So, comedian Daniel Tosh made a rape joke. What was that rape joke? Allow CNN to explain:
A female audience member who says she was unfamiliar with Tosh’s act when she caught his performance at the Hollywood Laugh Factory. She claims, “Tosh [started] making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious.”
The audience member felt “provoked” and says she yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
Continues the account: “After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…’
Daniel Tosh tweeted in response:
“The point I was making before I was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. On a lighter note tonight’s new episode of Tosh.0 will be featuring clowns.”
Let me begin by saying that I agree with Tosh. I think that one of the great things about having a sense of humor is that it gives you a sword with which to cut the world’s horrors down to manageable size. When we make jokes about awful things that happen, we can rob those things of their power. Certainly, the Nazis and Hitler were not funny, but The Producers was funny, and in mocking Hitler it made him seem less powerful (if I always reference The Producers, it’s because it’s everything I think comedy should be). I think that is a good thing to be able to do if you want to survive in the world and not go completely insane. I believe that humor is the weapon of the underdog.
The problem isn’t that rape jokes can never be funny. I think I’d probably find someone who had been raped who was able to make jokes their rape pretty brave and amazing for being able to do so. I think that might even be cathartic for them. But I do not think it is funny coming from Daniel Tosh.
I do not think it is funny coming from Daniel Tosh, because, again, I’m apt to regard humor as the underdog’s weapon. Daniel Tosh is a man who has, to the best of my knowledge, never been raped. He is a man. It is statistically less likely will be raped. He likely does not know anyone who has been raped. I doubt Daniel Tosh was really trying to find a way to put a horror that people experience in its proper place, here.
I think that this joke is not funny, because I think that the purpose of humor is to attack aggressors, not victims. This joke fails because attacking victims is, in addition to being just plain a mean thing to do, almost never funny.
Also, for a professional comedian, I think that’s just a really lame joke.
So, the answer, as far as I can tell is “not funny at all, actually.”