Yesterday a trailer dropped so unexpected and random that the comedy continuum skipped a beat. The History of Swear Words is a new comedy series coming to Netflix on January 5, which features Nicolas Cage as the host, walking us through the history of half a dozen swears including “sh-t”, “damn”, “bitch”, and “f-ck”. That’s right, Nicolas Cage, best known at this point for his extreme eccentric energy, is going to teach us about the history of swearing.
This is the first television series starring Nicolas Cage to air, but of course, he will also play Joe Exotic in a dramatic series based on Tiger King. I am far more interested in learning the etymology of swear words from Nicolas Cage than I am in giving any more bandwidth to Joe Exotic—the history of language is WAY more interesting than a liar who tortures animals for fun and profit. Some of the worst trouble I ever got to as a kid was when I wrote a paper in high school about the origin of “f-ck”—my lame teacher was FURIOUS but couldn’t do much about it because I followed the assignment to the letter—so this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I genuinely love language and the evolution of slang is particularly interesting (for instance, much of our slang today originates in Paris is Burning, the 1990 documentary about the drag ball scene in New York). The fact that all this information comes with Nicolas Cage’s signature IN-TENNNNNN-SIT-TEEEEEE is just a bonus. The first week of the new year always sucks because it’s back to the work grind, but at least 2021 is offering a soft landing with a comedy series about swears starring Nicolas Cage. 2021 is already better than 2020.