Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Is rape funny?

So there's this comedian named Daniel Tosh. I know nothing about him really except that I sometimes see ads for his show on Comedy Central while I'm waiting to watch The Daily Show. But he was doing his routine at a comedy club recently and apparently was riffing about rape jokes and a woman in the audience objected and shouted to him that "rape is never funny!" Whereupon Tosh responded that wouldn't it be funny if that woman were raped by maybe five guys?

Surprisingly, this has caused a controversy. Many people, women in particular, agreed with that woman in the audience that rape is never funny. On the other hand, many of Tosh's fellow comedians have rushed to defend him and said that, yes, rape, just like the Holocaust or children with birth defects, is a very funny subject and a legitimate subject for humor. Anyway, First Amendment and all that!

Hmm.

I watched Monday's Daily Show and Jon Stewart's guest was another comedian, Louis C.K. It seems that Louis had sent Tosh a tweet that was interpreted as defending him against his critics. He explained on the show that he had been on vacation and didn't even know about the controversy at the time he sent the tweet. He was simply responding to his show on Comedy Central and telling Tosh that he liked it.
He (Louis C.K.) then declared that the Tosh dustup was just “a fight between comedians and bloggers” and that only “hyperbole and garbage comes out of those two places.” And for the kicker, he added, “It’s also a fight between comedians and feminists, which are natural enemies. Because stereotypically speaking, feminists can’t take a joke. And comedians can’t take criticism. Comedians are big pussies.” He went on to explain how the whole experience has enlightened him about the ways “rape polices women’s lives,” while adding, “I can still enjoy a good rape joke.”    
So the old "feminists have no sense of humor" canard raises its ugly head again. I guess Louis C.K. never met (or heard of) Nora Ephron. Or Roseanne Barr or Ellen DeGeneres, for that matter. He might want to spend some time with Caitlin Moran. Apparently, she's the new big thing in outrageously funny feminists.


But all of that aside, there is obviously a simple solution to this controversy. I propose an experiment involving Daniel Tosh and Louis C.K. and any other comedian who finds rape jokes hilarious. I'm sure they would be willing to volunteer for it in the interests of truth in humor. They need to know whereof they speak. So let's have them brutally raped by, oh, five or so guys, and then listen to the jokes they tell about it. The experience would certainly give their jokes a certain edge and we could then fairly judge their senses of humor about the whole thing.


No? I didn't think so. 

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