Monday, May 6, 2013

Okay, we're not quite done talking about sexual violence and comedy...

Sady Doyle wrote to comedian Sam Morril about his jokes about rape/hurting women.

If you've seen much stand-up, you've likely been in her situation before. You go to a show, you're having a grand old time, and then some ass gets onstage and thinks it's funny to make a date-rape joke. I paid $4 for this? Then Sam Morril wrote a response where he says he knows more about comedy than she does, and it's ironic and Sarah Silverman makes rape jokes so he can, too, blah blah blah, and he obviously doesn't get it. He says that because his feminist mom, manager and ex-girlfriend think his rape jokes are funny, it's cool. Sounds a lot like "but my best friend is ________."

Hey Sam:

1) Sure, you have the right to make jokes about rape (and the Boston marathon and the n-word.)

2) You're still responsible for the impact of your comedy on the world.  

3) There's a huge difference between a woman joking about being raped and a guy joking about raping. There are rape jokes that make fun of people who think rape is okay, and there are rape jokes that make fun of people who get assaulted. Many guys have proven that a rape joke doesn't have to be "rape=funny." It can also be "people who have sex without consent are assholes." 

4) Look at where your power is aimed. Is it challenging groups in power? Or making fun of groups or the experiences of groups that are already being shat upon? 

I'm totally appreciative of Sady Doyle's article. Yet, the world has no shortage of dudes who make shitty and cheap shock jokes about rape onstage. And some of these guys don't care that half a dozen folks in the audience have been raped. And some just don't realize it or realize how their art is supporting a world where wink-wink rape is hilarious. 

I don't care if comedians aren't onstage to make the world a better place. But it makes me mad when that power is used for supporting things like racism, sexism, ableism, fat phobia, heterosexism and other forms of discrimination and cruelty. You can joke about race, sex, disabilities, fatness, gayness and murder without (whoopsies! it's-ironic-so-it's-cool) accidentally endorsing hatred.

Recommended reading:

"Stop Saying Rape Jokes are Never Funny" by comedian Sarah Mowrey

Ugh.What a drag, right? This is why Wisecrack prefers to highlight amazing comedians who are making awesome shit. For instance, Issa Rae's Awkward Black Girl series. If you're not already familiar, go check it out. 

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