Freud has pointed out in his works that smut humor is usually aimed towards women. It is aggressive and hostile at times. There are four main reasons as to which why these jokes often get laughs. First they are made to entertain an audience and second to induce greater group cohesion. The third is the joke maker wants to show his interest in women by making these advances through jokes and last it is told either to embarrass or put down the opposite sex. (Hostility and Aggression) The male protagonists’ often uses female characters as the butt of their sexual jokes. Larry David, Woody Allen and Seth Rogan have all been known to do this repeatedly. According to Freud, humor is the most social of all mental functions that aim at a yield of pleasure. Freud also said that “Smut is the intentional bringing into prominence of sexual facts and relations by speech” (Freud 115). Smut is always directed to a particular person by the person that is telling the joke. Most likely because they are sexually attracted to them. By men making these jokes to the women they are supposed to know that the men are attracted to them then want to be with them. It is supposed to sexually excite the woman but it had to opposite effect when told by Woody, Seth and Larry. Their jokes always end by blowing up in their faces and creating the opposite effect with the women but it makes the audience laugh. The men in this case stroke their egos by receiving laughter and praises after their sexual jokes towards women.
Larry David is widely known for being the creator of Seinfeld. He then started his own television show “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and has said a number of times that it was based on his real life and his relationships with his friends. There is one episode that really stuck out in my mind as smut humor. The main character Larry ran into his best friend, Jeff‘s, ex girlfriend. She said that she broke up with him because he had “a extremely small penis” when Larry went to make fun of Jeff he came back and said that the woman had “ a very large vagina”. They continued to make fun of her and made silly hand gestures to get a laugh. Larry went back to the woman and proceeded to make fun of her and make these inappropriate hand jesters to her. He embarrassed her, left her speechless and took his friends side not knowing the truth. The men got a good laugh at the woman’s expense and she had to continuously defend herself. I have to admit when I saw this episode I did laugh
quite a bit, Larry’s genius writing and smut humor gets constant laughs in the show. Sexual humor jokes make people laugh because they might feel uncomfortable and awkward. This is true in most cases because most of the humor is ridiculously biased. The show contains making the episode even more outrageous Larry lost his cell phone at his friends house and in the end we find out that the woman stole his cell phone and hid it in her vagina. In another episode on Larry’s show he shows no remorse when telling his wife’s friend that she has a big ass and “would know that ass anywhere.” He defends his conduct to the end because he believes his arrogant conduct is right. He is never one to back down from a fight and will never admit when he is wrong, which he is most of the time. He will do whatever is necessary to prove that he is right and continues to tell his wife’s friend how big her ass is.
Seth Rogen is notoriously known for making and starring in movies with smut humor. One of his movies, Mall Cop, was extremely degrading and so crud that I walked out of it in the middle because I could not handle it anymore. In the movie Knocked Up Seth Rogen plays an aloof character who has no job and no money. The slacker gets a girl pregnant after a one night stand and throughout the movie you see numerous scenes with smut humor. One scene that stood out to me that had many sexual innuendos was when Seth and his roommates plan to make a Mr. Skin like website by showing nude women in scenes from famous movies. The main characters are an odd pairing, a successful career driven woman and a slacker weed smoking man together. The audience finds humor that a man such as him would get an attractive successful woman. Seth takes jabs at the female characters to make himself look better throughout the movie. After the movie was released Katherine Heigl told Vanity Fair that Knocked Up is "a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys. … I had a hard time with it, on some days. I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy?" (O'Rourke). After she made this statement the men in the movie, especially Seth, were outraged. They went on attack mode against her and the media slammed her for not thinking the movie was humorous. Days later she retracted her statement because of all the backlash and said “This was one of the best filming experiences of my life.” I was disappointed when she took back her statement. She did not stand by her beliefs. She took back her comments about standing up for women who were the butt of jokes in the movie. The film treated women and men very differently and the audience could see the clear distinction. The women’s roles were seen as functional and not playful and humorous like the men were portrayed.
The Woody Allen movie that stood out to me that had sexual innuendos was Anne Hall. One line in the movie that popped out at me was when he said “ Don’t knock Masturbation. It is with someone I love.” This is just one of the many sexual jokes to make the audience laugh at his awkward character. Another quote that stood out for me in this movie was “I thought of that old joke: This guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, 'Doc, my brother's crazy, he thinks he's a chicken.' And the doctor says, 'Well why don't you turn him in?' and the guy says, 'I would, but I need the eggs.' Well, I guess that's pretty much now how I feel about relationships. They're totally irrational and crazy and absurd, but I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs.” This is an example of
two men going back and forth with each other with no social inhibitions. They don’t realize what they are saying to each other. Smut is only tolerated when characters don’t speak up for the harshness of the joke. So in this case the two male characters had a good laugh about degrading women and their roles.
All of these men have made their careers from making audiences laugh with their smut humor. Men find their humor more appealing because as Freud stated “ If a man in a company of men enjoys telling or listening to smut, is laughing as though he were the spectator of an act of sexual aggression” (Freud 115-116). Smut jokes in our society are only tolerated when it has the character of a joke. All three of these men are extremely funny and pull off smut humor well. To sum up smut humor I think that Freud said it perfectly “The technique of such jokes is often quite wretched, but they have immense success in provoking laughter” (Freud 121). These men believe that sexuality is prevalent on TV. It can be found even on the most "family" safe shows like Dancing with the Stars. It is everywhere today and they are trying to keep up with the generation. Freud said that a great deal of our activities are in some fashion motivated by sex. If you take a good hard look at our modern society, you will find that most advertising uses sexual images, that movies and television programs often don't sell well if they don't include some form of sexuality.
Larry David, Woody Allen and Seth Rogen are trying to make people laugh but they also what to make a lot of money from their work. They know that the way to make easy money is to give the audience what they want. Authors and producers will continue to use sexual jokes and innuendos to appeal to the audiences because that is what gets the most laughs.
Freud, Sigmund, and James Strachey. Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious. New
York: Norton, 1989. Print.
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