Sarah Silverman demonstrates how to make a rape joke

One of my favorite things about a lot of the feminist response to Daniel Tosh’s rape “joke” is the way it’s taken a nuanced approach to the issue instead of repeating the tired soundbite that no rape jokes are funny. As Maya said in the Weekly Feminist Reader: “If there’s one thing the Daniel Tosh episode has taught us, I hope it is that rape jokes can be funny.” It’s not that the topic is off limits for comedy, it’s just that jokes that target victims and perpetuate rape culture make you a lazy asshole. Humor is ideally suited to target our absurd culture around rape, though.

Sarah Silverman demonstrates that perfectly in this excerpt from her stand up show, which oddly enough was recorded on the same evening Tosh made his rape joke threat:


(Transcript after the jump.)

Also check out this video that contrasts uncreative jokes that just regurgitate our cultural messages around rape with smart humor that’s actually aimed at rape culture. The video is a collaboration between The Women’s Media CenterPop Culture PirateFem 2.0, and Women In Media & News.


(Transcript below.)

And here’s a CNN op-ed by the Women’s Media Center’s Julie Burton and Michelle Kinsey Burns to go with the video.

Sarah Silverman video:

Sarah Silverman: We need more rape jokes. We really do. I love that some people applauded that.

Needless to say, rape, the most heinous crime imaginable. Seems it’s a comic’s dream, though. Because it seems that when you do rape jokes that like the material is so dangerous and edgy. But the truth is it’s like the safest area to talk about in comedy. Cause who’s going to complain about a rape joke? Rape victims? They don’t even report rape. I mean, they’re traditionally not complainers. Like the worst maybe thing that could happen, and I would feel terrible, is like after a show maybe somebody comes up to you and is like, “Look I’m a victim of rape, and as a victim of rape I just want to say I thought that joke was inappropriate and insensitive and totally my fault and I am so sorry.” That’s right, let’s take them down a notch! They’ve had it too good for too long, am I right? Let’s take back the night back!

Obviously not that I need to back track and qualify this, I think you know me by now. Obviously no woman is asking to be raped. I do think there are some women who are asking to be motor boated.

Rape Joke Supercut:

Wanda Sykes: That’s a lot of fucking pressure, and I would like a break. You know what would make my life so much easier, ladies wouldn’t you love this? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our pussies were detachable?

Sarah Silverman: Who’s going to complain about a rape joke, rape victims? They don’t even report rape.

Daniel Tosh: Beat it, slut! Go get raped on your own corner!

Louis CK: Unless you have a reason, like you want to fuck somebody and they won’t let you, in which case what other option do you have?

Tosh: Rohipnol, rape drug. I got her so good a few weeks ago, I replaced her pepper spray with silly string. That night she got raped. Hey buddy, no means yes.

Louis CK: How else are you supposed to have an orgasm in their body if you don’t rape them, I mean what the fuck.

They raping everybody, they raping everybody.

It would be considered heroic for me to rape you.

I said the worst thing you can do to a woman is rape her and then call her fat.

Dave Chappelle: I can’t believe you laughed about that.

George Carlin: I believe you can joke about anything, it all depends on how you construct the joke, what the exaggeration is.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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