Lindy West, Jessica Valenti, and Jonnie Marbles have already written everything I would have to say, and quite a bit more, about the latest Daniel Tosh rape joke controversy. So here’s what I have to add to the conversation: an even longer list (including some mentioned by Lindy, Jessica, and Jonnie) of rape jokes that work as jokes–which is to say, A) they’re constructed so that rape victims are not the butt of the joke, and B) they made me laugh.
Emphasis on the “me” there. Not everyone’s going to agree, and some people are going to think I’m a bad feminist, which, what else is new. But I want to be able to link to this post in the future, when this happens again–because it always does–and hordes of young men start screaming–because they always do–that feminists are trying to take all the funny out of comedy AGAIN.
I am a feminist. I have been raped. And I think the following 15 rape jokes are hilarious. So please fuck all the way the fuck off with your “You just don’t understand comedy” bullshit. (Here’s an alternative proposal: Maybe you just don’t understand being a decent human being.)
Special thanks to funny ladies who contributed (on purpose or not) to the list: Kate Black, Jess Zimmerman, Megan Carpentier, Chloe Angyal, Sweet Machine, the commenters at Jezebel, and the indispensable Mary Elizabeth Williams (who adds, “I also laugh every time in Book of Mormon somebody talks about raping a baby. WOW I REALLY LOVE RAPE JOKES”).
1. Wanda Sykes:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our pussies were detachable? … Some crazy guy jumps out of the bushes, all like, ‘Aaah,’ and you’re like, ‘Uh-uh, left it at home!’
2. Elayne Boosler, probably inspiring Wanda:
I’m walking in New York with my boyfriend, and he says, ‘Gee, it’s a beautiful night, let’s go down by the river.’ I said, ‘What are you, nuts? I’m not going down by the river! It’s midnight, I’m wearing jewelry, I’m carrying money, I have a vagina with me…’
3. Tig Notaro:
So he thought that I thought there were sexual predators running up and down the halls of the resort where I was staying, and that all the management decided to do, instead of springing for some security, was just to run down to the local Kinko’s and run off some shoddy, low-rent sign that just said, ‘No moleste.’
4. Sarah Silverman:
I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl.
5. Larry Kleist, rapist, from Mr. Show:
Hello! Insurance is my game, Larry is my name! Raping is another game of mine. Have you considered–hello?
The Hammurderer is quickly becoming regarded as the worst-received advertising mascot since Kool-Aid’s 1989 discontinuation of ‘The Grapist,’ a huge purple monster who sodomizes thirsty children.
7. Woody Allen, Annie Hall:
Annie: This tie’s a present from Grammy Hall.
Alvy: Who? Grammy… . Grammy Hall?
Annie: Yeah, my grammy.
Alvy: What are you … What did you do, grow up in a Norman Rockwell painting?
Annie: I know. It’s pretty silly, isn’t it?
Alvy: My grammy never gave gifts. She was too busy getting raped by Cossacks.
8. Marcus Brigstocke:
Then out of the blue, he went, ‘Yeah, yeah. ‘Til one of them [immigrants] rapes your wife.’ [beat] That’s not why they’re coming here, is it? You know, not just to rape my wife? There must be other reasons.
9. The Onion News Network:
Joining us now are Megan’s parents… With a daughter so pretty, one can’t help but assume that she’s being raped.
10. Dane Cook, you guys. Dane Motherfucking Cook can construct a funny rape joke. This means no one else, anywhere, ever, has an excuse to screw this up.
I’m pretty sure if I sat down with a woman who’s been [raped], and I said, ‘Can you describe what this was like, going through this?’ she’s not gonna look at me and go, ‘Have you ever played Halo?’
11. The Onion, yet again: “Raped Environment Led Polluters On, Defense Attorneys Argue“
“Believe me, this is no virgin forest,” said Frank Abbate, owner of the Bellingham-based G&H Consolidated Timber. “It may try to pass itself off as pristine and untouched, but I know for a fact that it has a long history of allowing itself to be used by developers.”
12. Louis C.K., on going back in time to kill Hitler:
I wouldn’t have killed Hitler, I would have raped him, that’s what I thought. Because I think that would have been enough. I think that would have stopped him from doing all that shit. If he had been raped by me, he never would have pulled any of that stuff. ‘Should we invade Poland?’ ‘Nah, I just want to take a shower. I don’t feel good.’
13. Ever Mainard (who gets bonus points for setting a good rape joke in my neighborhood)
I feel like that should be a game show, like, ‘Here’s your raaaaaape! It’s loud in the club and the music’s bumpin’, and you went to the restroom–uh-oh, time out! You forgot to put that cardboard thing over your drink! Here’s your raaaaaaape!’
14. Sarah Silverman again, via the NYT, with what might be the most perfect rape joke ever crafted:
“I need more rape jokes,” she shouted nasally before letting her fans in on what she called a comedy secret, that such jokes are actually not so “edgy” after all. “Who’s going to complain about rape jokes? Rape victims?” she asked. “They barely even report rape.”
15. And one last time, The Onion, just today: “Daniel Tosh Chuckles Through Own Violent Rape.”
“You have to admit, this is pretty hilarious,” said the teary-eyed 37-year-old, his bloodied face slamming against a brick wall as he was brutally and repeatedly penetrated against his will for the 53rd straight minute.
OK, maybe that one’s not so much funny as totally horrifying, since it asks you to laugh specifically at the thought of someone being attacked! Which is, I don’t know, kind of the whole fucking point?
In other words, the next time some idiot 19-year-old publishes a rape fantasy in a college newspaper, then tries to call it “satire,” please point him there. Because that is how it’s done.