HOME

 

Treatment of Circumcision on TV
Talk and Game Shows and "Reality" TV

(Introduction)

TITLE

SYNOPSIS

60 minutes

(TV3, New Zealand) Mon, 24 Sep 2007 "Separated at Birth" 14 minutes
Official summary: "These circumcised men say they are amputees, and that having no foreskin has dampened their ability to feel sexually the way non-circumcised men do. They are even exploring ways to get a new foreskin.
On the other hand, some believe that it should be mandatory for all baby boys to be circumcised. They say it greatly reduces the boy’s chances of getting diseases including HIV later in life."

Includes a short clip of Brian Morris, but generally pro-intact. Has some memorable phrases, such as "[Circumcised men] lose a Symphony of Sensation" and "Keep your sticky mitts off his private parts." (Shows a Plastibell™ circumcision, not for the squeamish) Video no longer available, comments still visible.

78th Academy Awards (2006)

March 5, 2006

Presenting the award for special effects, Ben Stiller wears a green unitard and pretends to be using green-screen technology to appear as a floating head, then - covering his head with a green mask - invisible.

Host Jon Stewart: Congratulations to the winners and congratulations to Ben Stiller and his amazing green unitard. It's good to have proof that he's Jewish. Implying that all and only Jews are circumcised. Why it would be "good to have proof" is not clear. The unitard (actually more like BVDs) wasn't even particularly tight, hardly giving proof that Stiller is male:
Ben Stiller in green BVDsClose-up of Ben Stiller's green BVDs

Ace of Cakes

A cooking show

Duff Goldman and Geoffrey Manthorne are putting the finishing touches to a cake in the form of a CAT scan machine. When Geoffrey snips a piece off to complete the cake, Duff says it was a nice snip and he would be a good mohel. Both laugh.

A typically gratuitious reference to circumcision as Jewish.

Attack of the Show

Talk show on G4. Segment "In Your Pants" broadcast 2006: "Is an uncircumcised penis a turnoff?" (2'00" in)

A viewer (with a hood...on his head) poses the question, "Is it true that girls don't like it when guys are uncircumcised?"

Anna David, a sex columnist in a low-cut dress, having experienced Englishmen, says "It's the guy, not the penis" and denies that intact penises smell, but doesn't actually defend them. She grants they "look kinda funny".

Host Olivia Munn tells of an encounter with an intact man that she found gross, and she never hooked up with him again, but doesn't actually say why. She says "you should cut it off" because "this is what it looks like".

Unbelievably shallow. Imagine switching the sexes.

America or Busted

Six-part documentary series following the British band Busted as they try to make it in America
Episode 6
:

(Street sign: "Times Square" We follow Matt Jay {Willis} into a bar where he joins his mates in armchairs. He has a mohawk haircut.)

Charlie Simpson: There's something different about you. I can't put my finger on it..

Matt Jay: Oh really?

Charlie Simpson: I think it's the chop. Have you had the chop?

Matt Jay: I still have a foreskin, but I have had a haircut.

Manager Matthew Fletcher: That is disgusting.

What is "disgusting" is unclear, but since all three are English, it is presumably not his foreskin itself. It might even be the haircut.

America's Funniest Home Videos

(ABC) Episode 300.

Host (Tom Bergeron): It's unusual to have a pig perform your bris. (A hog then bites a young boy in the crotch. Canned laughter.)

Not only unusual, but a highly un-Jewish suggestion. The pain and damage of circumcision is trivialised.
Thanks to NORM-UK

Originally Broadcast: ~2001 Repeated: 5 Dec 2005, WGN Chicago (shown in both the USA and Canada)

Baby is sitting looking at camera.

Tom Bergeron: Brian, bad news. The doctor called and they've got to do the circumcision again.
(Baby makes face and groans. Canned laughter.)

Assumes all boys in the USA and Canada are circumcised. Implies circumcision is once and forever when in fact some circumcisions do need to be revised because of skin bridges or other complications. Implies that circumcision is funny and trivial.
Thanks to NORM-UK

Baggage Dating game show hosted by Jerry Springer in which contestants reveal negative facts about themselves, broadcast May 30, 2013 on KOFY

Contestant Terry hopes to go out with Kristi

Jerry: Terry, it is time to reveal your baggage.
Kristi: Oh!
Terry: I have a botched circumcision.
Jerry: Is this a concern or is the question how botched?
Kristi: Yeah, I think the question would be how botched. I'd kind of want to see it so i can judge for myself.
Jerry: What about that?
Terry: I can explain. First of all, it's not my fault, it's the doctor's fault. Actually it's pretty cool and pretty sexy in the bedroom because I can spice things up and I can put jewelry on and i have an example of a hoop that can go there. So I live on the fast lane a little bit and we can spice things up if that was needed to be.
Jerry: So Kristi, I have to ask you now, is this baggage you want to handle?
Kristi: Well, terry, I think I can accept your baggage.
Terry There you go!
Jerry: Kristi and terry will enjoy a fabulous dinner in Beverly Hills, and we will see you next time. Congratulations!
Terry Thanks for accepting my baggage.

His circumcision is assumed to have been inevitable, and the botch (apparently a skin-bridge) amorphous.

Big Brother

(An early "reality" TV show, in which hidden cameras monitor contestants confined to a house while they try to avoid being voted out by each other and the audience.)
Series 5
:

[Drew Daniel, Scott, Jase and Will are in the bathroom talking about Drew's intact penis]

''Big Brother'' winner Drew Daniel
Drew Daniel

Scott: I have never seen one

Drew: Well I don't want to show you right here

Scott: No it's okay.. maybe later.. but what does it look like?

Drew: The best way I can describe it is an elephant's trunk.

[Everyone freaks out.]

Scott: What do chicks do? Do they freak out?

Drew: No, they love it.

Jase: Do you have a head?

Drew: YES! ha ha!

Will: We only have 30% of the sensitivity that he does.. so he enjoys sex like, way more, Scott: Drew, that's great.

Drew: Yeah, it is, man.

[Will gives some more statistics, until some women come into the bathroom and they change the subject.]
This figure is low but within the plausible range, since circumcision routinely removes 50% of penile skin, and Meissner's corpuscles are concentrated in the ridged band of the foreskin. Drew Daniel goes on to win the show.
(UK)
During a game to win food and supplies for the British Big Brother house, Big Brother showed Mikey a photograph of housemate Sezer as a child, dressed festively, and asked what he was celebrating. Mikey guessed: "His birthday?" A "Wrong!" buzzer sounded and Big Brother told Mikey: "It was his circumcision." Embarrassed, Sezer hid his face in his hands. His fellow housemates then "broke into hysterics" according to the Daily Mail.

In the UK, only Muslims and Jews commonly circumcise.

Thanks to NORM-UK

Season 9, broadcast Sunday, February 17, 2008. In this season the contestants have been paired off, regardless of existing partnerships outside.

A dark bedroom. James is in bed. His partner Jen is brushing her hair.

James: Hey, Jen, Adam's name is called "the Hooded Warrior".

Jen: "The Hooded Warrior"?

James: Yeah.

Jen: Why?

James: Ask him.

(Jen gets up, goes to the door and calls.)

Jen: Adam! Adam!

James: Yo, Adam!

Adam Jasinski
Adam Jasinski

Adam: What?

James: Do you go by "the Hooded Warrior"?

Adam: Yup.

Jen: Why is your name "the Hooded Warrior"?

Adam: Because I'm uncut. Not circumcised.

(Jen and James laugh, joined by others in the house, off camera.)

Jen: Oh my God! Not circumcised?!"

The diary room. Sheila, Adam's partner, already reluctant because of his previous crass and boorish remarks - CBS has been asked for an apology on behalf of autistic and mentally challenged children who Adam called "r*t*rds" - talks to camera.

Sheila: Out of every guy in here, I get the uncircumcised guy! What is that about?

The bedrooms.

Jen: Are you really?

The diary room. Jen, to camera.

Jen: (laughing) Yeah, I have never seen an uncircumcised penis. And I found out Adam had one. And I wanted to see it.

The bedrooms.

Jen: Are you really not circumcised?

Adam: You want a tutorial? I'll give you a one-on-one tutorial.

Cut to Jen and another girl in a doorway. Jen is pointng toward Adam (off-camera), laughing loudly. Adam has apparently shown them.

The diary room. Adam, to camera.

Adam: I'm uncut, dude. That's what it is. And apparently I'm - everybody finds it to be amusing.

The bedrooms, in darkness, the guests are still laughing.

[presumably] Jen: Eww!!

The diary room.

Jen: I mean it's weird. It's so weird.

The bedrooms. Everyone is still laughing.

Jen: Why are you uncircumcised?

Adam: (Shrugging his shoulders) I had no choice! [He could have said "Same reason you are."]

The diary room. Adam.

Adam: I gave her a glimpse at it, ya know.... I didn't give her the one-on-one, how to operate it, but I gave her a little idea of how it works, like.

The bedrooms.

A woman: You can get it -

A woman: You gotta wash it so it doesn't stink. [Just like hers.]

This underlines a point made in the introduction to these pages: "Anyone may be as insulting as they like about the foreskin or the man who has one. They have no feelings or rights." Adam's acceptance of labels implying some lapse, and his lack of Anteater Pride, is also due for an overhaul. The contrast between this and the treatment of autistic children is striking. While the contestants are responsible only for themselves, the appearance of these remarks in the edited highlights is the fault of the producers of the show.

"Hooded Warrior" T-shirts, mugs, magnets, etc. are available at The Intactivism Shop.

CBS has planted a saboteur, who is not there to win the game, among the house guests, and only CBS and the saboteur know who it is. If the saboteur can last five weeks in the house without getting evicted he/she will win $50,000.

One of the main suspects is Andrew, a podiatrist from Miami Beach, Florida, who often refers to being Jewish. In a diary room session at the beginning of the episode, he says:

People think I'm the saboteur and if I wasn't safe from eviction this week, I'd be nervous ... like a rabbi performimg a circumcision. (makes a cutting gesture with an evil, exaggerated chuckle)

Confusing rabbi and mohel. Full episode

A Big Steaming Pile of ME

(HBO, early 2005) Comedian Richard Jeni spends perhaps five minutes on circumcision. He acts out the baby being strapped down, "then WHAM!" his foreskin cut off, using his finger sticking over the edge of a table, then asking his mother why he was circumcised. As her, he looks around vaguely and says "I wanted you to match your father".

"Oh yes, bald and tubby, I thought I matched him pretty well already. ... The reason men are having so much trouble with the penis is because they were molested as infants," He suggests that, like the Phantom of the Opera, they spend the rest of their lives seeking revenge on the person who did this to them.

As "Penis of the Opera" he limps around the stage with his hand half covering his face, peering between his fingers. (The sketch does not return to circumcision, but the image of the circumcised penis as being like the disfigured face of the Phantom is powerful.)

Blind Date

A "reality" show in which a camera follows a series of blind dates, and captions and doodles are superimposed over the participants.

A couple are in a cigar shop. When the man cuts a cigar, a caption appears:
"Cigar is now Jewish!"

  • Circumcision does not make anyone Jewish
  • The vast majority of circumcised men are not Jewish

Blue Collar TV

WB (Warner Bros.) Group improvised comedy (like "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?")

Responding to the question 'What don't you want to hear the first time someone sees you naked?' the cast, sitting in front of a studio audience, replied with a variety of funny answers.

Comedian Jeff Foxworthy: "Just how many times were you circumcised?"

(Audience laughter)

Message: Circumcision reduces the size of the penis.
Thanks to NORM-UK

Brand X (FX Network) Season 1 episode 1, June 28, 2012

Russell Brand ventures into the audience and learns that a (Muslim) woman's brother was circumcised at 13. He says that's a late age, and goes on to describe circumcision very derisively as something nobody would choose, chopping the end of the penis off, etc.

Penn & Teller: Bullsh¡t!

At last! A show that actually goes for circumcision's jugular! First broadcast April 25, 2005 on Showtime. Penn & Teller are better known as two conjurers who explain their tricks.

The show is unique in

  • giving Intactivists a chance to make our case
  • discussing
    • the innervation of the foreskin
    • its unique rolling action
    • its role in sex
  • making jokes against circumcision rather than against Intactivists
  • treating restoration (more or less) seriously
  • skewering circumcisors Edgar Schoen (they let him read his own poetry) and Elizabeth Lister ("With this clamp, used correctly, there's zero chance of hurting the baby's penis.")

It lacks

It implies that Intactivists are only in San Francisco, when in fact, we are to be found all over the world.

Great lines:

  • On the "cleanliness" argument: "How tough do you think it is to get a kid to rub his cock in the shower?"
  • "Cut off [part of] the end of your dick and be God's friend? I'd hate to see how the Almighty treats his enemies - all right, they burn in hell forever."

You can see the show here, here or here .


Reviews:

New York Newsday:

Penn & Teller: TV for adults

BY DIANE WERTS
STAFF WRITER

April 25, 2005

... Tonight's half-hour obliges us to laugh, wince and cogitate as the third season kicks off with what we can only call a load of genital jokes. When towering bully Penn Jillette goes after circumcision, you know precisely what physical areas will fuel his humor.

Yet amid the gleefully displayed sex toys, frontal nudity, Oscar Mayer [brand of small sausage] allusions and cameo appearance by porn king Ron Jeremy, there's a sincere issue here. And it gets sincere, thoughtful treatment. Penn & Teller might not take themselves seriously, but that's how they ultimately address their shows' topics.

But with anywhere between 65 and 80 percent of American men said to have been circumcised, tonight's exhortations are no slam-dunk sale.

The evidence the pair presents on circumcision is, to say the least, disconcerting, whether it's statistics (the most common surgery in America at about 3,000 a day), history (the procedure was popularized as a "cure" for masturbation), consequences (from purported sexual dysfunction to the question of what happens to all that removed skin) and remedies (with live-action close-ups). ...


the Chicago Sun-Times:

Penn & Teller remain ribald men of the people

April 24, 2005

BY MIKE THOMAS Staff Reporter

As myth-busters go, Penn Jillette and his partner of 30 years, Teller, have few equals. ...

Entering its third season on Monday with a laugh-riot look (as in, up-close and disturbingly personal) at circumcision, the unflinching, uncensored series examines all manner of topics ... through their ostensibly objective, non-rose-colored glasses. ...

The circumcision episode stemmed from a conversation Jillette had with a female friend of his. In the episode, which pulls no punches, infants get clamped and snipped, doctors explain the process in scientific detail, anti-circumcision activists bare all and say things like, "I'm really angry with doctors who love to play with baby boys' penises and cut 'em off." All of that is peppered by juvenile silliness, which includes rubber sex toys, giant phalluses and crude euphemisms. Oh, and legendarily large porn prince Ron Jeremy cameos with a guillotine. Cliched? Sure. Funny? Um, not really. ...

"... you know [Teller says] that if you brought up, 'I'm havin' a son in a few months and I been reading some s--- about circumcision, I just don't really know,' you know that if you're sitting around with your friends that our hearts are gonna go out to you, we're gonna talk to you honestly and openly, and we're also gonna make a lot of jokes. And we're gonna do all of that s--- all at once. "And somehow television has this point of view that it's either/or. But that's not the way human beings live." ...

Chelsea Lately

Comedianne Chelsea Handler and her assistant Chuy Bravo are interviewing men and women to be Chelsea's bodyguard.

Chuy: Are you circumcised?

Man: Yes, I am.

Chelsea: Well, we're actually looking for someone who has not been circumcised. Would you be willing to reverse the procedure? (audience laughs)

The question would be funnier if restoration was not possible.

Discussing the day's tabloid events, Chelsea asks her panel of guests what they think of Paris Hilton. An Australian comedian says Australians are fans of her because they don't have many celebrities.

Chelsea: "You guys don't even get circumcised. You don't get a vote."

Casual denigration of intact men. An Australian aged 25-35 is almost as likely to be circumcised as an American.

And again, she put down Simon van Kempen from The Real Housewives of New York by describing him as "uncircumcised", presumably because he is Australian (but which in fact is no guarantee).

And see below. It seems to be a favourite topic of hers.

Comedy Central

First broadcast February, 2004.

Alan Cumming
Alan Cumming: ... I've found that everyone else in America has become completely obsessed with cleanliness. Over here people take a bath, then they take a shower to rinse the bath off. Back where I come from - it's a place that your president likes to call "Yurp" (laughter, applause) - yeah, back in Yurp, we tend to be more comfortable with dirt, perhaps because we are all uncircumcised. It's true. I have a foreskin (points), and I'm proud! (throws fist in air, crowd roars, cheers, claps)

But, you know, when I take my pants off in America, people gasp, which is kinda nice (smirks), until I realise that they're actually staring at my penis as if it's some kind of National Geographic photo come to life. And they look at it and they're like "Wow! What do you do with that? How does it work?" Because, you know, you think because it's different, my uncircumcised penis, that somehow it's dirty, and that is wrong, America! (modest clapping and laughing)

When I'm here in America, I feel like Pigpen from Charlie Brown, you know as if there's this big cloud floating around my foreskin all the time (laughter, clapping). So, tonight, I'm taking it upon myself to re-educate America about my penis. (points. Audience roars, claps)

First of all, uncircumcised penises, like mine, need to know that they are not alone. When I was doing Cabaret, the only other person who was uncircumcised was the security guard. I won't go into how I know that but... (laughs, smirks, skips a little) Just let me tell you that for the rest of the run, I felt very, very secure. We eventually formed a support group, he and I. It was called "The Society for Penises Under No Knives" or S.P.U.N.K. for short,... or long, depending... (clapping, cheering).

Tonight, we embrace uncut comedy, we go back to a time when comics offended ...

This is quite remarkable in being perhaps the first unequivocally pro-intact segment on US TV, ever. If not, correction would be very welcome.

Other intact non-US celebrities

Freak Show Episodes # 106-7: Mohel-Me-Not Parts 1 &2 Originally Aired: Nov 9 and 16, 2006 Official summary: 1. The Hartsdales choose to circumcise Primi while performing in a heavily Jewish community, but does the local rabbi have an ulterior motive?
(2. Having used Primi's foreskin to summon Moshiach, the Jewish messiah, Pat Robertson and the President decide to fight back with their own secret weapon. When Primi exposes their plot and is captured, the Freak Squad must come to his rescue.)

Primi is a premature baby who can talk and identifies as Italian. His elderly guardians are hesitant, but Rabbi Aaron Sugerman is insistent:

"It's the law, Mrs Hartsdale. My hands are tied. God has tied my hands." He threatens them with a divine Holocaust but they say they'll think about it. They discuss it with Primi and the other freaks: Primi: I don' unnerstand.
Mrs H: Well they want to slice off the tip of your penis, dear.
Mr H: Yeah, just the tippy-tip of the skin. It's a Jewish tradition
Primi: Why Jews do thees?
Mrs H: It was something God told them to do 6000 years ago. Who knows what goes through God's crazy mind?
Primi: Maybe i's a practical joke.
Mrs H: Oh probably, but a very important one to these Jews. They also can't have shrimp. Huh, whaddaya think of that? They cut their babies' penises and they can't have shrimp.
The Bearded Clam, a boneless woman (stereotypical feminist): Well I am sorry but this is a barbaric antiquated practice. I mean it's mutilation. It's inhumane.
Tuck, the Siamese twin: It's not inhumane.
Benny, the other Siamese twin: Yeah, it's just highly unnecessary.
Log Cabin Republican (stereotypically gay): Can I just stick my nose in her for a second. As far as pure esthetics go, I don't think it's a good idea. It just ruins the look. Plus, docking is completely out of the question.
Mrs H: Well I think we need to ask Primi what he thinks. I mean, he is the future of Freak Show. Dear, how do you feel about this?
Primi: Mmm, well, if it means we can stay an'a Mrs Hartsdale get the [cow cozies?], I guess i's OK.
Mrs H: Oh, thank you, Primi.
Mr H: An' just leave your foreskin for the Foreskin Fairy.
Mrs H: And maybe he'll leave you a tooth.
Primi: Yay! (claps... stops clapping) Yay.

The other Freaks blind the mohel with pepper and rescue Primi from the "Made-up Company Name Circumcision Dome", replacing him with a cat. The cat is circumcised. The Jews use the foreskin ("With this foreskin I thee wed") to create a Messiah (who is more like a Golem).

This show has something to offend everybody, mainly Jews but also Catholics, Evangelicals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims and Scientologists, but it runs the same old themes: Circumcision is Jewish. Circumcision is trivial. The objections to circumcision are token. The disquiet is palpable.

Mind of Mencia broadcast January 9, 2007

Carlos Mencia makes fun of the "Fantastic Four" movie with the speaker of the voiceovers for movie previews.

Carlos:...Another one of the superheroes can stretch any of his body parts as far as he wants. Now if I could do that, I wouldn't be fighting crime, I'd be banging chicks in China from my couch. (applause) You know what I mean?
Voiceover Dude: One man, one couch, one extremely long penis - Fantastic Foreskin! (applause)
Voiceover Dude and Carlos Mencia
A rare instance of the foreskin not being denigrated - perhaps because Mencia and Voiceover Dude are both Hispanic.
Chelsea Handler, "European boyfriend." March 8, 2007.

The "comedy" (from 53" to 1'30") consists entirely of denigrating intact men (and non-Americans) - "You dirty, uncircumcised freak!" and it goes downhill from there. Just imagine switching the sexes.

Tracy Morgan, "Black & Blue" May 13, 2012

Hey, could you turn off the light?
You say that because you don't want her to know you're uncircumcised

The implication is that intactness is shameful.

In another segment, he talks about going to his brother's house, and his girlfriend saying

Well leave your penis here, why would you need it? It's uncircumcised anyways

This makes very little sense.

Workaholics

Official summary: "Adam, Blake and Ders come up with an unconventional and intimate method of interviewing applicants for a free spot in their cubicle."

The three are interviewing Zac Efron and an unattractive geek, with a clear bias towards Efron. (He lapdances with them, which they love, and don't want to geek to lapdance.) They pretend to be undecided until the geek suggests that for diversity they need a Jew. Efron annouces that he is a Jew, and they demand to see his penis as proof. He shows them and they are entranced by it. One asks if Leonardo da Vinci created it. The geek shows them (but not us) his, and they despise it, comparing it to "a reject from the Muppet Show" and "Gonzo", implying he is intact.

The Great Gonzo
The Great Gonzo
He walks out and they send more insults after him.

Subtexts: "Only Jews are circumcised" and "The foreskin is disgusting."

Daniel Tosh: Web Redemption, aired May 6, 2014


Daniel Tosh: Please don't get your kids circumcised
Signs off (7:31) : Please don't get your child circumcised, they lose 30% of the feeling.

An unprecedented direct appeal to the audience.

IGNything Goes: Quiz show in which contestants have to pick the real one of two unlikely statements. (Starts 1:03 in) link

Gavin Free: When I was growin' up I did have a lot of foreskin questions. I didn't put them on the Internet. I didn't put them on IGN. I just feel like - I'm not circumcised.

Chris Hardwick: WHAT! Get some Satanists in here and convert this man! [Satanists do not circumcise, but the previous question mentioned conversion to Judaism and Satanism.]

Gavin Free (calmly): I just did't feel like it was really doing what it should. Like it wasn't really covering anything.

Chris Hardwick: Listen, you can keep talking but everyone can't but picture your dick.

Gavin Free (smiles, makes gesture of acknowledgment): You're welcome.

The Judaism/Satanism reference adds confusion, but Hardwick's outburst could hardly do more to make intactness seem like a social/medical/religious emergency, and strangely parallels outbursts like Joan Rivers'.

ConanDecember 9th, 2010

Conan O'Brien: No, I've got, uh, just in honor of the last day of Hanukkah, I've got a special joke for you. This is true. It was in the news. It's been reported that many Orthodox Jews are starting to cautiously embrace the internet. Isn't that amazing? Yeah. (Light applause) Yeah, for example, they've already started sending spam e-mails offering to slightly decrease your penis size right after you're born." (Laughter and applause. Conan makes repeated cutting gestures.) I'm sure there's more to it than that.

Andy Richter: "Is that 'mohel.com'? Is that where that's from?"

It is a change to admit that circumcision reduces the size of the penis, but implicitly "Only Jews circumcise."

The Daily Show

Preview of March 2, 1999

- Hey, we gotta go, everybody. Check us out tomorrow night at 11 when we'll find out... (picture of a doctor's hand holding a scalpel over a naked newborn boy's penis) Is it too late to get it back?

March 2, 1999 - "Working for Tips": A bris is still a bris.

Good news for males who haven't been born yet. The American Academy of Pediatrics has concluded there's no overriding medical reason to perform circumcisions. Wow. Where were you guys in 1962? Opponents of circumcision claim it leaves long-term psychological scars and deminishes sexual pleasure, but experts say "So does growing up, dating, and getting married." Critics also contend that the procedure causes loss of sensation, penis curvature, and virtually closes the door to a career in European porn. While performing ritual circumcisions, many rabbis use a little wine on their finger as a form of anasthesia, which not only relieves some of the discomfort, but prepares the boy for a lifetime of using alcohol to kill the pain caused by his penis. (Laughter, applause and cheering, and a male audience member yells "Yeah!")

May 18, 1999 - (Interview with guest comedian Robert Schimmel, who discusses the birth of his newborn son) Robert: The weird thing was we had to decide on the circumcision in the hospital and, uh, you know, they said, "Do you really wanna get one or not get one" because I guess there's a big controversy now on whether you really have to or you don't. And I said, "I don't care". And my wife said, "Yeah, we should do it cause I don't like the way they look when they're not." And, uh, I said, "They? How many have you seen?" I mean, uh...

Jon: Yeah, I don't know if you want really your wife to be commenting on which penis she prefers. [Nothing about what the penis's owner prefers...]

Robert: Yeah. I didn't know she was an authority really cause I've only seen one on video and it was mine.

Jon: So, what, did you, did you go with it?

Robert: Yes, we did. And I was in there for it. My wife wouldn't be in there for it. She said, "I don't want him to hear my voice or connect me to the pain he's gonna go through. So, you go." And, uh, they brought smelling salts in and I said, "Wow, could he faint from this?" They said, "This is for you." And, uh, it's pretty scary.

Jon: Did you faint? Did you get woozy?

Robert: I got very woozy.

Jon: It's a tough thing to watch.

Robert: It's a very tough thing to watch. [even tougher to undergo...] They strap you down. And I was going, and he was crying, and I'm going, "You're a good boy. You're a good boy." And the doctor said, "Don't say that to him. That's negative reinforcement."

Jon: Right!

Robert: "You're a good boy. We're gonna cut your penis. Good boy! Snip! Hey!"

Jon: Did they keep, did they slap him at all or did they cut it or was there other stuff involved? Cause with me, that was that way. "Take it!" (Slap!) You know.

Robert: No, they put this dome over the top and screw this thing on and they have like a cookie cutter thing they use. (Audience groans) Hey, well, how else are you supposed to do it?

Jon: I don't know how. I don't have uh...

Robert: In the old days, they did it with a stone.

Jon: That's not so.

Robert: Yes, it is. They pull the thing up and...(makes slicing noise and motion while audience groans again)

Jon: How olden days are we talkin'? That's not like, we're not talkin' the fifties. I mean when when... when was that?

Robert: I think in biblical times, actually.

Jon: Well, that's good.

August 19, 1999 - "Mississippi Masada": Administrators at a Mississippi high school have banned Jewish 11th grader Ryan Green from displaying his Star of David, citing concerns that other students could mistake it for a gang symbol, and insist he remove it, wear it beneath his shirt or better yet a crucifix. Green, who has moved forward with a civil suit against the school, is especially worried the board's actions will make him afraid to express his beliefs in the future saying, "And how's all the hoochies s'pose to know I gots the dope circumcision?"

(John Stewart), April 20, 2005, soon after the election of Pope Benedict XVI:

I - I mean, - the whole Pope thing, I'll tell you, here's how wrong I was about this whole thing as far as the new Pope - . I had my money on [Joseph] Leiberman [D. Connecticut, vice-presidential candidate in 2000, well known to be Jewish]. (laughter) I thought for sure - I tell you what: conservative, religious, I thought, ur, (laughter) The only problem, apparently, ur, he's got (points downward with his pen) whaddaya call it there, the penis with the ur, (makes a slicing movement with his other hand) got the ur, (makes a sweeping movement over his head), ur, 'pparently, you wanna be the Pope, you gotta wear sump'n on your - (holds up both hands in despair). But, the important thing is - urr, I know nothing about anything.

Half of the humour is that he talks about circumcision without mentioning it. It plays on the fallacy that all and only Jews are circumcised (and perhaps deliberately plays on the fact that to be Pope a man must not have been castrated.)

Jon Stewart, September 15, 2011 (1:15)

Jon Stewart: What is your take on this whole vaccine issue? What is the vaccine about?

Kristen Schaal: Well, frankly, I'm just excited people are talking about women's health. Anything to distract us from the terribly polarizing circumcision debate. By the way, I vote yes. Not crazy about turtlenecks. You? What do you think?

Jon Stewart (flustered, freezes): How- How does the vaccine work?

The attack on intactness is gratuitous.

The Doctors

Broadcast November 19, 2008. Official summary: The Doctors count down the top five medical procedures for kids. Are these common surgeries really safe? And, circumcision comes under the knife; is it necessary or cosmetic? [Treatment of circumcision in The Doctors has been so consistently poor that a video has been made systematically dismantling it.]

Embarassing Illnesses (UK)

Channel 4 documentary

A 72 year old man presents with BXO. He was partially (or badly) circumcised ten years before and has become reinfected. The doctor recommends a further circumcision. At the start of the programme the doctor says "If you come to see us, we are not necessarily going to chop it off," (a remark apparently intended to reassure against castration anxiety, not circumcison anxiety.) The programme provides an information page on the subject.

Extreme Male Beauty (UK)

Channel 4 series: 1. pecs, 2. penis, 3. abs, 4. face.
(Official summary of programme 2) Having spent two weeks trying to increase the size of his pecs, Tim [Shaw] turns to a more personal project - getting a bigger penis.

To answer the question "What sort of penis do women find most attractive?" he had a long screen with pelvis-high holes in it, and five naked men stood behind it with their genital regions on show. (One was Shaw himself. Viewers complained that at 7.5" he was just showing off.) In introducing them he said, of the single circumcised example,

Shaw: "....and this is Mr C. We thought we'd better have an example of that." None of the women paid any special attention to Mr C. except one ("who looked as if she must have experienced more than her fair share of dicks in her time" - a correspondent) who claimed she had never seen a circumcised one. The penis voted most attractive had "a visible but not exaggerated overhang".

Illustrating that circumcision in the UK is a minor curiosity.

The Graham Norton Show

2008, Series 4, Episode 12, Graham is showing his guests Davina McCall and Jack Dee a book of the story of Christmas, illustrated with scenes made of Lego.

Graham: Page 16: 'After eight days passed, it was time for the child to be circumcised.'

Davina: No! No!

Graham: Do you want to see it?

Davina: Yes. (Graham shows the picture from the book of a Lego baby Jesus being circumcised by another Lego man)

Circumcision of Jesus in Lego

Davina: "No! Oh, no! No!" (audience laughter. Davina appears horrified and puts her hands over her mouth. Jack Dee grimaces)

Graham: That's in shops. You can buy it.

To Norton and his UK audience, circumcision is somewhat outlandish and purely religious - but not to be shown to children, even as Lego. See also V. Graham Norton

Inside Out

(Current affairs, BBC North and East Cumbria), September 5, 2005

Reine Dohami says she is fleeing a voodoo cult which will force her into marriage, circumcise her and scar her limbs with knife cuts.

As usual, female circumcision is (rightly) treated as unequivocally evil.

Jeff Dunham - Minding the Monsters

Jeff Dunham is a ventriloquiest, whose dummy, Walter, is a Frankensteinian Creature

(5:43)

Walter: Franken-stein; sounds like a Jewish name. (Jeff is bemused) You think Dr Frankenstein was Jewish?

Jeff: I dunno.

Walter: That'd explain a lot. ... That explains why his monster was angry all the time.

Jeff: Why?

Walter: Because he circumcised the poor bastard! Now that changes the movie completely! "He's killing the villagers because he's deranged!" "No he's not, his weiner hurts." ...

Jeff: Walter, you went from Frankenstein to circumstition - cision (he cracks up)

Walter: Focus! What the hell is "circumstition"? Sounds like something they cut out of the Constitution. Just the top part.

Jeff: All right.

Walter: Yep, by the forefathers....

The first segment makes only the safe points that "Circumcision is Jewish" and "Adult circumcision is painful". The second appears to be not a reference to these pages but a genuine slip, a repeat of the "st" of "Frankenstein" within "circumcision", a common kind of slip of the tongue.

Joan and Melissa Rivers show

(April 8, 2000, E! Television) re-capping the recent Academy Awards (Oscars) show and the fashions the stars were wearing. At the end of the show, male dancers in kilts/skirts (and tights) surround Joan, who sings. Near the end she falls to the ground for dramatic effect, looks up one of the dancers' kilts and says, "Please, call a rabbi and have that thing taken care of: I'll pay for it!"

Imagine if she had told a Black dancer she would pay to have him bleached. Note also the ultimate euphemism "taken care of" for precisely the reverse.

Kingdom of David: Saga of the Israelites

(PBS) Episode: The Book and The Sword First broadcast: 2003

Briefly mentions that Hellenised Jews underwent cosmetic procedures to hide their circumcision in order to complete in the games, in which participants were nude.

A rare acknowledgement that circumcision can be (partially) reversed.
Thanks to NORM-UK

Kathy Griffin: My Life On The D-List

Comedy "reality" show

Kathy Griffin is taking her first trip to London to promote her show, soon to be shown in the UK. She tells her assistants Jessica, Tiffany, and Tom that most of the men in England are uncircumcised. Jessica and Tiffany seem disgusted. Tom asks if it is indeed true that most European men are uncircumcised. Kathy says that while she is there, she wants to go on a date with an uncircumcised man, apparently just to shock them.

Implicitly, "the foreskin is disgusting."

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
US

October 23, 2008

Interviewing John Malkovich about the film "Changling", he asks (at 2'55") if Malkovitch "wears his cap to dinner" and indicates that he does too.

February 14, 2012

In his opening monologue, he mentions going to the doctor for his annual physical. After calling the check of his prostate, "the finger test" he continues:

Before the finger test, this is true, this actually happened today.....I'm not kidding, the doctor....before the finger test, he checks out your junk to make sure everything..... you know..... is where it should be. I'm European. You know what I'm saying? Certain parts of my body are different from many Amercan born men. Let's just say my captain wears his cap to dinner. So my doctor....I mean he's seen this before but today he looks at it and goes 'You know....I can fix that up for you.'

I'm like 'What do you mean?'

He said 'You know.....tidy it up.'

I'm like 'Leave it alone!'

Soliciting for unnecessary surgery is malpractice.

February 20, 2013 Anyway, it's still not clear how much the stolen diamonds are worth. Experts say it's hard to figure it out because most of the diamonds were uncut. Now, for some women, that's a real treat. (audience laughter) A lot of people like uncut jewels. (audience laughter) I'm not originally from here is what I'm saying. So, Craig, what you're saying is 'YES!'. So, my captain still wears his cap to dinner."

March 8, 2013

Craig and guest Zach Braff are discussing the high-school-set pilot episode they made together in 1989, called "High".

Zach (holding up a photo of a pantomine donkey costume): Do you remember the plotline of this?

Craig: Yeah. It was something about I was the teacher from another country and you were kids. That's all I know.

Zach: No, the plotline of this horse is so really bizarre. This wouldn't get on the air now. And they tried to get it on the air then.

Craig: It didn't get on the air then.

Zach: To tell it very quickly, the quarterback, they had done his circumcision wrong and so they had re-done it. And he couldn't get an erection cause it would tear his stitches that had just been done. But, they wanted him to go in the donkey costume with the hot, sexy cheerleader played by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Craig: I remember, yeah!

Zach: And then, he sees her beautiful bottom and he freaks out because he can't tear his stitches by getting an erection. That's for CBS Television.

Craig: Wow. Wow.

Zach: (Sarcastically) I can't believe it didn't get picked up.

Craig: I, you know, God. (both laugh, then continue the interview)

Not so difficult. They would do it without using the words "circumcision", "penis" or "erection" but with lots of nudges and winks. The scenario is not uncommon [sans donkey costume or Gwyneth Paltrow], yet nobody questions that the skin should be so tight post-circumcision that it is in danger of tearing.

Late Night with Conan O'Brian

WNBC August 6, 2003
A segment called "In The Year 2000".

Rosanne Barr: In the year 2000 scientists will discover that the foreskin is the biological center of happiness and contentment. Jews all over the world will say, "It figures." [ laughter ]

Repeating the myth that only Jews circumcise.

The Late Show with David Letterman
US

May 23, 2005 (Show #2371)

Letterman talks about how popular the latest 'Star Wars' movie is:

"... I saw a Rabbi out on XXXX Street with a light saber performing a bris."
(audience laughs)

Messages: "Circumcision = Jewish" "Circumcision is trivial/quick/painless" (think of Luke Skywalker losing his hand). In fact, this image has an uncomforatable similarity to the emasculation of the late David Reimer during his circumcision.

Live at the Apollo
UK

Stand-up comedy, BBC One, December 5, 2008, 24 minutes in. Torrent link

Shappi Khorsandi (Iranian-born comedienne): My mother asked me if I was going to have my son circumcised; so I said, "Well, not unless he's really naughty."

In Britain, circumcision may be considered as punishment, with castration as subtext.

Mad TV
US

Episode #1205 (Nov. 11, 2006)

In a series of Terry Gilliam-esque sketches, the People magazine cover photo of Madonna's newly adopted son, David Banda, aged 1, talks to the audience about how great it is to be adopted by the former pop star. In the last sketch, he says it sucks having to be circumcised (just because Madonna wants him to be), but he'll be rich.

Madonna adopted David from Malawi. She is a devotee of Kaballah, a mystical adjunct to Judaism. Her wish to circumcise, and his father's objection, have not been confirmed outside gossip columns.

Mama waarom ben ik besneden?
Mum, why was I circumcised?
Netherlands, 2004

A Dutch documentary (with English subtitles) covering most of the main issues. by Michael Schaap (shows several circumcisions, not for the squeamish) Translated summary.

Man and Wife
US

MTV sex and relationship advice show hosted by DJ/rapper Fatman Scoop and wife Shonda

Scoop: Are there different ways to deal with a penis that's circumcised than uncircumcised?"

Shonda: Good ways. Nice, fun ways.

(Scoop swats at her with his papers)

Female guest from audience: I have to answer this. I'm sorry. From what I've heard '...

Shonda: Yeah, me too.

Guest: ... but there are pros and cons to both and no one should feel bad about having one or the other. It can work.

(Two people in the audience applaud)

Shonda: I have something to say about uncircumcised men. From what I've heard that my friends said, as long as they're clean...

(Groans and laughs from audience

Shonda: ...that you can have really great intimacies with people with what I like to say 'a anteater' 'cause it has that kind of look to it.

Scoop: Right.

Shonda: And you can just you can pull back, you know what I mean, and have a lot of fun as you would if it wasn't an anteater.

  • Bends over backward not to let cut men feel inferior
  • Implies that an intact penis is inherently unclean
  • The old "anteater" insult (no mention that a circumcised penis looks like a fireman's helmet, for example).
  • The old "make it look circumcised and then treat it as if it is circumcised" advice.
  • No suggestion that intact men might be asked about what they like.

Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby

Episode 2, first aired November 8, 2010 Child and adult TV actor Mario Lopez in a reality show about his LA life with his girlfriend, Courtney Mazza, and the baby they were expecting.

The episode is dominated by the couple's discussion of circumcision. Lopez states clearly that he's intact and glad he is, and argues convincingly that the foreskin is functional and normal. He's willing to "die on the hill" for this issue, which his girlfriend interprets as arrogance and stubbornness. She's somewhat intrigued by the idea of circumcision and wants to explore it further.

Both families go on vacation together to a private resort in Mexico. There, Courtney's sister and brother-in-law encourage her to go behind Mario's back and have the baby circumcised anyway.

Lopez boldly brings up the subject at the dinner table one night, and finds himself alone in his support of the foreskin - which nevertheless does not waver one iota. Even his own sister, Marissa, argues for circumcision and claims that her son felt no pain during the procedure. Out of 7 males at the 15-person dinner, Lopez appears to be the only intact one.

In the end, the couple decide they won't circumcise a son, but Courtney is NOT happy about it. She still contends that sex was awkward with Lopez initially because of the "weirdness" of his foreskin, and she calls it a turtleneck. She worries out loud that her son will be teased for being uncut (rather unlikely in California), that hygiene is better among circumcised boys and men, and that his future wife will naturally prefer him to be circumcised.

Their final compromise is that if the child is a boy, he remains intact, but if a girl, Courtney can choose her name. (She is: Gia Francesca.)

Mischief
BBC, UK

Circumcise Me? January December 5, 2006 http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcthree/mischief/circumcise_me.shtml

Official synopsis: Mischief goes looking for the answer to a question people have been asking for thousands of years - is it better to be circumcised or not?

Most American men are circumcised, whereas Brits prefer to keep their foreskin intact. So is it better to be circumcised or not? Is it healthier? Sexier? Or are circumcised men and their lovers missing out?

The entire programme is now on Vimeo and YouTube:

The programme takes a light-hearted approach: two "uncircumcised" men undertake research to find out whether they are missing anything . It starts with the common view that being circumcised is the preferable state (interviewing many young Americans, on Castro St, San Francisco, Venice Beach and Los Vegas, almost all of who said circumcised penises were better, some telling the interviewers to get circumcised, none giving any indication of having any idea what a foreskin is or does) but gradually weans viewers onto the opposing view.

Those interviewed include The Times medical columnist Dr Thomas Stuttaford (cut), Kristen O'Hara, Ron Low, Michael Wilks and Edgar Schoen. The interview with the O'Haras made fun of their mechanical analogies, and focused on the one who wasn't speaking. (Two people from NORM-UK were interviewed but were left on the cutting room floor.)

Three young "doctors" (medical students?) were interviewed and recited without hesitation that the medical reasons for circumcision were phimosis, paraphimosis and recurrent balanitis.

"Cut" or "uncut" appears under the names of all those who spoke, illustrating that it is the victims who wish to inflict it on others. To ensure the point is not missed, Christopher Sykes concludes the programme by saying that in his view the baby should be left intact, but then, he is uncut.

Dr Michael Wilks (BMA Head of Ethics, uncut) describes American "routine" circumcision as "a profoundly unethical practice."

(These pages appear fleetingly at 1:38)

Montel (formerly The Montel Williams Show)
US

December 5, 2005 'Medical Horrors'
http://www.montelshow.com/

Guest Darla [Harper] told Williams how Dennis Momah, a GP, pretended to be his twin brother Charles, her Ob/Gyn, and sexually harassed her during examinations before the birth of her son.

She agreed to let him circumcise the baby at his clinic to "avoid any financial obligation". He said he "would be more than willing to do it and that it would be better for everybody."

He took the baby away and didn't return until 45 minutes later, sweating profusely and acting nervous: "We had a problem. ... Sometimes during a circumcision, it's very common that you cut too deep and you cut an artery.... but it's OK because I just cauterized it back together."

When she got home she discovered the baby's diaper filled with blood and his penis "dark in color because the cauterization had burned the flesh." Not only that but the doctor "had dropped the instrument, so [the baby] was burned down his stomach, across his penis and his testicles." The 'doctor' had assured her that "it was very common, don't worry about it, everything is fine."

When Darla or her mother appeared on screen, she was captioned "Her baby (or her grandson) was scarred while being circumcised" [They all are.]

The brothers are being sued by both her and her son, and by numerous other women.

(followup)

My Penis and Everyone Else's
UK

BBC3 2007. Self-made documentary by Lawrence Barraclough, a sequel to My Penis and I (below), exploring men's ambivalent feelings towards their penises, especially their anxiety about size

Jared is undergoing penis enlargement surgery.

Lawrence: To add girth, the doctors will remove sections of fat from Jared's bum - and then after peeling back his foreskin, sew them inside his penis. [Jared is plainly circumcised.]

Lawrence goes to Dr Emma Stafford, senior lecturer at Leeds University, to discuss classical attitudes towards penis size, and shows her (with much mirth) the plaster cast of his (circumcised) penis:

Dr Emma Stafford: I think they'd say you were the ideal man, really.

Over the Internet, Lawrence organises an exhibition of self-taken penis pictures, "Snap Your Chap".

Exhibition guest: Well I dunno 'cause I'm not circumcised, but I sort of can't imagine how you wank without a foreskin.

Lawrence (from behind, unclear): ... there's a sensitive area, and once you've got that ... (gestures with two fingers)

Guest: You kind of like - press and rub?

The only mention of circumcision in the entire show, despite the source of Lawrence's anxiety (next).

My Penis and I
UK

Self-made documentary by Lawrence Barraclough about his anxiety about the size of his penis. He interviews his girlfriend, his mother, doctors, psychologists, porn stars, a Rugby team making a nude calendar, the "Puppetry of the Penis" performers, Cyntha Plaster Caster and the Small Penis Support Group. The last two give him some comfort...

Almost in passing, he mentions that his anxiety began after he was circumcised at the age of ten for

"phimosis - what this means is that the foreskin becomes unusually tight - so much so that it can't be drawn back from the head of the penis. It [drawing it back] causes incredible pain [...so don't do it]. Most doctors use circumcision as a form of treatment, although it has been treated with steroids and stretching ... I was circumcisised at the age of 10, just before going to high school.

...

To mother: So I had the circumcision and after that I became more aware of the size. What did you feel about it being done at such a late period?
Mother: I thought psychologically it might affect you, yes. I didn't think it would affect you as much as it did. You really did go off your head, you know.
Lawrence: Do you think it's still affecting me?
Mother (missing the point): Like I say, I don't think there's any need for people to worry about what size they are. It's what they do with it that's important.
Lawrence: People don't like to talk about it.
Mother: Well they should talk about it, shouldn't they. And you should have talked about it to me before now, not let it be so long ...
Lawrence (over her): And how you feel about the fact that I still have this problem...?
Mother: Well, you shouldn't have this problem. You've got a good relationship and that's up to you. What you've got between your legs it's ... it's in your head that relationships come from and you should be able to put the two together.

...

Lawrence (voice over): I decided to go and see Dr David Ralph about having my penis surgically enlarged.
Doctor: Now, tell me what the problem is.
Lawrence: I was circumcised at a late age an ever since then - I'm not sure if it's an actual physical problem - about the size of my penis.

(After being examined)

Lawrence: I'm not tempted by surgery. The idea of going back under anaesthetic and under a surgeons' knife for the sake of my penis at the moment is not an option. It was surgery that caused the problem in the first place, and I doubt if surgery is going to solve that problem.

...a pity he didn't interview NORM-UK

The Pickup Artist

"Reality" show in which "lovable losers" compete to learn the art of seduction from "Mystery" (Erik von Markovik)

Pradeep talks too much:

Pradeep: ... I keep talking and talking and talking, and I don't know when to stop. The entire world doesn't need to know that, y'know, I ____ my pants, and that I'm uncircumcised.

Clearly he perceives being intact as not just too much information, but a social gaffe like ____ing his pants.

Politically Incorrect

A talk show encouraging conflict. Broadcast February 1, 2002

Host Bill Maher: All right. Now, you were saying, Jack, that we should boycott things we don't believe in. What about diamonds? I have mentioned this on the show many times before, and I've never had a woman agree with me. Because women love diamonds, and they hate to hear the fact that diamonds have a lot of blood on them. I'm sorry, but not only do the terrorists funnel a lot of their money to the diamond trade, because it can't be traced, but even before that, many areas in Africa are controlled by rebel groups. They wanna control the areas with the diamond mines, so they terrorize the population. They cut off children's arms. And I said to a woman -- the nicest person in the world, I said to her, "Do you know that they cut off children's arms to get diamonds?" And she said, "Both arms?" (Audience "oh"s)

Katherine LaNasa: I think we should boycott 'em. I think at the same time maybe we should, you know, stop circumcising our male children. I mean, we're not nomadic Jews. I mean, that's ritual. That's custom.
Bill: That's health.
Katherine: Oh, really? You needed to be circumcised to be clean these days? We're not traveling in the desert no longer.
Cristina Saralequi: How do you know he's circumcised? (Laughter)
Katherine: I didn't say I did.
Cristina: I'm really interested. (Laughter)
Katherine: I didn't say I did.
Bill: That's a very astute point.
[Not really. Intact men don't defend circumcision as "health".]
Katherine: But what I'm saying is that, you know, that's a ritual. That's ritual. That's custom. There is no need for it anymore. There is no need for a male to be circumcised in this country.
Christopher Titus: But there is a need for diamonds.
(Talking over each other)
Cristina: This whole thing is ritual arm cutting off. Hold on.
Katherine: What I'm saying is, we don't have to --
4% to 5% of diamonds are, you know, supposedly these bloody diamonds which lead to the point of massacre of children. But here, we massacre our male children every day because of ritual.
Bill: Massacre? You can't really compare losing your limbs to --
Katherine: Why do you do it, though? There's no point.
Bill: Well, first of all, I was 6 days old when they did it. I didn't have a big say. [Exactly!] Second of all --
Katherine: Here we are looking at Africa [and saying "]Look at how bad their policy is. Look at all that,["] and here we are right now, every day.
Bill: I don't believe you compare cutting off people's arms with circumcision!
[Not as equivalent, but she is comparing a distant, fairly rare atrocity, with a nearby frequent one.]
Katherine: You know, welcome to the world! Let's take part of your [bleep] off! I don't get it. ( Audience ohs )
Christopher: Hey, hey, you don't have to say it like that. [Circumcision would be different if she said it some other way?]
Katherine: And for no other reason but ritual, which is exactly what engagement rings are. It's no different.[Certainly an ingenious way to bring these topics back together!]
Jack Burkaman: It couldn't be more different. The way you started out with this --
Bill: You're a bright girl [patronising], but that's really --
Katherine: What is so far out about that?
Bill: You're comparing cutting off children's arms to cutting off the end of a penis of a little baby for --
Christopher: Snipping.
Not cutting, snipping.
Bill: Snipping.

[Obviously neither knows what circumcision really entails. This has gone into the Circumsurdities page.]

Katherine: For what? For ritual?
Bill: It's not really just ritual. It's because --I don't wanna get too graphic here, but there is some sort of a Schmegma-like substance --

(Talking over each other. The topic of circumcision does not re-emerge)

A fairly typical exchange of loud and hasty ignorance.

QI

A BBC comedy quiz show with very difficult questions but awarding points for answers that are "Quite Interesting". The theme of each episode is a word beginning with the the letter assigned consecutively to each series.
Series B, episode 4, "Bble" first broadcast October 22, 2004

Steven Fry: If you've had a little snip here [hinting at the crotch], what are you?

Alan Davies: You're... uh... impotent!—

Steven Fry: You're Jewish!

Remarkably wrong for Fry: Circumcision is not "a little snip". Vasectomy is, and if Davies meant "infertile" he would be correct. If circumcised, you could be Muslim, American, South Korean, Filipino, tribal African, Melanesian, Eastern Polynesian or outback indigenous Australian.

Series I Episode 7 "Incomprehensible" first broadcast October 21, 2011

Stephen Fry recounted as fact the (poorly-attested) story that a 17th century Vatican librarian, Leo Allatius, thought Jesus had turned his foreskin into a ring of Saturn on his ascension.

The Quest for the Holy Foreskin

National Geographic channel, first broadcast December 24, 2013

Travel writer David Farley travels to the Italian town of Calcata to look into the mysterious disappearance of a holy relic from the town in 1983 - the foreskin believed to have belonged to Jesus Christ [actually, something believed to be the foreskin that belonged to Jesus Christ - there's very little likelihood that it was someone else's foreskin.]

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

"Reality" series following the lives of relatively affluent, bourgeois housewives and professional women in the suburbs of Atlanta, as a counter to the soap opera Desparate Housewives.

Phaedra Parks is preparing to give birth. A friend helps her pack for the big day.

LaToya: Have you guys decided to circumcise him?
Phaedra: Yeah... that, yeah, yeah.
LaToya: That's another thing, you know. You have to have ointment for that.
Phaedra: Wait, so I need to buy circumcision ointment?
LaToya: Well, well, they'll give you something. You know, I can't remember if they put just Vaseline back in the day.
Phaedra: Put a big question mark, T, and let's put, uh, penis ointment.

Indicating how little advice parents are given before deciding to circumcise, and perhaps how little thought they give the decision.

Season 4, Episode 4: "Jewels Be Dangled"

Famecrawler, November 28, 2011

Whether or not you decide to have a circumcision performed on your son is a very personal decision. But if you're a Real Housewife, then it ain't personal…it's on TV for all to know about.

On the most recent Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kim Zolick and (now) husband Kroy Biermann openly discussed the plans for circumcision of their (soon-to-be-born) baby boy.

What did Kim say?

Kim was very "worried about the penis" and got instruction from a baby specialist on what she needed to know in regards to diaper changing and the circumcision process. Kim asked "Does it hurt them?" Kroy said that grown men who have it done as babies, "don't remember it."

Many parents who have their boys circumcised do so for religious reasons or due to just a family tradition but Kim's reasoning? She said, "I don't want him growing up with his pee-pee wearing a turtleneck."

Kim also addressed the issue on Twitter saying, "Circumcision is a choice I preferred to have KJ circumcised! Its all in ur beliefs and what u prefer!"


Wet Paint
December 4, 2011

Kim Zolciak Calls Cynthia Bailey and Peter Thomas Classless, Is Happy She Didn’t Attend Kandi Burruss’ Birthday Party

By Samantha Leffler

... For those of you wondering whether little KJ was, in fact, circumcised, Kim revealed, “We did not want our son to have to go through life with his penis looking like a pig in a blanket. So snip, snip, snip ... I'm sure KJ and his future wife will thank us later. You're welcome, son!”


Poptimal
December 4, 2011

The Real Housewives of Atlanta Review: The Horror

By Lauren Tyree

Next, we get Kim and Kroy meeting with a baby consultant or something like that. Kim is nervous about having a boy, because she doesn’t “know what to do with a penis.” I doubt that very much. This scene goes on interminably with lots more talk about penises and wiping and diapering, in addition to a discussion on the time-honored sacred ritual of hacking off little baby’s delicate foreskin, now just mostly out of habit. Kim doesn’t want all that stupid, useless extra skin, which she calls a “turtleneck,” on her child’s nether regions. Poor kid is already deemed physically defective by default, and he’s not even born yet! Then again, he does have a smokin’ hot, A-list mom to keep up with, and we wouldn’t want him compromising her stylin’ image.

Real Time with Bill Maher
US

Broadcast November 8, 2008
Discussing the passing of Proposition 8 in California that outlawed gay marriage, comedian Howie Mandel suggests outlawing circumcision instead.

It seems clear he really does resent having been circumcised.

Rich Girls
US

Broadcast November 18, 2003
An unscripted show in which an MTV camera crew follows around 18-year old Ally Hilfiger, daughter of fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger, and her best friend Jaime Gleicher.

Ally is making herself up when when her ex-boyfriend, Charlie O walks into her huge bathroom/closet. She offers him a tube of lotion.

Ally: Want some penis skin?

Charlie O. (puzzled): Hmm?

Ally (grinning): Want some penis skin? My Dad and Lizzie and my Mother use this. It's the foreskin of a baby's penis. And they put it on their face. Isn't that disgusting! I'm gonna do it. Wanna watch?

Charlie O (laughing and scratching his head): Whadda they do? Do, like, crazy people sit at the hospital, like, collecting all the circumcised babies' foreskins?

Time lag. Ally is applying some of the cream to Charlie O.'s face.

Ally: There. Just rub it in.

Charlie O: Rub it in where?

Ally: Just go like this around your eyes. Like this. Pat. Got it.

Charlie O: Yeah, um, I don't I think I was made for this stuff.

Ally seems to be disgusted (at first) only that people put something made from foreskins on their faces. The idea that pillaging part of babies' genitals is in itself disgusting does not seem to occur to her.

Saturday Night Live

(NBC) December 18, 2005, host Jack Black

  1. Darlene Love, song parody: "Christmastime for the Jews" about 'what Jews do on Christmas'. includes the line "circumcising grateful squirrels in the city park"

  2. Tina Fey, Weekend Update:
    (graphic: New York city skyline, Star of David, knife, "Circumcisions Questioned")
    Tina: New York City officials said Tuesday that they had identified two new cases in which infants were infected with herpes during a circumcision ritual in which the practitioner, or mohel, sucks the blood from the the circumcision to clean the wound. Added the officials, "Now if you excuse us, we're going to barf forever."
  1. implies only Jews circumcise, but

  2. quite remarkably seems to condemn not just metzitzah (and more boldly than even Mayor Bloomberg dared) but circumcision as a whole,

"Weekend Update Thursday - Original airdate October 16, 2008

In a parody of a presidential candidates' debate between "John McCain" and "Barack Obama", the moderator "Bob Scheiffer" (Chris Parnell) asks about the words used in each candidate's campaign attack ads.

"Gentlemen, over the last few weeks, the tone of this campaign has become increasingly nasty. Senator Obama, in describing your opponent, your campaign has used words like 'erratic,' 'out of touch,' 'lying,' 'losing his bearings,' 'senile,' 'dementia,' 'nursing home,' 'decrepit,' and 'at death's door.' Senator McCain, your ads have featured terms (describing Obama) such as 'disrespectful', 'dangerous', 'foreign', 'sleeper agent', and 'uncircumcised'." Are you both comfortable with this level of discourse?"

It is a backhanded compliment to common sense that "uncircumcised" is used to climax a list of absurd insults.

Original airdate February 14, 2009

Three businessmen (Alec Baldwin, Will Forte, and Bill Hader) are discussing when they should hold their next meeting.

Will Forte: "Okay, oh, how about Thursday?"

Alec Baldwin: "Uh, can't do Thursday. I'm going to a bris. I'm kinda nervous. I hope it doesn't hurt as much as my first one."

A step forward to say outright that circumcision, even Brit Milah, hurts.

The Soup
2009

Current affairs comedy. July 17th, 2009

Host Joel McHale shows a clip of "The View" in which Barbara Walters describes her reactions to close-up shots of penises and graphic depictions of anal and oral sex in the film Brüno.

Mc Hale: Barbara went on to say in her day, the penises were kept in men's trousers and weren't circumcised. Then she gave the talkie only one out of five lit candles, ate her creamed corn, and beat Joy ("View" co-host Joy Behar) senseless with a cane made out of her original hip.

The intention is apparently to present intactness as "old-fashioned". But in fact Barbara Walters has gratuituously promoted (male) circumcision and would not be nostaligic for intactness.

Sticky Moments
U K, 1989

Game show hosted by ultra-camp Julian Clary.

In his autobiography he writes:

At no point could they ever hope to get a question right. All the questions were just set-ups for gags, and the awarding of points was entirely at my discretion. This way I could ensure that the best-value punters made it through to the end. For example:

Question: Which L is the most important ingredient ins .a marriage?
Answer: Lager.

Question: True or false: all condoms are individually numbered.
Answer: True. You've obviously never unrolled one far enough.

Question: Complete the quotation - 'Is that a pistol in your pocket...?'
Answer: Or is your penis engorged with blood?

Question: Complete the quotation - 'Cupid, draw back your...?'
Answer: Foreskin.

His British audience would take having one for granted.

Sylvania Waters
Australia, 1996

An early "reality" show in which cameras track a dysfunctional family day and night, and broadcast edited highlights.

The Age (Melbourne)

PAMELA BONE reports.

ONE had to feel sorry for baby Kane, with a blood-stained bandage sticking to his poor little penis in an episode of the ABC's recent documentary-soap, ‘Sylvania Waters'.

However, as Paul, his father, lovingly explained to the baby,

"It has to be done because when Daddy was a little boy and he went to the toilet with the other kids, the ones that weren't circumcised were laughed at. They weren't normal because they weren't circumcised." Even so, Paul said, he had to cry himself when he saw the tears running down the baby's face after the cut. But was little Kane's pain necessary? Because, contrary to what Paul believes, by the time Kane goes to school he is more likely to be different because he is circumcised. A generation ago parents who didn't want their baby boy circumcised had to take a firm stand. Today it is parents who do want their child circumcised who have to take a stand

- The Age (Melbourne), 2 December 1996, p. 6 Full text

The Tonight Show

(1965) Ed Ames (who guest starred as "Mingo" on the Daniel Boone TV series with Fess Parker) was throwing a tomahawk at a life-sized outline of a man, drawn on a wooden target. It landed in the crotch area of the outline, to the guest's embarrassment.

Johnny Carson: "I didn't know you were Jewish."
(much laughter)
Yet again "Circumcision = Jewish"

Tribe
UK

BBC2 reality show in which Bruce Parry lives with various tribal peoples as one of them. Series 1, Komabai. Execuive Producer: Sam Organ

Parry undergoes a penis inversion ritual (NSFW) among the Kombai tribe of Papua New Guinea in which "They rolled my foreskin..." (1:30).

Both he and the tribesmen take it for granted that he has a foreskin. (Compare this circumcised man's experience.)

V. Graham Norton
UK

A talk show with a very camp host. He gets the audience to tell embarassing stories about themselves, phones people with strange fetish websites, and interviews celebrities. Quick double entendres are his specialty.

When he interviewed Texas girl group the Dixie Chicks, they referred to "aardvarks", adding that nearly all men in the UK had an aardvark, whereas nearly all men in the USA had not. When Graham looked puzzled one of the girls grinned impishly and, in explanation, imitated a pair of scissors with her fingers. "Snip, snip," she giggled saucily. Even Graham seemed to be caught off balance.


Alan Cumming

English singer Alan Cumming told Graham in 2002 that when singing in New York, he discovered that his make-up artist had never seen an intact penis, so he showed her his. Her reaction seems to have been of disappointment - she had expected that it would look more like a pedal bin.


Graham rang a German called Eric whose website features his skiing fetish. He liked putting snow under his Vorhaut, and Graham pretended he thought Vorhaut meant "forehead", guest Ivana Trump refused to tell him, so the audience did.

The US secular custom is not well-known overseas.

Whose Line Is It, Anyway?
(US version)

[A theatresports improvisation gameshow]

The set topic is "Questions not to ask after heavy drinking":

Greg Proops: (with hands shaking) Now, hvere's this boy I'm gonna circumcise?

"The world's worst priest or rabbi":

Colin Mockery: Gimme the baby, I've had a liddle dring' (swings widely) [Whoops!]

Drew Carey (as Jerry Lewis): Hand me the knife, hand me the baby ...

Reminiscent of the corresponding scene in Seinfeld, these invite us to laugh at a real problem, and (by using a Yiddish accent) reinforces the myth that all circumcision is Jewish. (Of course, it's harder to suggest a doctor with voice alone, but a confident, bossy, formal tone and an expression like "Now then,..." would do it. And unlike scripted programming, they have no time to reflect on the prejudices they are reflecting.)


Contestants are improvising with a prop resembling a large foam two-legged stool. A contestand puts it on his head (so the legs resemble Orthodox ringlets) and asks: Who's up for circumcision? Another contestant raises his hand.

Again the identification of circumcision as exclusively Jewish (and as a fit subject for comedy).


On the other hand:
Charles "Chip" Esten is a bartender, Ryan Styles a customer with a broken zipper, who improvises a song about tucking "it" in his sock. Chip: ...don't get angry, don't be too surprised.
It could be worse, you could be - circumcised.
World's Dumbest Inventions

A comedy novelty show featuring new inventions. The hosts mock them all.

One of the devices, called the "Krustbuster", clamps around a sandwich, cutting the crusts off. One of the commentators quipped, "Krustbuster sounds like something for a guy who isn't circumcised!"

Whatever he meant by this - whether as a device to circumcise, or to remove "crusts" - it underlines that no insult is too brutal to be used on US TV against intact men.

(Additional contributions are welcome. email me.)

Related pages:

Return to the Intactivism index page.