My brilliant friend and hilarious comic Barbara Holm wrote this piece about how some dick hole comic told a rape joke at an open mic, she didn’t laugh, and he bullied her from the stage about it. This would be tacky behavior if the joke were about cats or airplane food, but because the joke in question is about rape this is some gendered, emotionally-charged shit. Male AND female comics
need to had better recognize why some of us cannot abide by this shit any longer.
Here’s what happens when you tell your DUMB shit, ill-advised rape jokes.
1. You set up your joke about rape
2. I remember when I was raped *
3. You tell your punchline
4. It is not funny enough to bring me back into the present
5. You start talking about the mall, or cats or something.
6. I am left wallowing in my painful memory AT A COMEDY SHOW (where I’m expected to be funny… probably after you because there’s no justice in the universe)
*this may be the experience of 1/3 or more of the audience.
I want #4 to work out for you guys. I really do. I’ve seen it work, but those experiences are rare. Like double rainbows, but rape-y. I think comics are drawn to the challenge of taking a tragic/traumatic experience and making it into a cathartic bouquet of guffaws. That’s what we comics do with our own pain, it’s my favorite coping mechanism ever. I think this makes the world better, but only when you are successful!
If you have the jocular hubris to take on a majorly traumatic experience like sexual assault, you better bring it. You self-important, dumb, motherfuckers.
I recently had the privilege of talking with veteran comedy fairy-god-mother Susan Rice. She dropped this knowledge, “You have a responsibility to your audience. You can’t bring your shit to them and leave it there.” You gotta ask yourself, Why am I even talking about this dark horror show? What is this really about? Is it about your dumb ego? If so, just stop. Go talk to a therapist, not an audience.
I am also going to quote spider man here, as I often do: “with great power comes great responsibility.” You funny people have been picked to make the world brighter and lighter. Don’t let us down.