If a tree falls in the forest and someone rapes it…could a stand up make a joke about it?

Aaah, the rape joke. Let the “It’s political correctness gone mad”-shitstorm begin, always ensuing when someone says something horrible with humorous intentions and someone else gets insulted with probably man-hating intentions who knows what those bitter feminists are thinking all the time.

Short summary for everyone who’s not in the know (which is understandable, the slip up of a comedian is not really high priority in news):

Woman goes to Stand Up show

Stand Up randomly talks about rape

Woman says that rape never is funny

Stand Up says that woman getting gang raped would be funny

People laugh

Woman leaves, insulted, blogs about it and everything goes hog wild

It’s a tricky topic and we all wish he would have made a joke about a wheel of cheese or faggots because then there wouldn’t have been any uproar but he did what he did and someone got upset.

I am honest, I have no idea how I would have reacted.

Someone suggesting that I should get gang raped and that it would be funny, however, probably would have put me at unease as well, I don’t know why, somehow the thought of gang rape is just not appealing. The thought of a wheel of cheese however…Anyways, did the woman ask for it because she heckled the stand up?

Tough call.

There is something about the sentiment of excusing everything you’re going to hear for its comedic value, however extreme it might be, that doesn’t sit right with me. The main problem is, that you have to be a really good and smart comedian to joke about things that shock people, that are tasteless and politically incorrect. It actually is a little like Hemingway’s iceberg theory: leave out as much as is needed to carve a text into perfection, but don’t you dare to leave things out just because you don’t know any better. You have to know what is hidden between the lines otherwise it’s just a hollow text.

The same goes for politically incorrect humor. You have to know what’s wrong about it, you have to know when it gets uncomfortable for the audience and why, if not, you’re just a jerk trying to shock without any value than shock alone. Hell, you could have saved everyone a lot of time and threw dog poo at them when they entered the room. Same result, less time and energy wasted (except maybe for collecting all that dog poo) and it would be a nice intro to the quite possibly following, metaphorical shitstorm to your actual shitstorm.

Humor is no excuse to be ignorant, quite to the contrary, if you don’t know precisely what you are doing, you embarrass the whole comedic trade by joking about the holocaust, slaves and little drug-stuffed babies without making a point and therefore diminishing them to punchlines. And expecting the audience to sit there and take it? You’re gonna have a bad time.

The best article about this can be found here and it sums up pretty much what I think about it.

However, the best thing of all things about political correctness, whether it be demanded by all those bitter feminists, angry religious nuts, liberals, republicans, Afro-Americans, Santa Claus (you know because of the war on Christmas), rape victims and butthurt critics, has been summed up by the always brilliant Stewart Lee, so bask in his genius:


2 thoughts on “If a tree falls in the forest and someone rapes it…could a stand up make a joke about it?

  1. Many people (I don’t mean to include you, of course.) seem to have trouble grasping the concept that sometimes all parties to a conflict can be wrong and no one is right.
    An unfunny comedian is as much an unpleasant person as someone who thinks that certain things can never be funny, although in this case, the comedian might be considerbly less pleasant.
    On the other hand, everybody should have had a chance to learn that you never, ever bother a guy if he has the microphone and you don’t.


    1. I agree completely, I am not a fan of hecklers, nor do I think that comedy or being on stage excuses every insult. And I do think that you could make fun about everything but it always matters how you do it. It’s an incredibly tricky situation, especially as both parties involved didn’t seem particularly sympathetic to me.

      What do we learn from this? If you want to heckle, bring your own microphone…


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