Daniel Tosh is a comedian. Last week, he made a rape joke. It wasn’t funny. A female audience member called him on it (‘Rape jokes are never funny’). He responded with a gang-rape joke, directed at the audience member (‘Wouldn’t it be funny if, like, 5 guys…’).
The interwebs have been having a field day with this, both on the ‘rape: so funny’ and the ‘rape: bad’ side of things. I think the whole discussion makes for interesting reading. Here is my take on it. In common with other terrible things, rape can be a legitimate subject matter for jokes. Turns out, lots of people not only agree, but have gone to the trouble of identifying the features of rape jokes that they (comedians / writers / interested observers) see as influencing whether a particular joke about the subject ‘works’.
Jezebel: How to Make a Rape Joke
Gin & Tacos: The Subtle Art of Not Being an Asshole
Kate Harding: Rape Jokes that Work
Needless to say, Daniel Tosh fails by the standards of all the above linked commentators.