Ah, the swear word. Disseminated correctly, it is the perfect punctuation to human communication, a way to say so much with as little as four letters. Where do these, um, “darn” things come from? Luckily for us, Netflix has announced a comedic, irreverent, but surprisingly educational docuseries examining the very thing. Introducing History of Swear Words, hosted, of course, by Nicolas Cage.
Over six episodes, History of Swear Words will dive into where these naughty, forbidden pieces of language come from, talking with etymologists, historians, and entertainers like Joel Kim Booster, Open Mike Eagle, Nikki Glaser, Patti Harrison, London Hughes, Jim Jefferies, Nick Offerman, Sarah Silverman, Baron Vaughn, and Isiah Whitlock Jr. (who, of course, made the ‘S’ word a work of art in The Wire). The show comes from Funny or Die and B17 Entertainment (The Great Debate), with FoD executive producers Mike Farah, Joe Farrell, and Beth Belew, and B17 executive producer Rhett Bachner working alongside showrunner Bellamie Blackstone (I Love You, America).
We’ve got our first clip from the show featuring Cage in his hosting duties, and it is pure and good and delightful and silly and somehow serious (as every Cage joint should be). Taken from an episode about, well, let’s just borrow Cage‘s phrasing and say “the word that can also be used to describe a cat,” Cage paints away on a canvas, monologuing about something in this great world that can cause so much contradictory, exemplary beauty. When he turns the canvas around to show us… I mean, you’ll either be fully into the show or fully off-board, but there will be no half-measures. I, for one, live for comedic/unscripted/genuinely informative hybrid shows like Drunk History and will be binging this History of Swear Words as soon as I am able.
History of Swear Words comes to Netflix on January 5, 2021. Check out the first clip (NSFW, duh doy) below.
Here’s the official synopsis for History of Swear Words:
An education in expletives: the history lesson you didn’t know you needed. History of Swear Words, hosted by Nicolas Cage, is a loud and proudly profane series that explores the origins, pop culture-usage, science and cultural impact of curse words. Through interviews with experts in etymology, pop culture, historians and entertainers, the six-episode series dives into the origins of “F**k”, “Sh*t”, “B*tch”, “D**k”, “Pu**y”, and “Damn”.