Can A Rape Joke Be Funny?
By Alex Cranz
No, they cannot.
Buuut, here’s the thing. I kind of hate it when people make absolute statements that leave no room for discussion. I hate when people claim video games can never be art. Or a Step Up film can never be entertaining.
So when I hear people say “rape jokes are never funny” my hackles go up just a bit. A minute tad. Because I’m an optimist to my own detriment you know? And a writer. I like to think that maybe, just maybe, there is the possibility for a funny joke involving rape.
Only the people currently attempting to be the astronauts of this particular field and exploring the possibilities and attempting to break new ground in black and inappropriate humor are all flippin’ white dudes.
You know what white dudes never have to do? They never have to worry about accepting a drink from a cute stranger at a bar. They never have to worry about someone escorting them home that might not be as nice as they seem. They never have to have to worry about their partner forcing themselves onto them. White guys don’t have to worry about the dark alleys. They don’t have to worry about the court system siding with their attackers. They don’t have to worry about cops saying “you should have known better” or “you were asking for it.” When someone walks behind them on the street they don’t have to worry about being attacked. If the media gets ahold of their story they don’t have to be worried about being labelled a slut, whore or prostitute.
Oh no! Poor white dudes! Someone is telling you a particular type of joke is off-limits! Poor you. I wonder what that’s like, to be denied something because of gender, race or sexuality.
So this dude who doesn’t need any more publicity ever made a rape joke. Then when a woman heckled him in the name of social justice he went even further because who doesn’t love to take a heckler down right? When a storm of defecation whirled around it because dude that is the WORST WAY to deal with a heckler offended by your rape joke he apologized and attached a “but” to it in the hopes of educating all the people speaking out against him.
Yeah, no dude. Everybody gets it. You were trying to say that no joke could be off limit. No one has missed this fact. They also haven’t missed the fact that your rape joke was the stand up equivalent of “make me a sandwich.” The guy apologized to his heckler with a tweet that was weaker than a fart in a pool and then tried to say it was “for the art.” I can’t get behind that. I can’t get behind legitimately awesome dudes like Louis CK (who has tackled rape in his stand up without being offensive, crass or horrible) defending him.
“They’re defending him because he was heckled.” Did you see that stand up though? It wasn’t just the rape jokes that were bad.
The thing is, everyone has a right to make a joke. Dead baby jokes are hilarious at 2am in the debate van. They are not funny when your friend has suffered a miscarriage. A murder mystery comedy can be really funny, but not to the guy whose wife was actually murdered. So a rape joke? There is the potential for humor in one, but not for the millions of women who are raped and forced into silence by the justice system and the society around them that asks that THEY be vigilant instead of asking rapists not to, you know, rape.
You’re right dude with that show that just makes fun of cat videos from Youtube and the multitude of comedians supporting you. We should be able to joke about anything ever. But 1 in 6 women have experienced sexual assault. Look out at your audience. Are there more than five women there? There are? Okay, go ahead and make your terrible joke. Just know that for at least one women in that audience you are pulling her back into one of the worst experiences of her life and demanding she laugh about it because you’re an “artist.”
That’s messed up.