So all of our nerves are a little…raw right now, amirite? So I asked Siri, “Siri, tell me a funny rape joke.”
She replied: “I can’t. I always forget the punchline.”
Which is pretty funny, when you think about it. So I googled “funny rape jokes,” and here’s what I got (by no means a complete list; this is Google, after all):
A 2016 article from Splinter, one of the Gawker Media sites, with this headline: Meet the woman making rape jokes that are actually funny. It’s about Adrienne Truscott, who does a one-woman stand-up show about you-know-what. She performs it in a denim jacket, push-up bra and platform shoes. No pants:
Truscott tells her audience that she understands why people didn’t believe Bill Cosby, the stand-up dad of America, could rape anyone because a rapist is usually someone you know and trust. She jokes about how ironic it is that Tosh is “the poster child for rape jokes” because “he looks exactly like a date rapist: college educated, white and clean cut.” She role plays with men in the audience, putting cream in their coffee and milk in their cereal even when they tell her no over and over again. She says that while women are blamed for wearing clothes that lure a rapist in, all a rapist has to wear is “pants and a blind look of entitlement.” She forces members in the audience to not only laugh at her jokes, but to laugh at the ignorant philosophy of everyone from men in Congress to men catcalling on the streets.
“The one thing [women] don’t ever want to do is fuck that guy on the corner,” Truscott says.
I’d see that show. I bet I’d laugh. Back to Google:
More stand-up comedy, this time in Canada. Tip to the writer: If you report a whole story about comedians exploring rape and can’t find one joke worth including, turn in your press card. Unless this was the best you can do:
Cooper told the audience about a love note left for her by a man who, after consensual sex, proceeded to remove the condom and reinsert himself.
In the note, he had spelled the word “beautiful” wrongly. “Which made me realise that I need to get standards,” she joked. “Rapists’ standards. I want a smart rapist who can understand and spell hard words like, ‘communication’, ‘consent’ and ‘coercion’.”
Not funny, but this is Canada, after all. The Nation tried harder, and found some; I like Wanda Sykes’:
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our pussies were detachable? Just think about it. You get home from work, it’s getting a little dark outside, and you’re like, ‘I’d like to go for a jog…but it’s getting too dark, oh! I’ll just leave it at home!’… [There’s] just so much freedom—you could do anything. You could go visit a professional ball player’s hotel room at two in the morning. Sex? My pussy’s not even in the building!
See, here’s what I believe: Like Jon Carroll, I think nothing is not funny. Rape, pedophilia, Alzheimer’s disease – all are funny, or can be, in the right hands. It’s all in how you tell it, and who tells it. This is Humor 101, the section in the textbook called The Duh Intro.
Today, Rod Dreher got his knickers in a twist over the Uncle Roy sketches on “Saturday Night Live,” back when it was edgy and much, much funnier. Maybe you remember them? Gilda Radner and Laraine Newman played two little girls being babysat by their dad’s creepy friend, played by Buck Henry. Dreher was trying to link them to Al Franken, but it turns out they were written by two women, alas. I remember watching them and being simultaneously squicked out and laughing my ass off, which makes them pretty successful as humor. I won’t make excuses for them if people who actually went through that were re-traumatized; I get it, but I still laughed.
Nothing is not funny. Because humor is how we cope with tragedy and pain. Humor is a victims’ prerogative, though, not the perpetrator’s. That might be my rule. Or, as Nora Ephron put it in “Heartburn”:
Because if I tell the story, I control the version.
Because if I tell the story, I can make you laugh, and I would rather have you laugh at me than feel sorry for me.
Because if I tell the story, it doesn’t hurt as much.
Because if I tell the story, I can get on with it.
Good weekend, all.