Today, a Tumblr called Cookies For Breakfast published the anonymous story of two women who went to see comedian Dane Cook at The Laugh Factory in New York City. Little did they know that they would be treated to a show by one of the douchiest comedians in comedy – Daniel Tosh.
This audience apparently got the pleasure of hearing Daniel Tosh advocate that an audience member should be gang-raped. And that it would be HILARIOUS.
Here’s the breakdown from Cookies For Breakfast:
So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.
After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.
No, you simple-minded, frat-boy joke-stealer, it wouldn’t be funny.
The issue of “the rape joke” in comedy is one that is often hotly debated. Daniel Tosh is no stranger to the rape joke – in fact, just do a quick Google search for “Daniel Tosh + rape.” You’ll find lots of shining examples of why this douchebag needs to be doing his jokes in front of his three cats, in the privacy of his own apartment.
We’ve always heard that women (largely) don’t become comics well, because women aren’t funny. But could it be because in order to become a successful comic, you have to contend with this bullshit? Could it be that the jokes about women often involve degradation and in this case, full-on sexual assault? Could the “rape joke” be the reason?
I don’t think it’s THE reason, but it’s certainly part of a culture that is wholly hostile to women. There are so many brilliant female comics, but the comedy club culture just isn’t welcoming for them. If they’re pretty, they’re too pretty to take seriously. If they’re ugly, they’re too ugly for anyone to listen to them. If they’re fat, all of their jokes should be about their fatness and how much they hate themselves for it. Oh, and they’re probably still not funny. Once their set is over, they get to listen to douchebags like Daniel Tosh talk about how funny it would be if they were gang-raped.
Totally makes you want to be a lady comic, right? Unfortunately, these types of jokes are harmful far beyond the world of stand-up comedy and entertainment. When you consider the statistic that 1 in 3 women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime, it’s entirely possible that there were rape victims in his audience.
Pretty horrifying, right? How uncomfortable would you be if someone had exploited what is likely the most traumatic thing that has ever happened to you for some cheap laughs at a crappy comedy show?
I’m no fan of Daniel Tosh – but that’s because he’s not funny. And his ignorant and hurtful rape jokes are no exception. In fact, he’s mostly famous for making fun of people and saying hurtful things about them – so we really shouldn’t be surprised. The problem is, though, that moron has six million Twitter followers. Millions more TV viewers.
How many of those viewers are young men who are being conditioned to believe (and not just by Daniel Tosh) that rape is a thing that is funny instead of a heinous crime. I know I’m being the Sanctimonious Feminist on this one, but Tosh’s words have an impact greater than he can understand.
If we don’t stand up to the rape culture, then we’re a part of it. If we snicker at these jokes, we are taking part (actively, at this point) in a culture that believes that women are liars about rape and that they deserved it when they were dressed like sluts. If you have a problem with either of those statements, then you should have a serious problem with rape jokes.
They just aren’t funny. I read a comment that most comedy comes from dark and uncomfortable places – which is absolutely right. Sometimes the things that are the funniest are those that creep us out or make us feel awkward – like being a teenager, or masturbating, or how much your parents warped you as a child.
But it’s never funny to make jokes about the single most violating thing that can happen to a person. I can assure you that Daniel Tosh wouldn’t have the gall to walk up to a rape victim and laugh at her, but it’s easy for him to make those remarks when the house lights are down. It’s like bullying on the Internet – he doesn’t have to see the human consequences of his words.
I’m not saying that Daniel Tosh isn’t funny.
Okay, I totally am. But it’s not just him – it’s a systemic culture of entertainment and media that condones, fetishizes, and further entrenches the rape culture. On the same day this story was published, morning show DJ Kidd Kraddick and his crew were talking about all the ladies with fake stories about being “roofied,” or given the date rape drug.
I told you – it’s everywhere. People listen to Kidd Kraddick In The Morning with their kids in the car – who knows what they picked up from his “hilarious” segment? Any time you think the rape culture is something manifested by feminists who want to have something to bitch about, refer back to this piece.
If you’d like more examples, hit me up on Twitter. I’d be happy to carpet-bomb you with links all day.
Amy is a social media strategist living in Dallas, Texas. She likes music, trashy TV, and ladybiz. tweet: @aemccarthy