Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The art of insulting: easy to begin, difficult to master but very rewarding upon mastery.

I'm a huge fan of insults; I usually use them during good-natured ribbing between my friends and I. There are various ways to verbally insult someone, which I will cover more in-depth later. One can even non-verbally insult another, but I'll be mainly dealing with verbal insults here.

You may be wondering, "Hmm, what makes a good insult?" Great question, great question. I'm not trying to speak for anyone, but I'll share what I think makes a good insult.

1. Creativity

Be original with your insults. Sure, someone somewhere in the world may have already used your insult or may be using it the same time as you, probably in a different language, but I think you're looking at too large of a picture, asshole. This criterion can be broken up into a few different parts though:

a. Word choice

You can use words that you barely hear used in insults. I'm not saying to return to using Shakespearean insults, like referring to someone as "beefheaded whoreson cur" or something like that. You can use a synonym of a word or a synonymous phrase.

Example: You asshole. -> You anus.

Simple, but it can make a difference when using other words.

You can also make up a new one on the spot. Typical "new" words can just be a combination of two words commonly used as insults or in insults.

Example: You assfuck.

b. Context

This can (and will) be its own criterion, but in a slightly different way. Now, what I'm getting at here is that you can use cliche insults in different contexts to make them more original.

Example: Friend 1: Dude, I'm about to be having sex with your girl tonight.

Friend 2: Oh, whaaaaaat? I think you have to postpone that because she and I are about to have a threesome with your mom tonight.

See what I did there? "Mom" insults are some of the most commonly used insults, but you can still keep them entertaining by creatively using them in various contexts...even though I only showed one.

c. Spontaneity/Randomness/Nonsense

This is not everyone's cup of tea, but I think it's funny when an insult is just pretty random or nonsensical. I guess this goes with context as well because you're using an insult that has nothing to do with anything, so it's out of any context.

Example: Friend 1: Dude, why are your feet so white? I thought they would be dark as hell.

Friend 2: Shut up.

Friend 3: (to Friend 1) Why are YOUR feet so black?

Friend 1: (despite Friend 1 having a very light skinned face) Because I been stepping all over your face!

That last line doesn't make any sense since the person it was said to has a light-skinned face, but it was said anyways and it's original in the sense that not many people would probably say something like that in that situation. I think.

2. Timing

Very important and fairly universal, as any comedian can tell you. I add this here since insults can also be jokes...though of course they can be serious too. That's another story. Anyways, there are ways to simulate the natural skill of timing, like a sort of storylike joke that ends in a punchline insult.

Example: Someone: (speaking to a bunch of his/her friends) So I was hanging out with Derek yesterday and before we could hit the gym, he had to pick some shit up from his apartment. When we got there and I met his roommates, I finally got why he said he loves to have sex at his apartment: because it's full of guys.

I apologize to any of my homosexual friends that may read this, love yall. But yes, you set yourself up that little story, then POW! right in the kisser. Of course, if you don't have that natural talent of timing or if you haven't practiced, you could still butcher that joke.

Having a sharp wit helps your timing, like being able to instantly counter someone's insult with an insult of your own.

Example: Friend 1: Haaaaaaa, I heard your penis is only like an inch.

Friend 2: (instantly after hearing that) Nah, it only looked that way because the other 8 inches were inside your girlfriend.

For another example, refer to the example under, "Context."

3. Delivery

Ok, so maybe your timing isn't the best. That's ok, just make the delivery great. Of course, it would be stupendous if you could have great timing and delivery, but it's not always so.

You can deliver an insult in different ways. You can say it slowly, loudly, angrily, sadly, or whatever. You can gesticulate wildly while saying it, or you can be absolutely still. It's up to you to figure out which would work best, and it's always important to change things up.

I won't have an example for this one since it's hard to illustrate good delivery in typed words. If you MUST have an example, come find me and I'll do my best to deliver an insult well.

4. Context/Audience Awareness

When insulting someone, you have to be aware of who is listening. While a sexually explicit insult can be funny, it's just distasteful to say one in the presence of children or adults you're not familiar with (or even ones that you know!) Remember, creativity! Not every insult has to have swearing in it or mention of genitalia or material similar to that.

Example: Friend 1: (with children present) Man, you are fucking stupid.

Friend 2: (children still present) You inconsiderate butt! There are kids around. Weren't you taught anything other than how to be ugly?

No "fuck," "bitch," "shit," "cock," or "balls." However, still effective and even the children can join in laughing! Holla at those PG insults.

5. Universality

Inside jokes that lead to inside insults are great. They are the livelihood of great friendships, and they can make some of the best insults. However, it is also good to use insults at which everyone can laugh. Of course, people can still find those inside insults funny, but not always, so don't take it for granted. Jerk.

Most of the insults I have used as examples have been fairly universal and do not contain any inside material, so feel free to refer to them to see examples.

Those are the criteria that I could think of that make a good insult (for me). Now...I'm going to add one more that you shouldn't consider incorporating into your insults regularly, but it is the criterion that, added with the other five that I have mentioned, make a GREAT insult.

6. Hurtful

Insults are put-downs. Yes, as I have said, we use them with friends to have a good laugh and what not, but you can't forget insults ARE put-downs. So, obviously, the more hurtful you can make it, the greater it is, objectively speaking. I mean, hey, sometimes those insults you use with your friends can hurt them too, so be careful, damn it. But yes, save those great insults for someone that has genuinely pushed your buttons.

I won't put an example of the great insults I can think of because...well, d'uh, they're very hurtful. Once again, if you REALLY need an example, ask me. I probably won't oblige you though since I don't want to hurt your feelings. Maybe.

I hope you have learned much about the art of insulting. I don't think myself too great at it, but I try. Fack, I should still be writing my paper and reading, but whatever. I did some of it. Time to finish that shit. Good night, all.

1 comment:

  1. i see a book in the making....

    The Truth, by RPG Emil