Nicolas Cage is the Perfect Host for ‘The History of Swear Words’

Published on January 6, 2021

Nicolas Cage leaves it all on the court in The History of Swear Words. The new Netflix series is exactly what the title states: the history of some of the world’s favorite words. “Join me on a journey through the history, evolution, and cultural impact of swear words,” Cage says at the beginning. What a journey it is, thanks in large part to the hosting prowess of the Academy Award-winning actor.

Cage sets the tone and stage of the series before comedians and historians dive into certain swearwords. Episode one begins with “fuck,” which began in the 5th Century. In the 14th Century, it took on new meaning referring to sex. With fact nuggets such as that gem, the show proves its worth and entertainment value in a matter of minutes in episode one. There are guests present whose entire careers are built around swear words, including comedians and historians. 

At the center of it all is Cage. Throughout the actor’s wide-ranging career, he’s taken swearing to an art form. With his work in Bad Lieutenant and his more punk rock performances, Cage has turned swear words into art. The actor stretches swear words like silly putty in the palms of his hands. 

Cage is one of those actors that, when he’s having a great time, so are we. That’s true of his work in The History of Swear Words. He’s relishing every F-bomb and every other obscenity he drops. Everytime he swears, he finds a nice new ring to it that only he could strike.

The series needed an actor capable of bringing a variety of life and range to a single word. With all the different expressions of the most used word in the english language — the f-word — the show needed an actor with a limitless range of expression to do these words justice. Cage does just that. 

From Adaptation to Mandy to The Weather Man, the actor can hit any note, comically or dramatically, that a script needs. It’s a talent of Cage’s that shines bright in The History of Swear Words. He never says the same swear word the same way twice. If he did, the show wouldn’t work. The History of Swear Words needed an actor of Cage’s caliber to make it all work and make it all hold weight. He makes you hold on to every swear word he says. 

He brings such gravitas to the series. Even in a library all by himself, Cage is such a grandly entertaining presence. He’s having a blast in the series, while still displaying such a serious commitment to the premise. He takes the show and its content seriously while still having fun with it all. The actor establishes the show’s entertaining but thoughtful approach to its universal subject.

Even when Cage says “honey” or “iced tea,” nobody can touch the man’s mannerisms. They are unique. We keep watching the actor’s movies and compilations from his filmography because nobody else is Nicolas Cage. Nobody delivers like he does. Cage is a singular performer who can just hit high and low notes, like a classic rock musician, that others simply cannot. He’s an actor with musicality, somebody who relishes lines. Hearing him swear up a storm in The History of Swear Words couldn’t be more charming. It’s music to Cage, and it’s all music to the ears.

Even when Cage isn’t on-camera, the Netflix series is wildly entertaining. The episodes fly by in the blink of an eye. It’s a light and easy show not without substance. The History of Swear Words is a Netflix comedy that boasts laughs, knowledge, and best of all, Nicolas Cage keeping our eyes glued to the screen.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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