Rape is a heinous crime. It’s not fun. It’s definitely not funny. But, if you’re someone who believes in pushing the boundaries with humor, there are a few things you need to consider before getting on stage and spitting some R-rated lines.
- Choose A Side
When talking about rape, if you’ve not been a victim, you’re automatically going to sound insensitive. The immediate argument will be “If you don’t know how it feels, you definitely cannot make fun of it. Remember, being molested is not the same as being raped. “I was once touched inappropriately. It felt wrong. I can definitely imagine what rape might feel like.” Wrong. That’s almost like saying “I’m a man, and most rapists are men. So, by extension, I can relate to them.” Just for the element of surprise, don’t try to shock your audience and call it dark humor. You have to make it explicitly clear – are you condemning the act or condoning it? There is no middle ground.
- Make A Convincing Argument
Don’t wait till the audience asks you, “What’s your point?” Don’t make the rookie mistake of picking on a subject like rape because it’s an edgy topic, and people will pay attention to you. Especially if you’re not confident that they will laugh at the end. Don’t make a statement like “Rape is bad, guys! Don’t do it.” They don’t need to hear it from you. They already knew it. If you’re going to tell them what they want to hear, don’t be a comedian. Join politics. If you’re bold enough to argue that rape isn’t so bad after all, convince the audience beyond a doubt – to the point where they’ve becoming accomplices. It takes a special kind of genius to do that. Do not take it lightly. Off the top of my head, the best example I can quote is Bill Burr’s bit about hitting women. He says something along the lines of “You shouldn’t hit women. It’s not right. But, I don’t think there is no reason to hit a woman. Sometimes, they ask for it. Just don’t do it.” You should be able to find the clip online. Also remember, that’s Bill Burr. A lot of people pay good money to watch him. They will listen to anything he has to say. If you go on stage on your third open mic and crack jokes about rape, the first thing I’d think is, “Who the fuck is this? What do they know about rape? BOOOOOO!”
- Always Punch Up
The definition of punching up is pretty easy. Never make it look like it’s the victim’s fault. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. But, it takes some getting used to. When you punch up, you should steer clear of stereotypical mumbo-jumbo. It’s common sense. Do not trivialize the issue. If you’re going to start your set with “I don’t get what’s the big deal about rape”, stop; go kill yourself.
- Rape Has Nothing To Do With Sex
This is the first thing you need to understand. Rape is more than just nonconsensual sex. It’s not an extreme state of horniness. Rape is a display of power. It’s psychological. The size of a rapist’s penis has nothing to do with it.
While it is true that stand-up comedy is about upsetting balances, challenging ideologies, and calling out bullshit, don’t take it too far. It doesn’t matter if they’re laughing with you or at you. It’s your duty to make sure they laugh for the right reasons. There are a lot of rape jokes online. Everyone laughs it off, because they don’t attach a person or voice to it. Stand-up isn’t just telling jokes. You’re sugarcoating an uncomfortable truth. One joke isn’t worth being branded an insensitive asshole. Always ask yourself: what do I stand(up) for?