It's an arc of a performance, that starts with her telling a sweet but sick story of performing in an incestuous sex show and culminates in the heart-stopping, clear-eyed revelation that "Joe Franklin raped me." Except, of course, she's proudly trodding on the landmine of comedy — and, honestly, it's so disturbing, it's funny.
Jessica Valenti's recent piece in The Guardian about female comedians praised Wanda Sykes' now-infamous rape joke from her 2006 comedy special about detachable vaginas.
Sykes brings a biting comedy to the most controversial topics, throwing new light on issues that are all too easily written off as age-old and intractable: rape, for example.And she does, but let's break down what she's joking about: she's joking about stranger rape, and she's making light of Kobe Bryant's victim, who was raped after she went up to his hotel room at the ungodly hour of 2 in the morning. In fact, you could argue — and I am — that Wanda Sykes is poking fun of that victim for being, you know, stupid enough to get raped. Is it only funny when Wanda Sykes does it? Many of you would say yes (and, in fact have said that it's never funny to say something like that). Do you still think so? In fact, Jessica Valenti herself recently wrote, in response to a rape joke shown on The Office "there's never really a funny rape joke, is there?" Well, here's the rape joke she — and many of you, judging by our e-mails — didn't like: