This whole Todd Akin "legitimate rape" thing got us thinking about the recent controversy over comedian Daniel Tosh's rape joke, which then got us thinking about something Jeff Ross once told us about how comedians are perceived:

"...sometimes they ... treat us like we're role models or politicians. We can't be held to that standard. If Tracy Morgan flubs it's a lot different than if a politician flubs. Tracy's not running for office..."

It's a fair point, though we can't deny that some other strong points were made about rape culture in the wake of Tosh's joke making headlines. As Lindy West put it on Jezebel:

According to the CDC, one in four female college students report that they've been sexually assaulted (and when you consider how many rapes go unreported, because of the way we shame victims and trivialize rape, the actual number is almost certainly much higher). That means that if you're a comic performing to a reasonably full room, there's a pretty good chance that at least one person in the audience has been sexually assaulted.... So when you make a joke in that room that trivializes rape or mocks rape victims, you are deliberately ... harming those people. On purpose. Not because you're a rapist—you're probably not—but because you're selfish and amateurish and lazy and scared.

All that taken into consideration, we wanted to put the question to you: which is worse, Daniel Tosh making a joke about rape, or an elected politician saying that there is such a thing as "legitimate rape" and using that weak logic -- and bad science -- as rationale for public policy decisions?

Take our poll and then join the conversation in the comments.

Quick Poll

Which is worse: Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" comment or Daniel Tosh's rape joke?

VOTE

Also on HuffPost:

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  • Tracy Morgan

    An angry audience member reported on Facebook that Tracy Morgan went on a tirade during a stand-up show allegedly saying that gay was a choice and that he would stab his son if he found out he was gay. Morgan's comments sparked a huge debate about going too far in comedy. Morgan later apologized saying <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/10/tracy-morgans-homophobic-remarks_n_874699.html" target="_hplink">"While I am an equal opportunity jokester, and my friends know what is in my heart, even in a comedy club this clearly went too far and was not funny in any context."</a>

  • Michael Richards

    Michael Richards berated an audience member in 2006 repeatedly calling him "nigger" and saying "50 years ago we'd have you hanging upside down with a fucking fork up your ass." Richards later apologized but the incident prompted the Laugh Factory to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/11/20/kramer-actor-to-be-banned_n_34539.html" target="_hplink">ban the comedian</a>.

  • Daniel Tosh

    A Tumblr post titled "A Girl Walks Into A Comedy Club" described an incident wherein Daniel Tosh allegedly teased an audience member saying, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/10/daniel-tosh-rape-joke-laugh-factory_n_1662882.html" target="_hplink">''Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now?" </a>Tosh later apologized on Twitter for the remark.

  • Amy Schumer

    During the 2011 Roast of Charlie Sheen, Schumer joked about Steve-O's recently deceased friend Ryan Dunn saying, "I know you must have been thinking, 'It could have been me,' and I know we were all thinking, 'Why wasn't it?'" After the Roast, Steve-O said that Jeffrey Ross texted him and asked him to tell his fans that Steve-O was fine with Schumer, because she was receiving death threats. Schumer has stood by not apologizing for the comment.

  • George Carlin

    Comedians often cite George Carlin as one of their biggest inspirations. Carlin broke barriers and sparked debates with his "Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television" bit. When "Filthy Words" aired on a radio station, a father heard it with his son and complained to the FCC. This lead to the Supreme Court case of the FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation which held that it was within the first amendment to censor certain material.

  • Roseanne Barr

    Roseanne memorably butchered the national anthem at a 1990 San Diego Padres game, seemingly making a joke out of the performance. President George Bush senior called the performance "a disgrace." In 2011, on her reality show "Roseanne's Nuts," Barr sang the anthem again, better this time.

  • Jackie Mason

    During a 1964 performance on "The Ed Sullivan Show," Jackie Mason was a bit perturbed when Sullivan tried to signal for him to wrap it up (President Johnson was about to give a speech). Mason started making movements with his fingers, mocking Sullivan. After the show, Sullivan banned Mason from future performances alleging that Mason gave him "the finger." Mason filed a libel suit and in the end a court proved that Mason had, in fact, not given the finger.

  • Ricky Gervais

    Ricky Gervais made headlines after his 2011 Golden Globes hosting gig for his colorful performance. In his opening monologue he joked, "Also not nominated 'I Love You Phillip Morris.' Jim Carrey Ewan McGregor, two heterosexual actors pretending to be gay. So the exact opposite of some famous scientologists then." The Hollywood Foreign Press released a statement saying that he did a nice job but that he <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/17/ricky-gervais-golden-globe-host-doesnt-care-if-anyone-was-offended-by-jokes_n_809967.html" target="_hplink">"...occasionally went too far."</a> They still asked him back for a second hosting gig.

  • Lenny Bruce

    Police arrested Lenny Bruce for obscenity in 1961 for his use of the word "cocksucker." Eventually he was acquitted.

  • Carlos Mencia

    Carlos Mencia is known for making broad generalizations about race in his jokes. However, in 2009 he was uninvited to ride on a float in the Mardi Gras parade after what many considered too-offensive Hurricane Katrina jokes. Mencia's routine included him saying that black people are hilarious because <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/06/carlos-mencia-pulled-from_n_164792.html" target="_hplink">"you will get on a bus to go to Million Man March, but you won't get on a bus to get away from Katrina."</a>

  • Sandra Bernhard

    In 2008, several reports surfaced that Sandra Bernhard had made a joke in her one woman show that Sarah Palin would be "gang-raped by my big black brothers" in New York City. Because of her comments, Bernhard<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/01/sandra-bernhard-cut-from_n_131091.html" target="_hplink"> was cut as a headliner</a> at an annual benefit at a woman's shelter. The twist? Bernhard later denied that she said any such thing, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/02/sandra-bernhard-denies-re_n_131326.html" target="_hplink">assuring that it was just an internet rumor that got out of hand</a>. She donated money to the woman's shelter, Rosie's House, instead of performing.

  • Kathy Griffin

    In 2007, Kathy Griffin won an Emmy for her Bravo reality show. She decided to make a mark with her acceptance speech, proclaiming that Jesus had nothing to do with her win. "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/09/09/kathy-griffin-on-emmy-win_n_63682.html" target="_hplink">So, all I can say is, 'suck it, Jesus.' This award is my god now."</a> Angered Christian groups called for the speech to be censored, but in her special "Straight to Hell" she joked that the whole incident had been "heaven" for her. "You can't buy this publicity," she said.

  • Chris Rock

    One of Chris Rocks' most controversial bits was his "niggers" vs. "black people" commentary during his 1996 HBO special "Bring The Pain." In 2009, Rock told "60 Minutes" that he would probably never say the joke again "'Cause some people that were racist thought they had license to say 'nigger.' So, I'm done with that routine."

  • Gilbert Gottfried

    During the 2001 Roast of Hugh Hefner, Gilbert Gottfried made a joke about not being able to get a direct flight. The joke ended, "They said they have to stop off at the Empire State Building." The punchline sparked debates about what was "too soon," considering the roast took place the same year as 9/11. In his "Dirty Jokes" DVD, Gottfried discussed the joke's "legendary" status.

  • Richard Pryor

    Many consider Richard Pryor a king of comedy -- and of controversy. With his short-lived TV show, "The Richard Pryor Show," Pryor had a skit where he played a rock star who killed all his white fans with a machine gun. The show's final episode has the famous roast of Pryor.