This essay explores the use of swear words in stand-up comedy. Employing examples from the performances of two comedians who work the Midwest regional comedy club circuit, I analyze the non-referential pragmatic functions served by employing the register of dirty words. I critique flat-footed readings of the comedic use of obscenity, including that which informs recent Supreme Court censorship rulings, and argue instead for recognition of the communicative artistry displayed in such work.