Tom Lehrer’s Smut

My darling husband, several years ago, got me the impressive Rhino box set “The Remains of Tom Lehrer”, containing just about every song the gifted parodist/mathematician did on 3 CDs along with a hardcover lyric/notes book.

The Remains of Tom Lehrer cover
The Remains of Tom Lehrer
Buy this CD set

Like most impressive Rhino box sets, it is now out of print. However, the individual albums are still available (and often at very reasonable prices), such as 1965’s That Was the Year That Was, from which this track comes. I’m astounded that satire written over 40 years ago can still be so fresh and funny (and boy, that’s what I needed to listen to this week, hilarious skewering of sacred cows). Take, for example, the pro-porn march Smut, which begins, after a spoken-word intro,

Smut!
Give me smut and nothing but!
A dirty novel I can’t shut,
If it’s uncut,
And unsubt (le).

I love his wordplay! Who else could rhyme quibbled, ribald, and nibbled? The couplet about Peter Pan and the Wizard of Oz, well, that takes on a whole new context these days, doesn’t it?

Anyway, this might have been more timely a month or two ago, given the last comic blog round-about on obscenity, but I couldn’t resist sharing. Sign me up for the movement, Tom! Dirty books are fun!


6 Responses to “Tom Lehrer’s Smut”

  1. kjchen Says:

    I enjoy listening to this album on my iPod when I’m poisoning pigeons in the park.

  2. Rob Says:

    Sacred cows make the best burgers.

    Big, BIG fan of the good Professor…as is my son. Which can lead to problems, such as trying to explain “I got it from Agnes” to a seven-year-old. Too bad the box set is out of print, but as you say, the source material is readily (and cheaply) available.

    (OK, technically he’s not a professor because he never finished his Ph.D., but still….)

  3. Tommy Raiko Says:

    “Some have a a hobby like tennis or philately? / I’ve got a hobby–Rereading Lady Chatterley.”

    Good stuff from Mr. Lehrer.

  4. David Oakes Says:

    He is Professor Lehrer specifically because he didn’t finish. If he had, he would be Dr. Lehrer.

    This is a Big Deal when you teach community college…

  5. Rob Says:

    Hm…I thought I read somewhere that he never made full Professor at UCSC because of his lack of degree. But now I can’t find a credible link to the fact, so consider my parenthetical statement withdrawn.

  6. David Wynne Says:

    Thank you for posting this. Somewhere I have a cherished copy of two Lehrer albums on cassette (recorded for me by my late aunt); but not having a tape player, I’ve not heard them in years. It was fantastic to hear that again.

    (my personal favourite song was always The Masochism Tango)

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