History of Swear Words (2021) s01e04 Episode Script


[Sarah Silverman] When it's time to make
your voice heard, there's only one choice.
Only one strong enough and big enough
for our country's future.
Dick isn't afraid to go hard.
And where
others fall short, Dick goes long.
Dick gets it done.
[echoing] Dick is everywhere.
You can trust Dick,
because Dick is in all of us.
[man 1] I'm a Dick.
[man 2] I'm a Dick.
[woman 1] I'm a Dick.
[woman 2] I'm a Dick.
[child] I'm a huge Dick.
[group] We're all Dicks.
[Sarah Silverman] So when the time comes,
don't dick around.
Vote Dick.
I'm Nicolas Cage,
and I approve this message.
[cat meows]
And now we've come
to another fucking episode
in our compendium of cuss words.
And this one is unique.
It is the only one
that started out as a first name.
Nobody ever named
their firstborn "Shittered" or "Fucklyn."
"Excuse me. Excuse me. Fucklyn,
have you done your homework?"
"Shittered, inside voice, please."
Only "dick" holds this distinction.
It comes from a name.
And that name is Richard.
But why Richard?
Why not Jeffrey?
"Hey, you! Suck my jeff."
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it.
What about Daniel?
"Suck my dan" See? No.
Oh, I know. "Suck my nick."
"Hey, nickhead, eat a nick."
"Don't even think
about nicking me over, nickwad.
Yeah, you wish
you had B.N.E, Big Nick Energy."
I could get used to that.
But until I can make
"nick" happen, we're stuck with "dick."
A word that has had four different
meanings over the past 500 years.
But what is it
about this word that makes it so…
ubiquitous? [sighs]
- Dick.
- Big ol' dick!
Can you tell me a dick joke?
I used to suck dick for coke.
Now make yourself one, dick weed.
It reduces everybody to a 12-year-old.
Say "dick" or "pussy" and people…
"Dick" is funny. It's sort of the same
structure as the word "fuck."
"Dick" has great phonetics.
Just like a lot of other swear words.
"Dick" is short. It's punchy.
You dick!
"Dick" sounds exactly
like a swear word in English should sound.
You can almost make it multi-syllabic.
I would say my
my own use of the word "dick"…
intimate exchanges in
in the bedroom with my wife,
like, "Honey, are you interested in…
conducting business
tonight with this dick?"
"Hey, Megan, have…
you seen my dick lately?"
"You should check it out.
There's been some developments."
There's not that immediate, like,
taboo thing that happens
when you say "fuck" or "shit"
or "ass" or any of those other words.
Because "dick," like, you do have to have
that, like, moment of pause
where you're like,
"Okay, am I talking about
the… the body part?
Am I calling someone an asshole?
Or am I just referring to my Uncle Dick?"
"Pedicabo ego vos et irrumabo."
This is one
of my favorite lines of classical poetry
from one of ancient Rome's
most beautiful writers, Catullus.
It roughly translates to "I will butt-fuck
you and make you suck my dick."
"Dick" has been used in art
and literature for thousands of years.
So the use of
of the dick as a sexual tool
and words around the dick as a sexual tool
have always really been taboo.
[woman] When archaeologists
were excavating Pompeii,
they found the city awash with dicks,
in the graffiti, in the sculpture…
There were dicks everywhere.
So when the archaeologists
removed the dicks,
they put them in
what was called a secret museum,
or a secret cabinet.
Can you imagine a museum that's just
filled with all of these stolen dicks
that were chiseled off of statues?
I think it's beautiful that this museum,
like many households across America,
has a cabinet full of dicks, you know?
Personally, I have a
drawer next to the bed, not a cabinet.
A Ziploc bag full of dicks.
Not as classy as the museum's, probably.
But it's a pretty impressive collection.
We know for sure that "Dick"
started as a nickname for "Richard."
How "Richard" became a nickname
for "junk," is a little more obscure.
So the original naming of "Dick" was
it was a nickname for "Richard."
Like a lot of names in early England,
there was a lot of rhyming with nicknames.
[Nick Offerman] In the late 1500s,
we get all the English rhyming nicknames.
"Robert" becomes "Rob," then "Bob."
"Margaret" becomes "Meg," then "Peg."
And "Richard" becomes "Rick," then "Dick."
Every single person
called Dick is a white guy.
You will never meet
a Black guy called Dick.
Factual. Does not exist.
You lot can have that.
We can dance. [chuckles]
You lot get Dick.
And that's it. [laughs]
So it's a nickname for "Richard"
and then it became
used as just a term for "guy."
Like, "Any Tom, Dick and Harry."
Like, "Hey, guy," "Hey, dude."
It's like saying "dude."
Then it gains this interesting meaning.
It refers to a riding whip.
Uh, a riding crop.
And especially
the handle of a riding crop.
During the sexually-repressed,
tightly-corseted Victorian era,
people must've been clamoring
for things to call penises.
In theory, someone went,
"Riding crops,
oh, riding crops look like penises.
And we call riding crops 'dicks, '
so let's call penises 'dicks.'"
It's just too bad
they never called riding crops "nicks."
"Dick" is a word that really symbolizes
the strength
and the playfulness of the male genitalia.
My favorite word for penis is "dong,"
because it can almost be
like an onomatopoeia, you know?
Like, it suggests sound in a certain way,
sort of just like dong, dong.
- Willy.
- The Package.
My snake eye.
Flesh banana.
- Meat wand.
- Prick.
Skin flute.
Lightsaber. [chuckles]
- Tackle.
- The National Treasure.
- Your lunch box.
- Pud.
Peggy Sue.
- Tockleys.
- Gravy Spigot.
I believe that's all of them.
It only took
a decade or so for "Dick" to go from
the name of the kid you shot marbles with
to a double entendre that made us blush.
We've been able to track it changing
from a word that was a nickname,
that described someone named Richard,
and then acquiring this profane meaning
where it refers to the male member.
But it can also be, uh, just
a denigrating term for people in general.
It's kind of like "asshole."
And now no one
would call their baby boy "Dick,"
for fear of being misconstrued.
Very slowly,
this new meaning starts to take over
to the point where, by the 1960s or 1970s,
people aren't calling
themselves Dick anymore.
There are lots of Richards
and lots of Ricks.
But if you know a Dick, he's
probably in his seventies or eighties.
I don't think Dick will
ever go back to being a nickname.
It's hard for words, once they become a
swear word or have a negative association,
it's hard to go back.
In the '60s and '70s,
swearing norms were
being challenged everywhere.
But in America, it was also
the era of tricky Dick Nixon.
Tricky Dick.
That's one of the times it really started
to take hold in the culture.
Just hearing
the word "dick" like that,
because it was his nickname
and a perfect descriptor, I mean,
that is the essence
of who Richard Nixon is.
He's "Dick."
Richard Nixon, like,
he is king of all Dicks,
in many senses of that phrase.
"Dick" is used to describe a person
who is unpleasant,
or… does antisocial things.
Like, I can annoy
someone with my penis, certainly.
In a myriad of ways, it's…
uh, was one of the special skills
on my résumé, right after tennis.
I think we call people
we don't like "dicks"
because dicks are
famously sort of unseemly.
Like little sand worms
comin' ofrom ut your pants.
We don't like that guy.
What's the ugliest thing I can think of?
My penis.
Nixon was hated by the very population
that wanted to make
swearing more acceptable.
Much like a "dick," Nixon kept
popping up in places he didn't need to be,
like Vietnam.
As we moved into the more progressive
Gen-X political climate
of the late 1980s and '90s,
the word was strengthened
and became a tool for political change.
- [crowd cheering]
- [Sarah Silverman] The year was 1990.
New Hampshire, USA.
A man named Dick Swett decides
he wants to run for Congress.
His opponent, Meldrim Thomson Jr.
Meldrim complains to the ballot law
commission that Mr. Swett
should appear as his name is listed
in the phone book, Richard Lantos-Swett.
The assumption being, of course,
that idiots will think it's funny
- to vote for a guy named Dick Swett.
- [laughs]
The claim was denied.
But Meldrim might have had a point,
because on election day,
Dick Swett won.
I think it's a beautiful comeback story
for someone who was probably tortured
for their name for their entire life,
and then finally had it come back and
and win them an election.
Because let's be honest,
nobody knew the issues in that race.
Nobody was paying attention to what
party affiliation Dick Swett was in.
They saw the words "Dick Swett,"
and they're like, "Hell, yeah."
Playing with this ambiguity gets harder
as the word's profanity level gets higher,
until we hit peak "dick" in the second
half of the 20th century.
So "dick" is still at the vanguard
of censorship battles.
"Dick" is unique because it comes
at its origin from a name.
That's very different
from other profanity.
It's special in that context matters
in a way it doesn't matter for "fuck."
There's no one named "fuck"
you could possibly be referring to.
There is a sporting goods place
named Dick's Sporting Goods.
What were you thinking,
naming a sports shop that?
I would be very awkward going there
as a child to get, like, a new volleyball.
We've got a dessert
in, uh, Britain called "spotted dick."
- That looks nothing like my spotted dick.
- [woman] Uh, right!
[man laughs]
They're now going
to call it, uh, "spotted Richard."
It's really nice.
[Nicolas] Let's not forget
a favorite pastime. Dick jokes.
Because the word "dick"
makes people giggle so much…
People wanna say
it's double entendre. It's just entendre.
It's not hiding from anything.
It's not like you're going, "Oh, I wonder
whatever 'dick' can be ascribed to."
You know what they're talking about.
About somebody's dick.
When you see it in these ways,
it's just people having their cake
and dicking around with it too.
I think every comic has a dick joke.
I don't like eating bananas in public.
That is so stressful
if you're a girl, like…
It's so annoying, 'cause it's
such a portable, good snack, you know?
But, like, if you're a girl
and you wanna eat a banana on the bus,
or wherever you may be… [laughs]
…all of a sudden, you're in the position
of like, "How do I de-dick this?"
I was primarily, for the first sort of
eight years of my career, just dick jokes.
It doesn't matter, you know,
how old you are,
you can still relate
to a good old-fashioned dick joke.
And I'll tell you somethin'
about the dick jokes.
It's like the rock and roll music, right?
It goes away for a while, and they say
it's dead but then it always comes back.
In a stand-up act,
you can do a few good dick jokes,
but they are really hard
to keep up for 15 minutes,
a lot like…
I'll never forget
the one time I saw my dad's penis.
I said, "Dad…
don't text me shit like that."
Patton Oswalt has a great joke
about the fact that the word "dick"
is censored on TV
if you're talking about a penis,
but if you're talking
about a guy being rude,
you can say, "He's a dick"
and it won't get censored.
But if you're talking
about your penis being a jerk,
you can say, "My dick is a dick"
and on TV it will say,
"My bleep is a dick."
We have this thing around language
and words we're not allowed to use.
We wanna say them more.
We wanna say them all the time.
When you tell us not to use them,
forget about it.
It's our favorite word of the week.
[Nicolas] However, the greatest example
of "dick" in the mainstream
came in 2006, with this SNL digital short.
All the fellas out there
With ladies to impress ♪
It's easy to do
Just follow these steps ♪
- One ♪
- Cut a hole in a box ♪
- Two ♪
- Put your junk in that box ♪
- Three ♪
- Make her open the box ♪
And that's the way you do it ♪
It's my [bleep] in a box ♪
Saturday Night Live, as a phenomenon,
has always been about pushing boundaries.
And so, why not "Dick in a Box"?
"Dick in the Box" was
a fascinating cultural moment
because it really spoke to
the idea that men think
that their dicks are gifts to women.
It's really a silly thing. Men think
that all the time, in fact.
The box is a gift attached to them, and
they're like, "Dick in a box!" You know?
And it's really funny,
because "Dick in a Box"…
They couldn't even say it on television.
They win the Emmy and they can't even say
the name of the skit that wins the Emmy.
And that's how transgressive it is.
Just saying "dick"
isn't patently offensive.
Seeing dick, on the other hand…
When you see a dick on screen, like…
full-frontal nudity from a guy,
it's like, "Oh, my God."
I'm gonna sign these titties, so sit back
and watch how it's done, my friend.
I'm gonna get Oh, shit! Oh! It's a dick!
I love it. Every time I see 'Cause I
I'm so fascinated by them.
It's so much more exciting
than seeing a bush.
It's exciting to go back
and watch it in slow motion,
and rewind it over and over
and pause it and study it.
The visual culture of Hollywood is
participating in this
double standard in our culture,
whereby dicks are seen
as okay and more acceptable
when vulvas aren't yet,
but female nudity is over-represented,
compared to both.
I'm that person
watching a sex scene like this,
trying to see if there's a little bulge.
And if there is, I'm happy.
If there's not, then it's not real.
It's fictional. You've ruined everything.
You've ruined television for me. [laughs]
Remember in middle school when
every single teen boy was
obsessed with drawing phalluses?
Why did we do that?
When we see a car
with a light dusting of snow,
why is our first instinct to sketch
a penis on that pure white carpet?
Why did I just draw this?
I'll tell you, out of all the swear words,
"dick" is the easiest to draw.
It's the only one that has its own logo.
None of the other ones you can draw
on the back of your school bag,
on someone else, and put
a little piss coming out of it.
Or come, whatever you will.
There's no question that the word
and the image make us laugh.
But don't be fooled.
This seemingly silly swear word
still holds a dark power.
I don't wanna
dick-shame anyone,
but dicks get everyone
into a lot of trouble.
[Nicolas] What's with dick pics?
[London] Dick pics.
I hate 'em. [gags]
"Dick pics" sounds
a lot like a swear word.
It's got the dick in there,
of course, but then,
it's built from two words
that sound very similar,
that have all those consonants in them.
It rhymes. It makes it seem
like the type of thing
that people might remember and repeat.
I haven't sent a dick pic in…
I would say 15 years was my last dick pic.
I shoot out dick pics
with reckless abandon.
Several of them have been leaked.
The reviews were good, so I left 'em up.
We need consent if we're
going to have a a just sexual culture.
And there is a rule for your dick pics.
Just don't send them without asking.
I was looking on Craigslist
for a… a cleaning person
and I was opening all these ads and
someone was like,
"I clean everything, blah, blah, blah."
And I open the ad and it was just a
it was a massive dick pic. [laughs]
And I thought it was just so funny.
It was just so unexpected.
But I I take it that most women
I'm married so I don't know,
but I take it that most women
do not appreciate them.
There's the old joke,
"Why do men name their penises?
They don't want a stranger
making decisions for them."
[Nicolas] How do you reference your penis?
Nicknames for penises are…
But I get it.
It's cute, it's fun.
I don't I've never dated anyone
that has had a nickname for their dick.
Wait. Wait, wait. Hold on.
What do I think about nick What?
Wait. There are people out there
who don't nickname their dick?
I call my… my dick, uh, "Little Elvis,"
'cause I've got
some shaft hairs on the side,
and it looks like sideburns.
Every time I have sex with a guy,
I nickname their dick.
I've called 'em "Bruce."
I've called one "Penelope."
I saw a dick, it definitely looked like
a Penelope. It was very dainty and pink.
I have never nicknamed my penis.
Um, it has never done anything for me
that would warrant a fun nickname.
It's only gotten me into trouble.
So, no. You don't get a nickname.
You've done well, my friend.
I was actually just talking about you.
I am so proud
of all we've accomplished together.
We've been through hell too. [sighs]
There were a few times there I…
I thought I might lose you.
But you always, always came.
Do you mind?
I'm FaceTiming with my accountant.
Did you think [sighs]
Naughty, naughty, naughty.
"Dick" is such a satisfying thing to say.
It's a satisfying thing to say,
and a satisfying thing to get.
Dick, dick, dick. Nick, nick, nick, nick.
I think it was just fun to say.
I mean, penises are pretty special.
Uh… not to say that they're more special
than anything else, but they are…
in fact, used in this
relatively important act
that continues
to preserve the species' existence.
So I guess you could forgive
a little bit of obsession with them.
This is what I think
about the whole thing.
You can say what you want
about the dick, right?
But we all
They've stood the test of time.
We've been using statues of penises
and different phallic things.
We all like dick in one form or another.
We may not like
the people they're attached to.
In fact, most people don't.
But the actual object
of the penis is a winner.
My name is Dick
And I am awesome ♪
Everybody loves me ♪
Because I am awesome
My name is Dick ♪
And I'm really, really awesome ♪
- He's really awesome, yeah ♪
- Uh-huh, my name is Dick ♪
And I am awesome ♪
Oh, yes, my name is Dick
And I'm awesome ♪
Back me up, backup singers ♪
Yeah, yeah, yeah! ♪
He's really awesome, yeah ♪
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