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Bill Simmons had a great interview with Robert Smigel a few months back, and asked him a similar question about “offensive” comedy. Smigel, who you’d think would be of the same mind as Corolla, Norton, et. al., instead told Bill about an experience from Late Night with Conan O’Brien from 2002 where the show goofed on fans waiting in line for Star Wars ep.2.

According to Smigel, in one take they had a guy dressed as Spock walk by the line while holding a sign that read “fags”. He and his writers loved it, and it killed with the audience at the screening. Afterwards, Smigel got word that some of the interns were unhappy with the bit, and he decided to use another take without the sign. He ends by saying “here it is, 12 years later; can you imagine? There’s no way anyone would laugh if that sign was held up now”.

I think people would generally agree that it’s good we don’t throw the word “fag” around like we used to in middle school, but it certainly didn’t feel like a big deal back then. It makes me wonder what we’ll regret having said in another 12 years.

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