God help us, we agree with The View

by Brian McKim & Traci Skene on July 13th, 2012

Sarah Devlin, writing for Mediaite, reports that the three comedians who make up the bulk of the panel on ABC’s The View defended Daniel Tosh’s rape joke.

Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg, however, took the position that if the joke is funny and works, just about anything is fair game. As an example, Behar read a joke of Sarah Silverman’s aloud: “I was raped by a doctor, which is so bittersweet for a Jewish girl” to a big laugh from the audience. It was an interesting position in that it managed to be critical of Tosh’s joke (which they all agreed was unfunny and inappropriate) while also affirming the right of comics to try out new, outrageous material– provided they can take responsibility for it if it bombs.

It’s a heavily qualified defense. (But we can understand why– they’re on a daytime television show that has perhaps a 95 per cent viewership.)

But it’s heartening that Behar actually quoted Sarah Silverman‘s joke. The joke pretty much destroys the number one contention by those who condemned Tosh most harshly– that is that rape jokes are never funny. And after that collapses, there remains only one other criticism of Tosh– that his particular joke (which was really a response to a heckler) wasn’t funny. Of course, this is not much of a criticism as 1) none of us were there and we have only the account of the complainant to rely on and 2) comedy is subjective, so, while many of the complainant’s supporters may think the response was ugly, vicious, cruel, violent (take your pick), we thought it was a fine example of a response that used absurdity, exaggeration and irony. And that only a moron would believe that he was honestly trying to incite a rape or that anyone present would be so moved. So… it’s a wash.