Lately a lot of people have been saying “rape jokes are never funny,” and since that’s an awfully broad statement, I wonder how exactly those people define “rape jokes.”
If they mean, “Jokes which exist primarily to trivialize the gravity of rape, and/or to ridicule victims of rape, are never funny,” then OK. That’s a perfectly reasonable thing to say.
Or if they mean “Daniel Tosh’s rape jokes are never funny,” that’s also OK, because it’s true that Daniel Tosh is never funny.
But if any of those people mean to say that “Any joke which involves rape as a subject is never funny,” then something’s wrong. There are so many hilarious jokes which involve rape.
Jokes which ridicule rapists- again, without trivializing rape or also ridiculing the victim- can be very funny. They’re also necessary. Rapists need to be ridiculed, at least until they’ve finished serving an appropriate prison sentence. This sketch from Mr. Show shall elaborate:
Of course, rape is a powerful subject, so there’s a lot of humor we can milk from the different ways people use, discuss, or react to the topic. The Daily Show found a lot of great “rape jokes” during that Duke Lacrosse scandal. Arrested Development made some funny “rape jokes” while poking fun at Lucille Bluth’s manipulative narcissism and Buster’s childish ignorance.
On the UK version of The Office, Ricky Gervais delivers one of his best-ever line readings with a “rape joke”:
Louis CK has a few great “rape jokes” in his routine about a woman who makes some peculiar assumptions:
I often wonder if the kind of people who say things like “rape jokes are never funny” and mean exactly that, with no room for nuance or further elaboration, have ever laughed at, say, a “death joke,” or a “violence joke,” or a “disease joke.” If they have, then they’re being awfully hypocritical. And if they haven’t laughed at any jokes about any sort of horrible topic whatsoever, then they have no sense of humor anyway, and must be far more miserable than most of us, and thus we should make numerous jokes at their expense.