Poor Louis C.K. The guy is on vacation sans internet and watches a little Tosh.O on television. He laughs and sends a tweet out to his fellow comedian:
He had no idea that he sent this out in the midst of the internet shit storm over Daniel Tosh’s rape jokes and treatment of a heckler at one of his shows. Louis comes back from vacation and is labeled a rape lover for his public support of Tosh.
Louis C.K. then has to defend himself, not throw his fellow comedian under the bus, and still be funny. He did just that on the Daily Show.
The difference between shock comedian Daniel Tosh and the irreverent Louis C.K. is maturity. I’m not talking about just the lines on their faces, but the quality and structure of their jokes. Comedians are often offensive – and I’m not about to get into the whole “free speech/censorship/funny is an opinion” roundabout. Louis C.K. can make me laugh by often making fun of the fucked-up-ed-ness of humans. A lot of Daniel Tosh’s jokes are just fucked up.
At the end of the clip above, Louis C.K. mentions that he is fond of jokes about “bad things… rape, the Holocaust, etc.” He does jokes about bad things. I think he does them well. He’s smart and he knows some very important rules about humor: self deprecating humor is gold, humor can be found in awful things when you make fun of the awfulness and not the people it happened to.
I, however, do find a difference between a rape joke and a joke about the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the past – it is not something that people live in fear of today. You will also never hear someone blame a Holocaust victim for what happened to them. Rape is a very real fear and too often a reality for many women. With the statistics being one in five, a smart comic knows that a rape joke could always ALWAYS go either way.
For the most part, I don’t find rape jokes funny. Rape jokes hurt survivors of rape. Making light of it kind of supports a rapist’s belief that rape is okay. There are very few comedians who can work a rape joke into their act while highlighting it as a social ill, or commenting on the very real, frightening role it plays in women’s lives.
I liked Daniel Tosh the first few times I saw his show on Comedy Central. Then I quickly tired of his misogynistic jokes and what started to become, for lack of a better term, shock-joke-vomiting. What truly makes him an immature comedian, though, was his handling of the lady heckler at the Laugh Factory two weeks ago.
“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…”
He was using rape to shut her up. He was basically asking the audience to imagine a very violent crime happening to the woman standing in front of them. He was scaring her, humiliating her, and punishing her for disrupting his show. It was hateful. It perpetuates violence against women. It was morally disgusting.
Hecklers are a comedian’s worst nightmare. I imagine that if you’re standing up there alone in front of hundreds of people, a shout out from an audience member feels like a personal attack. It’s a vulnerable place behind a microphone. You probably shouldn’t step in front of one if you have a tendency to behave like a dick.
Seriously, people have still not forgotten Michael Richards hurling racial slurs at a heckler. Despite his appearance on several talk shows and attempts to sincerely apologize, his comedy career when straight down after that. He just wasn’t likable any more, and when you can’t fill the seats your done.
There is so much backlash on the internet right now that I’m sure some are wondering if the same will happen to Daniel Tosh.
No, it won’t.
At present, we live in a society that does not publicly support racism, but still blames the victims of rape. Rape is a “touchy issue” and “makes people uncomfortable” so there is not enough dialogue, not enough public outcry.
Furthermore, the majority of comedy clubs are owned by men. The president of Comedy Central is a man. The majority of people that pull the strings that could make or break Daniel Tosh’s career are men. I’m not saying that all men love rape jokes, and would defend how he attacked that audience member. I am saying that for the majority of men, rape is something that exists abstractly. It is not something that could happen to them simply because they are a man.
Daniel Tosh still has a lot of fans.
I don’t see Daniel Tosh going anywhere.
I also don’t see him stopping his slew of rape jokes.
On some level, we still live in a rape culture. Rape is severely underreported because of the fear, shame, and stigma that come with doing so. The victim is still consistently blamed for wearing a short skirt, walking late at night, drinking too much, or just being too female. Laws are being passed taking away women’s reproductive rights. Some people still view a woman as less of a person than a man, and publicly wishing violence on a woman as entertainment just perpetuates the rape culture.
Survivors and their supporters will raise their voices.
Others will yell about censorship.
Daniel Tosh will try to ignore it all and forge ahead…
and the general public will soon forget.
Blatant racism is not marketable.
The same can’t be said about rape.
Please prove me wrong.
PS- Like you need another link to click on or video to watch. This is a rape joke that I think works because she highlights the very real fears that women live with.