The Internet Rape Joke Wars have been waged, on and off, since at least last year, when comedian Daniel Tosh responded to a woman who had challenged him during his set about the number of rape jokes he was making with, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now?” (The questions about rape jokes pre-date The Tosh Incident, of course, but that was the watershed moment in which those questions broke into the mainstream – at one point, Louis CK had to go on “The Daily Show” to address a seemingly-supportive tweet that he’d made to Tosh.) Since then, the debate has heated up and cooled down, depending on what jokes comedians are making.
Most recently, it was a low-profile comic named Sam Morril, whose set was challenged in a column by feminist blogger Sady Doyle, that reignited the issue. And last week, feminist and comedian Lindy West of Jezebel took to television and debated the issue with comic Jim Norton on FX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell.” During the 12-minute segment, West made her points, Barry made his, and a lot of people on the Internet came away from the discussion with the exact same opinion they started with.
West’s argument centered around the (mathematically hard to dispute) fact that, sitting in the crowd each night a comic performs, there’s likely to be someone who has survived a sexual assault, and these jokes are likely to make that person’s night much, much harder. That’s true, and it’s absolutely worth considering. But there’s someone else who is likely to be in that room to hear it at some point, too, and how the joke will make that person feel is important, too. I’m talking about the rapist. Keep reading »
Wouldn’t it be funny if the boys that photographed themselves assaulting Savannah Dietrich got raped right now? Also, that priest, Monsignor Lynn, who is going to serve three to six years for failing to investigate sex abuse claims against priests — wouldn’t it be hilarious if he were raped in prison? And Jerry Sandusky? Just picture him in the showers with a bunch of bigger guys! Are you laughing? No? Well, that’s because imagining someone getting raped is about as humorous as imagining someone stepping on a landmine or getting car-jacked. It’s terrifying and no one deserves it.
But using rape in a joke is another story. A couple of years ago, I taught a writing course at The New School called Humor and Controversy. The premise was that humor artists like Margaret Cho, Chris Rock, and Sarah Silverman speak with more insight and honesty about race, sexuality, reproductive rights, gender, religion, and class than most politicians, which is why comedy is important. Students were encouraged to use wit and self-deprecation to shed light on thorny issues. One prompt was to write an essay entitled “My Rape Fantasy.” Keep reading »
Louis C.K. just got 100 percent lamer, in my opinion. I just watched this rape joke reel put together by the feminist org, the Women’s Media Center, to show that Daniel Tosh’s not-funny rape joke last week was not an abheration to comedy. (You can read the whole backstory here.) Tosh has made plenty of other not-funny rape jokes in the past and both Dave Chapelle and Louis C.K. — who came to Tosh’s defense on Twitter — have wasted some precious comedy capital as well. As the WMC puts it, these are all rape jokes that comedians make for cheap laughs. They do nothing to make a statement about our culture. I hope that one day Louis’ daughters grow up and ask him, “Daddy, why were you making jokes about rape?” (Daniel Tosh, you can kindly not procreate, kthx.) [Women’s Media Center] (Put your headphones on at work, because the audio is NSFW.)
[Personally, I think most of these jokes are being presented out of context. Some of them -- having seen them in full context -- are actually "good" rape jokes in my opinion, while others are cheap. Kind of hard to judge their quality when taken out of context though. Or, as George Carlin's voice references at the end, out of their full construct. -- Editor]
Over the weekend, a blogger on “Cookies For Breakfast” wrote about a friend’s experience at a Daniel Tosh comedy show — highlighting how the comedian had made several rape jokes — and even encouraged the audience to rape the woman for speaking out against his offensive rape commentary.
According to the blog post, the woman in question was offended by Tosh’s rape jokes, and yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes aren’t funny!” In response, Tosh said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by, like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?” Keep reading »