Tuesday, August 03, 2010


Last night's episode of NBC's Last Comic Standing (a reality show where aspiring stand-up comedians compete for a money prize and the eponymous title) featured the following bit by a contestant by the name of Felipe Esparza (UPDATED: added video below):

My brother came out of the closet, he told everyone he was gay. My dad thought he'd (1) choke on a turkey - "Que dijó <grunts> oy Dios (1) <grunts> que dijóóóó...!" I ran behind him on a Heimlich maneuver (2). He said: "Not you too, [ka]<bleep>!"

(1) Doubtful.
(2) Accompanied by thrusting motions of the pelvic region.

Before the bleep, only a [k] can be clearly heard, perhaps followed by a short [a] thus combining in the syllable [ka]. Now try as I might, I can't think of an English curse word starting in [ka]. The vowel in cunt is different ([ɐ], perhaps, though it would be difficult to tell with Mr. Esparza's accent), plus the beep was longer than would be required for [nt] and in any case, this particular word is a heavy caliber and not very likely to appear on network tv. So after careful consideration and taking into account Mr. Esparza's ethnic background and his use of Spanish in the very same routine, I'm inclined to believe that the good people at NBC actually bleeped out the Spanish word cabrón [kaˈβɾon] (n. m.) = 1. goat; 2. asshole, motherfucker. I have no way to confirm that (if you do, please speak up), but if it is indeed so, then this is a great stride forward for the Latino community in the United States. Having FCC (and all the TV executives who shit their pants at the mere mention of this august institution's name) cater to the sensibilities of uptight speakers of Spanish is surely a sign of recognition that Spanish is here to stay. I can't wait to hear the "English only" crowd's take on that.


David Marjanović said...

<Mr Burns>Excellent.</Mr Burns>

(Just so you don't think nobody reads your blog anymore.)

Aidan Kehoe said...

‘Cocksucker’ would fit there, I think, which I suppose is less encouraging for the advancement of Spanish-speakers in the US.

bulbul said...

awwww :) I thought you got swallowed by the Earth or something...

excellent point, but a) same vowel problem as with 'cunt', b) I don't think the length of the bleep and the movement of the lips match.

Languagehat said...

Having given the matter my gravest multilingual consideration, I agree with our host that the Spanish unspeakable has been retroactively unspoken.

michael farris said...

Before getting there I was already assuming cabron.
FWIW some years ago (well over 10) a friend reported that 'puta' was bleeped on Oprah.

David Marjanović said...

I thought you got swallowed by the Earth or something...

Worse!!! By my thesis. =8-) It'll be printed tomorrow.

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