Relearn your pop-culture trivia: You can say $#*! on TV, if it’s late night, or on cable, including TBS

Some TV viewers were taken aback last night watching Harrison Ford on Conan, not just because people thought he might have been on medication of some sort or another, but because he said the word "shit" on TV, and nobody bleeped it.

Conan O'Brien was talking to Ford about Capt. Sully, the commercial airline pilot who landed on the Hudson River a couple of years ago, and asked: "Do you ever think to yourself, because you've spent so much time in the cockpit flying, if you were in a situation like that, what you would do?" Ford: "Shit and die." After prolonged laughter from the audience and Conan, Ford added: "In that order." You can hear the exchange at the 7:30 mark in this video.

An hour later, comedian Kyle Kinane played "Chad, the racist stoner from Arizona" in a sketch with George Lopez on Lopez Tonight. In it, "Chad" tells Lopez that during their interview, he's high on some "good shit." You can watch it here.

So? So buttons.

Perhaps you got curious when TBS bleeped Conan in between those two instances when he plugged Reggie Watts' CD. Although if you look at the CD, it reads "Why $#!+ So Crazy?" So how could you pronounce that word any other way?

It got me thinking that perhaps you had forgotten that the FCC said it was OK to say "shit" sometimes, late at night, letting the CBS medical drama Chicago Hope use it in an episode in 1999. Pre-Y2k, y'all! Then South Park lampooned the whole idea by using the word 162 times in a 2001 episode. Pre-9/11! Oh….

But the FCC doesn't regulate cable, whether it's Comedy Central, TBS, FX, or HBO. Which means if you're hearing bleeps on TBS or Comedy Central, it's only because their own standards and practices employees are worried about who might be listening and watching their programs.

All of which is to say, if CBS decides to move $#*! My Dad Says to the 10 p.m. hour so they can say "shit" and still compete against 30 Rock come January, I'm going to have to call bullshit.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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