Susie Essman’s guide to swearing with skill

The ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ star and expert expletive merchant offers some top tips on how to curse someone out

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Believe me, I have no idea on why I’m the expert on this subject. This wasn’t the life I planned. But somehow, here I am. I guess it’s my gift. So here you go: how to curse someone out, in five easy steps.

Be judicious

‘Random cursing and free floating anger give you a bad reputation. Use only when provoked. In “Curb Your Enthusiasm”, Larry David’s character is constantly provoking Susie Greene. He gets her kid drunk, he steals her dog, he gets them kicked out of the country club… I could go on. The point is, Susie is not just some raving lunatic for no reason. Make sure you’ve got a reason.’

Mean it

‘Half-hearted cursing is laughable. Have some conviction. Forget everything you learned growing up about being lady like or polite and that good little girls don’t get angry. We all know that was bullshit and just used as an excuse to control us. That fact alone should make you angry enough to curse.’

Be fearless

‘Being overly concerned with what others will think of you if you verbally express yourself is a huge waste of time. People will think whatever they need to think about you regardless of whether or not you tell them to go fuck themselves. Besides, the truth is that nobody is thinking about you anyway. Everyone is thinking about themselves, so let it loose when necessary.’

Use alliteration

‘It’s very effective. It has a nice ring to it. Some examples: fat fuck, misanthropic moron, carwash… you fill in the blank. One should think of cursing as poetry and respect the language.’

Don’t be mean or petty

‘This diminishes your power. The idea of cursing is not to hurt, but to express your own feelings. One can be angry and still be kind. As a matter of fact, sometimes the kindest thing you can do for someone is to tell them when they’re acting like a fucking asshole. Know the difference between rancour and anger. Bitterness will eat away at you from within, but anger will set you free.’

See Susie Essman live in London

Susie Essman

  • Critics choice

Since ditching the bitchy world of pop music-based telly shows Amstell has made a stand-up career out of angst. He’s the epitome of melancholy, delving into his personal pit of poignancy so that we may laugh at his pain. 'To Be Free' is his best show yet – Amstell plumbs his ego and insecurities for enormous comedy value, and takes aim at everything from homophobia to animal cruelty. Sensitive stand-up at its finest.

  1. Soho Theatre 21 Dean St, W1D 3NE
  2. Fri Mar 27 - Sun Mar 29
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