This was pretty much a misfire heard 'round the world as far as comedy goes. Last summer, comedian Daniel Tosh was at the Laugh Factory in LA and he dropped a joke about rape, to which an audience member yelled out "Rape jokes are never funny." Oh man, have I got a prime setup for comedy here!
So far this scenario is mundane. It wasn't Tosh's first rape joke, whatever it may have been, that upset everyone. It just upset that one audience member. Tosh replied with "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like five guys right now?" That joke right there was the problem. You can probably see why, and if not, maybe you have a soundproof room in your cellar.
Everyone from Jim Norton to Louis CK to Lindy West and every blog and website in between has covered this already, and I have neither the interest nor the capacity to defend and debate comedy and rape culture. I'll just say that I think rape is bad, comedy should be funny, and jokes about bodily functions always makes me laugh.
Mirko Vuckovic/iStock/Getty Images
Ahh, bouquet of colon.
The thing that is significant to our topic here is that Tosh's joke wasn't really trying hard to be funny. It was a spur-of-the-moment reaction based on a funny premise (not rape, but taking something someone has expressed a dislike of and then forcing it on them) that missed the mark. For instance, if someone tells you they hate olives and you make them an olive pizza as a joke, that's kind of funny. Also terrible, because that pizza would be so gross, but it fits in with the theme of general prankery that you can develop once you know someone's likes and dislikes. Except rape is a really, really s****y foundation for that kind of prank. And then it became public.