Anatomy of a Successful Rape Joke

This entrenched mysogenistic verbal violence makes me sick.

Daniel Tosh’s hotly debated “joke” aimed at a female heckler was far from humorous...

According to her [the victim], Tosh was talking about how rape jokes were always “hilarious.” She called out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”

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…”


...hordes of fans and other comedians have come to his defense...

Elissa Bassist at The Daily Beast gets to the heart of why what Tosh said wasn’t funny—in fact, why it wasn’t a joke at all.

Tosh says he was joking. Comedians make rape jokes every day, so why is this one getting so much attention? Because Tosh was more than “just kidding.” He was angry. His “joke” was reactive to the so-called heckler who called him out in front of an audience. He used humor to cut her down, to remind her of own vulnerability, to emphasize who was in control.

Tags: humor as verbal violence

Views: 83

Replies to This Discussion

I guess I'm out of the mainstream.  I am not certain I have ever heard a rape joke and if I heard one which was actually funny, my impression is that it would be only by way of gallows humor.  I mean seriously, What Is Funny About Being Attacked?  What is funny about being violated and penetrated against your will?  Guys, how would like a penis shoved up your ass because you were overpowered by a person or persons stronger than you?  Think you'd laugh it off after, maybe walk home a bit funny from the bruises and a sore anus?

The ONLY way stuff like this is funny is when it's happening to someone OTHER THAN YOU.  Call me sentimental, but I'd rather it didn't happen at all, and I'll be damned if I'll laugh at someone else's misfortune.

Verbal violence is correct. Tosh was not funny.

Agreed Ruth.  Examining boundaries is great and critical thinking about comedy is fine. That does not mean that boundaries don't exist or that comedy is exempt from scrutiny or criticism. Mainstreaming rape is not ok. 

Loren and Steph said it well as does the book/movie Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  Guess what Tosh, your inner psyche is showing and you're not funny.  

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