Tosh says he was joking. Comedians make rape jokes every day, so why is this one getting so much attention? Because Tosh was more than “just kidding.” He was angry. His “joke” was reactive to the so-called heckler who called him out in front of an audience. He used humor to cut her down, to remind her of own vulnerability, to emphasize who was in control. The “joke” ignited a backlash because it was not a joke; it was vastly different from other jokes about rape. The debate over Tosh shouldn’t be “are rape jokes funny?” That’s misdirection: his statement was a wildly inappropriate putdown, reminder, and threat that this woman could be gang-raped, like right now. There’s a distinction between making a joke to cope or to point out the absurdity of a situation and what Tosh did, consciously or not, which was to use humor to humiliate a woman who stood up for something she believed in. His “joke” was a tool to assert his power—the opposite of how my “rape-pər-ˈtäzh” joke was a tool to reclaim mine.
Never really found this man funny.