Is a rape joke ever funny?
Particulars aside, the question is when — if ever — joking about difficult, insulting, horrific things is acceptable.
In a recent video for Big Think, comedian Paul F. Tompkins tackled the topic. He staunchly defended the art of comedy, and the right of comics to discuss whatever they want, as long as they are informed.
"If you've done your homework, and you've gone about it the right way, it will still be funny," he said.
The challenge for comics, however, is to keep true to the art they have perfected, while adapting it to the world's changing social currency:
"Comedians have to recognize that humor evolves and times change, and you can't stay stuck in the same place for too long, because then you're irrelevant."