In 1966, iconoclastic comedian Lenny Bruce said he had been arrested for saying nine particular words. Six years later, one of American standup genius George Carlin’s routines listed “seven words that can never be spoken on television”.
Scroll forward half a century and many of those words are now commonplace but are there still taboos around certain words? The shockwaves around Ru Paul Drag Race‘s use of “tranny” showed just how divisive and political one word can be: in the US, legendary drag San Francisco drag club Trannyshack changed their name to T-shack while the London club night of the same name stuck to their guns.
In this Wednesday’s Save Rubyyy Jones edition called Bad Wordsss at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, its eponymous and outspoken producer takes up the baton from Bruce and Carlin and investigates those words that still cause consternation in these so-called liberated times.
In what she is calling “a caba-theatre exploration” through performance, interactive games and sex education, Jones will be expanding minds alongside Lou Safire, Ragina Lumpi, Virgin Xtravaganzah, Bambi Blue, Lydia L’Scabies, La Beti and Kai Kai.