Remember last week when Daniel Tosh allegedly told a comedy club audience member that it would be funny if she got gang-raped when she told him rape jokes weren’t funny? And then the internet exploded and Comedy Central scrambled to find episodes of Tosh.0 that didn’t have rape jokes and the oceans turned to blood or whatever?
Well, while that was happening, Louis CK made the unforgivable mistake of tweeting at Tosh that his Comedy Central show was funny. And there was much gnashing of teeth.
OMG Louis CK is DEFENDING Daniel Tosh! Louis CK loves rape! He has a belt where he hangs the hymens of his many rape conquests ERMAGERD!!!!! BURN YOUR COPIES OF HILARIOUS IF YOU CARE ABOUT FEMINISM!
Either that or, according to Louis CK himself, he saw an episode of Tosh.0 while vacationing in Vermont and took to Twitter to tell a fellow comedian he liked his work, blissfully ignorant of ToshGate.
The creator and star of Louie appeared last night on The Daily Show to talk about the shitstorm with Jon Stewart:
Some people might feel Louie is spinning bullshit about being unaware of the whole Tosh.ohnohedidn’t debacle, but I am inclined to believe him, and I freely admit that it’s because he is my comedy boyfriend and I don’t want to think badly of him. Anyway, CK makes some excellent points about both sides of this debate. The stereotype about feminists is that we can’t take a joke and, as a self-professed feminist, I can assure you that there are feminists who embody that generalization. But Louie also calls out comedians who can’t take criticism, which is an equally valid point. It’s perhaps his ability to take in what detractors have to say and learn from it that makes Louis CK such a good comedian, someone who has successfully (in my opinion) told a good rape joke:
But to get back to the original topic, it’s entirely possible Louis CK genuinely does defend what Tosh did. After all, there is this clip from his show Louie, where he deals with a heckler (played by Smash‘s Megan Hilty) during his set, and the fallout it remarkably similar until the conversation leaves the comedy stage:
Regardless of how you might feel about how Louie (or Tosh, for that matter) dealt with the heckler in this situation, I have to admit it would be nice if this kind of dialogue could happen between comedians and the people who don’t like their jokes for whatever reason. I wonder how the situation with Tosh may have gone differently if he and his heckler had the chance to speak in a relatively civilized way outside the club. Maybe he could he have told her, “Of course I don’t really want you to be raped, but you interrupted my set, which is very frustrating and upsetting to me as someone who does this for a living. It breaks my concentration and literally steals away from the 15 minutes I get to shine tonight. And the way comedians typically deal with that kind of interruption is to say horrible things about that person until they shut up or leave.”
And then maybe she could have said something like, “Okay, I hear you, but as a woman, I have to let you know how threatening and scary that felt for me. And, as for my interruption, maybe it was wrong, but I felt compelled to let you know how upsetting it is to have people laugh about something that is traumatic and upsetting for a very large part of the population, and that it is potentially contributing to a culture that diminishes that trauma and the women who have experienced it.”
And then maybe Daniel and his heckler could have decided to grab coffee and continue a nice, human dialogue about rape culture and humor and exchange friendship bracelets. Or, at the very least, have some sort of discussion that isn’t filtered through a noisy throng of bloggers reading into the involved parties’ intentions.