"Tosh starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc...So I yelled out, 'Actually, rape jokes are never funny!' 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...'".
Jessica Valenti argues at the Nation
that rape jokes can be funny, but not if they are threatening. (I disagree about Sarah Silverman's joke, but agree about Sykes and Carlin - because they are not so much rape jokes, as pointing out the absurdity of victim blaming).
"The debate over Tosh shouldn’t be “are
rape jokes funny?” That’s misdirection: his statement was a wildly inappropriate putdown, reminder, and threat that this woman could be gang-raped, like right now."
A comedian in Austin
makes maybe the most apropos metaphor so far? And clarifies why "offended" isn't what people are. *Warning for a pretty graphic metaphor and strong language.*
"Offended hasn't got anything to do with it.
People have wounds, and those wounds are painful. That doesn't have s*** to do with the weak concept of "taking offense." If someone talks about Texas being a s****y state, I might "take offense" at that. Fine, whatever. All of us who like comedy are generally in agreement with the idea that "taking offense" is lame, and a comedian should be willing to "offend" whenever he or she wants to.
But causing pain is quite a different matter. Your job as a comedian is to take us through pain, transcend pain, transform pain. And if you don't get that, you are a bully, and I've got zero time for bullies."
Melissa Harris-Perry invited comics to a round table panel