Amy Poehler and Tina Fey prove rape jokes can be funny. On one critical condition.

They did it. They went there.

Comedians Amy Poehler and Tina Fey made a rape joke about actor Bill Cosby in front of the world’s most famous people.

And so they should have.

Poehler and Fey just hosted the Golden Globes for the third and final time. They couldn’t really, truly, in all good conscience, not make a rape joke about Bill Cosby. Because of who they are (comedians), what they represent (feminism) and the enormous megaphone they had been presented with (the Globes are watched by millions worldwide).

More than 20 women have accused 77-year-old Cosby of sexually assaulting them, and not one of them has seen justice. Poehler-Fey chose to avenge those women in the best way they know how: with a well-timed joke.

Watch this, and sit with the shock for a second – like actress Jessica Chastain, who covers her eyes in shock, or Helen Mirren, who looks pleasantly aghast.

That is how you make a roomful of celebrities extremely uncomfortable.

This is real, dangerous comedy in action. If you ask me, it’s fucking magnificent. It’s also a very short masterclass in telling a rape joke: By targeting the alleged perpetrator, not the alleged victims.

Obviously, the act or allegation of rape is never funny. It’s horrific and unforgivable. We know that.


But we also know that rape victims are routinely silenced and that male entertainers are forgiven their sins when they’re successful. We’ve watched entertainers like Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville face court for what they allegedly did to women in the ’80s. Too much time has passed for Cosby to be tried for the crimes allegedly committed by him – but if he did anything comparable to those men – he shouldn’t be able to get away with it.

Poehler and Fey made their Cosby joke so that we don’t forget the serious, heinous allegations made against yet another famous guy. Mentioning him — and even better, doing an impression of him — is their way of holding Cosby accountable for the accusations made, when the legal system can’t and Hollywood won’t.

This is part of Cosby’s trial by media; the legal system might not be able to get him, but these two fearless feminist comedians aint gonna let it slide.

Actually, it’s not even the first rape joke they’ve made about Cosby.

Rumours about him have been around so long, Poehler and Fey first called him out back in 2005 on Saturday Night Live:

Now it is critical we remember that Bill Cosby has not been tried or charged or convicted of sexual assault.

Yet so many women have come forward with allegations against Cosby, it’s a case of “He Said, She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said She Said.” It’s his word, his reputation, and his goddamn collection of novelty sweaters against a group of traumatised women.


And so far, he’s won.

Let’s not forget who else recently made a joke about Bill Cosby drugging women. Bill fucking Cosby did.

Cosby was performing his stand up show in Canada on January 8th, when a woman in the front row got up and began walking out. According to several audience members and media reports, Cosby asked where she was going. She said she was going to the bar, and offered him a drink. “I already have one,” he said, gesturing to his water bottle. “You have to be careful drinking around me.”

Now. When Cosby made that joke, he had an agenda: to disempower the women who spoke out against him and to shrug off the embarrassment of their accusations. He also did it because he can. He’s powerful, famous, male and untouchable. Of course he can crack a rape joke about himself in an auditorium of people who paid to see him there, and get away with it.

Poehler and Fey’s rape joke was not just hilarious, it was necessary. They tackled one of the last taboos of comedy and they absolutely pulled it off.

It was a loud, brave, joke-sized protest. Bravo.