Bent pussycat, straight camel

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alexB2

Member
Russian
There’s a comedy sketch by Woody Allen called The Army. I’m still not sure if you can post a youtube link here or not so to be on the safe side and not to infringe anybody’s rights I won’t. It’s the first hit on Google search by the way.
An acquaintance of mine believes that Allen’s humor is pure and innocent, devoid of obscenities, foul language a lot of today’s stand up comedians often stoop to. So here is this sketch and there’s a line there:

… they finally opened up in my neighbourhood, in Flatbush, a damaged pet shop. They sold damaged pets at discount, y'know, you could get a bent pussycat if you wanted, a straight camel, y'know.

Is my acquaintance right or there’s a measure of dirt after all in those bent pussy cat and straight camel words? And also, do you find the sketch funny, because, honestly, as much as I hate this all below the waistline humor I can’t find anything funny in the sketch other than aforementioned lines. ))
 
  • You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    And also, do you find the sketch funny, because, honestly, as much as I hate this all below the waistline humor I can’t find anything funny in the sketch other than aforementioned lines.
    I don't find it at all funny. The correlation between a bent pussycat and a straight camel with damaged pets doesn't really make sense to me. But then I've always found Woody Allen a little hard to understand. :rolleyes::)

    Edit: Maybe he's making a connection between a 'bent' pussycat (a gay cat) with psychological damage. And is the straight camel one that doesn't have a curved hump?!!! Who knows the workings of Woody Allen's mind?
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Some of you people have suspicious minds! Pussycats are the most straightforward of animals - they are pure self-interest with a smooth back. So if one was bent, it would be damaged.

    Camels on the other hand are devious, wicked and bumpy-backed. So a damaged one might well end up straight.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    I read it as a play on bent (gay) and straight (heterosexual). Cats generally speaking have straight backs, while camels have humps (a 'bent' back, if you will). As Keith says, a physically 'bent' cat is 'damaged' in that it is deformed in some way or another, and a physically 'straight' camel would look far more like its cousins (lamas and their like).

    Not funny, as you say (and I say that as someone who loved Woody Allen's first films).
     

    alexB2

    Member
    Russian
    Thank you all.
    A cat with a bent pussy, whatever eerie a creature that might be, and a straight camel, which made him seem damaged, with all the other camels in the hood having gone gay – those were the images that his words, which sounded pun-like, shaped in my mind into. Not quite what you saw but most of you seem to agree, don't you, that there is a sexual connotation in the joke and it is after all, well, forget dirty, let’s call it cheesy.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    As a man, I hadn't read it like that either. A bent-pussy cat would be pronounced, and spelled, differently from a bent pussycat, and I find the hyphenated version extremely unfunny, and I'm not famously prudish.
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    Here's some more context if anyone's interested:

    I couldn't get a dog, 'cause it was too much, and they finally opened up in my neighbourhood, in Flatbush, a damaged pet shop. They sold damaged pets at discount, y'know, you could get a bent pussycat if you wanted, a straight camel, y'know. I got a dog that stuttered. When the cats would give him a hard time, he would go "B-b-b-b-bow wow", y'know. He'd turn all red, y'know. We wanted to send him into the army, but the papers got crossed up, and they got me instead of him. I was in the canine corps for two weeks. ........
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    This sounds like early Woody Allen. Stuff in the 50s had a very different flavor, from my post 60s viewpoint. Comics could get a laugh just by challenging norms of decency.* It didn't have to make much sense. If you dug into a cave late at night the guy at the mic might start using swear words like f*** and s***. That was really cool. And then you had the whole Beatnik thing ...

    Woody Allen was riding a cultural wave. He did it pretty well.

    *Lenny Bruce lived and died by the credo.
     
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