Whenever a comedy controversy occurs involving a comedian’s joke upsetting an audience member, the one thing that sticks in my craw is when I hear another comedian say “I’m tired comedians getting criticized by people who know nothing about comedy.”
If the entire audience is clueless about comedy, then wouldn’t that mean their laughs mean nothing? If they know nothing about comedy, then why tell them jokes in the first place?
Comedians who constantly defend bad rape jokes are a lot like gun nuts who defend assault rifles. They don’t want a real debate on the merits of some comedy because they don’t want to admit that some comedy has no merit, just like some guns have no merit. And just like the gun nuts invoke the Founding Fathers, you hear comedians citing the roads paved by Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Bill Hicks to help their argument. Newsflash: They’re dead, and they’re not here to vouch for you. They may have helped shape some of our ideas, but they didn’t issue us a blank check with which to pummel the audience with unfunny, “dark” material, so stop invoking them.
Just once I’d like to see a disgraced comedian admit that maybe their dumb joke about rape was indeed ignorant and that they could see where the offended party was coming from, instead of hiding behind the defense of friends and other comedians who weren’t there. Tell all the rape jokes you want, but at least own them. If the best comedy comes from truth, and you do a ton of jokes in which women die or get raped, the problem the audience has isn’t really that your jokes are “offensive” or that they didn’t “get it”, it’s that you come off as a creep with disturbing, violent fantasies, and you simply can’t force people to like that.