Your Rape Jokes Bore Me 20

When I hear a rape joke, I have a range of reactions. Sometimes it’s been laughter. Sometimes I’ve felt a weary indignation. After a year of women being a political punching bag and the “rape is OK” culture of places like Steubenville, it’s at times just one more reminder of how we’re being devalued as people and that Mad Men often looks like the fucking future. Sometimes I have even felt threatened. Yes, sometimes it feels creepy to be outnumbered by guys who are laughing about sticking a dick in a woman against her will. Some people just give off the vibe like they’re acting like they’re kidding, but if they suddenly thought they could get away with it they’d be the Mayor of Rapeville on Four Square.

But all jokes are like this for everyone. They affect us all differently depending on who is telling it, our environment, where we’re at mentally and how good the booze is.

Overall though, most of what I feel when I hear a rape joke these days is boredom.

I’m not here to debate whether or not you can make a rape joke. (You can. We have free speech.) I’m not here to debate whether or not they’re funny. (Some are. Some aren’t. And everyone has a different opinion about this, just like all jokes.) I’m not here to debate whether or not feminists think they’re funny. (Some of us do. We don’t all think alike.) I’m here to say that “Rape Jokes” have become the “Airplane Jokes” of our day.

Hearing a comic make a rape joke is like watching a baby poop in the toilet for the first time. “Oh, did you do that all by yourself? How cute.” Eventually, you will poop every day and it will just be called joke writing and you won’t need a parade every time you do it celebrating how “edgy” you are. Besides with the proliferation of rape jokes, they’ve become about as edgy as musing, “What’s the deal with Chicken McNuggets?” Call me when life happens to you and you have something interesting to talk about.

And here’s a suggestion: easy on the outrage when someone doesn’t like a rape joke. You’re beginning to sound like the fucking gun nuts screaming about Obama. No one’s coming to take away your rape jokes. You don’t have to go out and stockpile rape jokes or buy them at “Rape Joke Shows” with Bitcoin. As long as we have free speech you can make your rape jokes same as someone can make a statement that they didn’t like them. And by the way, people are allowed to not like them and say whatever they want and it doesn’t mean that anyone is policing your mind or interfering in your “safe space.” Jesus! For people who love to make fun of rape, these comics sure need a “safe space.” I love hearing about the sanctity of a comedy club like it’s a Women’s Shelter or a poetry group at Breadloaf or a Pagan Menstrual Circle. Let’s not kid ourselves. A comedy club is where people get shitfaced and listen to dick jokes while comics do blow and people embezzle the money they’re fucking comics and the IRS out of.

And sometimes something awesome happens and we go back and we chase that high like the fucking addicts we are and we are so lucky no matter who doesn’t like what we said. But if we can dish it out, we can take it.

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20 thoughts on “Your Rape Jokes Bore Me

  • Erin Judge

    I’ve threatened to start an open mic titled “Rape Abortion Holocaust.” The open mic would be free, except for anybody who wanted to tell a joke about any of those three topics. That person would be charged $20. The “audience’ would then vote on the merits of the joke to see if the teller would get her/HIS money back

  • Jen Kirkman

    Right on Tess. My favorite line, “Call me when life happens to you and you have something interesting to talk about.”

  • Bernadette Pauley

    This is fucking awesome. ‘”Rape Jokes” have become the “Airplane Jokes” of our day. ‘ Fucking awesome.

  • Dan

    While I agree that some people over-react to the criticism, at the same time, let’s not pretend that it’s just people expressing their feelings and that’s that. Is the person going to the manager and expressing their opinion and asking for their money back? Because that’s fine. Or is the person telling the manager/owner that the comedian shouldn’t be allowed on their stage? Are they demanding a network pull a TV show (that they never watched in the 1st place)?
    Censorship by proxy is still censorship.
    And yes, comedy clubs ARE a different space than the rest of the world. It’s a place that adults choose to enter of their own free will with the knowledge that they might hear something that offends them. How in 2013 can people possibly not know that? If I am hypersensitive about my hair loss, I’m not going to sit up front at a Don Rickles show and then write a blog post about how Don Rickles needs to be more sensitive to the balding community. And please, stop right there, rape is not the magic special category, other people have just as strong feelings about race, abortion, child abuse, terrorism, etc.
    In other words, don’t go to Seaworld and then complain because the whale splashed water on you. (Probably just don’t go to Seaworld at all cause I hear they’re mean to the animals, but you get the point)
    Not hanging the censorship on you, Tess, your post is reasonable, but there are way too many humorless people who have never been to a comedy club in their lives trying to bully performers into following their selective rules on what is funny.

    • Olivia


      A comedy club has the right to refuse to allow someone to perform who they deem offensive (or not funny/otherwise bad for business). A tv station has the right to pull a show off the air for pretty much anything. I, as an individual, have the right to petition both of those institutions to do so, and both those institutions have the right to either ignore me, or act on my request.

      Unless you are talking about government censorship, your outrage is misplaced. Let’s not pretend that a comedy club deciding to hire/not hire a comic on the content of their jokes is anything other than business. If you are a comic, every time you go to an audition, that is what is happening. You hope the person hiring you thinks you’re funny and likes your jokes and if they don’t, you don’t get the job. It doesn’t become censorship because some people are trying to add their voices to the selection process.

      And anyone has the right to go write up a blog post about how offended they were about some joke. You can think it’s stupid and you can choose to not read it, just like someone can choose not to go see a comic who does rape jokes. If anything publishing the name of comics who make rape jokes in their act should be celebrated by you, because then I can just go google a name and find out before I pay to see someone make jokes about raping women.

  • Joseph Rocha

    You nailed it. I’ve been trying to formulate my thoughts and feelings about this non-issue. Most rape jokes are boring and unnecessary.Here’s a challenge. How about rape material that reveals the fear and vulnerability that one most feel after going hrough that? Won’t hold my breath. Will send this to everyone I can. 5hank you.

  • Mike

    You are a goddamn idiot. Rape is one of the most despicable crimes in the history of the world and if I was at a comedy club and a guy made a rape joke, I would beat the fuck out of him, and if a woman made a rape joke, I would spit in her face. Find another joke from you moronic life.

  • Joanne

    Comedy club is one thing, but what about when you get an obviously pre-planned rape routine by Silverman & “panel” on Fashion Police, and the cast of women (and one gay man) erupt in hysterics? … They then change pace and ask a question about ‘edgy’ humor, like “oh see! we were so aware of what we just did then so don’t hate us” *eyeroll*

    And you only read ONE raised eyebrow about said rape routine on twitter. That show is screened around the world.

  • Penelope

    “And here’s a suggestion: easy on the outrage when someone doesn’t like a rape joke.” This makes me laugh! Also, I appreciate the discussion on this topic a lot!

  • Mark

    “if I was at a comedy club and a guy made a rape joke, I would beat the fuck out of him, and if a woman made a rape joke, I would spit in her face.”

    Listen, you’re gonna need to practice some equality here.

  • Zach

    Flawless. Thanks for writing this. “Call me when life happens to you and you have something interesting to talk about” is something more people of all stripes need said to them. Especially creators.

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