I've tried catching up on much of what I missed but until recently had mostly just been keeping up with what was current. Recently, thanks to my girlfriend, I've watched some classics such as: Top Gun, The Goonies, Platoon, The Never Ending Story, Mad Max, all the Harry Potters, Hook and some others. For no reason at all I spouted out "bangarang" at work the other day not thinking anyone had heard me (or caring if they had) but then it put a smile on my face when I heard a chick start chanting "Rufio, Rufio". We had shared a pleasant memory invoked by me uttering one word that we had a shared context for and it made my day a little brighter.
I've written some stand up before and while it has been well received, I usually have someone say that it's too intelligent for most people and that I should dumb it down. Part of what makes things funny (to me) is the satisfaction when something clicks and I understand what the joke is. You give people just enough clues (many times a pop culture reference) and the punchline and they'll connect the dots and feel proud of themselves for doing so.
Words and their definitions are the context for concepts and language. Pop culture is the context for fun and humor and it's a shame to withhold that from anyone.