would like to continue this dialogue, I would be happy to have you as a guest on my show. However, I must warn you in advance, that I edit this show on my computer, and I use a software plugin called "Tide". Whenever you say a dirty word, it washes out your mouth with soap.



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