Melissa Harris-Perry weighed in on the recent controversy surrounding Daniel Tosh's rape joke on her Sunday MSNBC show.
Tosh recently apologized for aiming a rape joke at a female audience member during a performance at Los Angeles comedy club, The Laugh Factory, after reportedly telling the audience that rape jokes were always funny.
The audience member blogged about her experience, a post that was later picked up by multiple websites. Many comedians defended Tosh's joke, while others debated if he had crossed the line.
Harris-Perry said she found the discussion surrounding Tosh's joke fascinating. She said, "On the one hand, there's this feminist part of me that wants to scream 'rape is never funny.' And then there's this part of me that, you know, listens to obscene humor."
Harris-Perry's guest, Nation columnist Jessica Valenti, understood Harris-Perry's response. Valenti argued that some rape jokes were funny, but they were crafted in specific ways. "I think that we can joke about rape...we often use comedy to talk about tragedy...but I think a good joke about rape is one that is subversive, not one that's terrifying," she said. Valenti said comedians like Wanda Sykes and George Carlin struck this balance well.
She said, "What makes them good is that they point out what's awful, absurd and horrifying about rape. What they don't do is belittle it or make light of the rape itself, which is what Daniel Tosh did."
Harris-Perry continued the conversation by hosting a round table discussion with comedians. Watch Harris-Perry's conversation with Valenti above, and her round table discussion below.
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