As many of you have heard, comedian Daniel Tosh has been attacked in the media recently for making a rape joke. The short story is that a woman in the audience during a Tosh performance at a comedy club took offense to Tosh joking about rape and decided to verbally express her disapproval. In response, Tosh reportedly joked how it would be funny if this woman was raped by, like 5 guys, right now. Well, the offended heckler (yes, if you interrupt a comedian you are a heckler) took to the blogosphere with her outrage, sparking a shitstorm of outrage over a manufactured issue: can rape be funny? I say that this is a “manufactured issue” because the real issue is whether there are any subjects that a comedian should not touch under any circumstances. I say no, and shame on all of you who can’t take a joke.
If Rape Isn’t Funny, What Is?
Let’s start with the usual premise floated by the Tosh haters: that rape is a serious issue that can never be funny. Oh, really? So no serious issue can be funny? Comedians should never joke about things which in reality are serious and brutal and ruin people’s lives? Here’s a short list of things which would be “off limits” using your faulty reasoning:
- 9/11 (if you’ve never heard Louis C.K.’s “How long was it after 9/11 until you masturbated again?” joke, look it up)
- Child abuse
- The mentally disabled
- Eating disorders
- Drug addiction
Do you see where this is going? If you were to have your way, and all others who took offense to comedians joking about “serious subjects” had their way, what would be left to joke about? If you name a subject that you think is offensive to no one, I bet I can think of a way in which it really is a serious issue which should not be joked about.
No One is Promoting Rape, Dummy
If you think that a comedian joking about rape somehow promotes the practice, or makes it less of a serious, real world issue, you need to have your head examined. No one is suddenly going to turn “pro-rape” after hearing a rape joke, just as no one will become “pro-murder” after hearing a murder joke.
I swear, it seems like some folks think that if Daniel Tosh stumbled across a rape in progress, he’d just double over with laughter. Really? Are you truly incapable of separating what a comedian says in his routine from how he might think and act off the stage? If you have no appreciation for how comedy works, stay out of the comedy clubs.
You Don’t Get to Decide What’s Funny for Everyone
What pisses me off the most about all this faux outrage and self-righteousness in response to the Tosh brouhaha is that people think that they have the right to tell others what is or isn’t funny. You don’t. Stop trying to shame me into not having a sense of humor. Who do you think you are? The Catholic Church?
Humor has always dealt with serious issues. Laughing at our fears is normal and helps us cope with the horrors of everyday life. Don’t try to take this away from us just because you don’t think a particular subject is funny. If everyone did that, there would be no more comedy, and the world would truly be a much darker place.
“But What About My Right to Criticize Tosh?”
I suspect that those of you in the “rape is never funny” crowd are now thinking that I’m being hypocritical for telling you that your opinions are stupid and you should shut up, as you are as free to criticize Tosh as he is to joke about rape. Wrong. See, I’m just as free to tell you that you’re a reactionary windbag as you are to criticize Tosh — that’s how the whole “free speech thing” works. Of course, the biggest difference between us is that I’m right and you’re wrong.
Dare I End With a Rape Joke?
Just to poke you comedy-impaired mouth breathers in the eye, allow me to close with a rape joke: Did you know that, statistically speaking, 4 out of 5 people who participate in a gang rape find the experience enjoyable?