Sarah Silverman, rape joke trailblazer


Photo by Joan Garvin

Today’s New York Times has another one of their “trend” stories in which they assert the dubious existence of a new fad. This time, they’re talking about female comics making jokes about rape, which is a phenomenon that anecdotally seems to be on the rise.

And the pioneering female rape stand-up comedian who started it all? Sarah Silverman.

Nearly a decade ago, she made a rape joke that made the audience laugh while feeling shame for having done so, which is the best kind of humor. “I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl,” she deadpanned.

And since that moment, other female comics have been freed to follow their rape joke fancy, an area in which male comedians feel they must tread lightly.

Silverman doesn’t seem worried about the feelings of rape victims. “Who’s going to complain about rape jokes? Rape victims?” she asked during a recent stand-up performance. “They barely even report rape.” Another funny one, because it’s painfully too true.

The article goes on to highlight other female comics that have trafficked in sexual assault humor, including Whitney Cummings, who the Times has dedicated considerable ink to in the past few months because of her use of “vagina” in her two sitcoms, “2 Broke Girls” and the eponymous “Whitney.”




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