Are jokes about rape ever funny?
That's a question comedian and television host Daniel Tosh had to ask himself after ending up in the middle of a major backlash over a recent comedy routine.
Mr. Tosh apparently took to the stage during a recent stand-up show and told audience members that rape could be funny.
A female audience member challenged him, yelling out that rape jokes aren't funny. Mr. Tosh allegedly responded by saying it would be funny if several men raped the female heckler right then and there.
The account came to light after a friend of the woman wrote about it on her blog.
Mr. Tosh offered an apology on Twitter this week after the story continued to generate attention online. But in his apology, he says the quotes about what he said were taken out of context and that his point in talking about rape is to show that any subject can be used in a humorous context.
About the "taken out of context" thing: Jamie Masada, the club owner where Tosh performed, is disputing the female heckler's version of events. He told Buzzfeed that Tosh's rape comment wasn't a joke aimed at the woman.
"Masada says Tosh asked the audience, 'What you guys want to talk about?' After someone in the front said 'rape,' a woman in the audience started screaming, 'No, rape is painful, don't talk about it.' Then, Masada says, "Daniel came in, and he said, "Well it sounds like she's been raped by five guys" — something like that. I really didn't hear properly.' He continues, 'It was a comment — it wasn't a joke at the expense of this girl,'" writes Buzzfeed.
To be fair, Mr. Tosh is known for pushing the envelope when it comes to comedy and not shying away from controversial subjects. But many in the online world seem to agree that, no matter which version you believe, he seems to have gone too far this time.
Is any topic fair game for humour? Or do some jokes go too far?