I Love You, Rob Delaney. (Or: How A Male Comedian Champions Women Using Penis Jokes)
3:00 pm, January 31st | by Hillary Reinsberg
For months, I have sought out a reason to write about comedian Rob Delaney. I think I’ve finally come up with one. Here, I will try to convince you, is a man who succeeds at championing women by telling penis jokes.
It feels as though Rob, or at least his Twitter account, is a member of my close circle of friends. His tweets are oft read aloud as we get together — his words on wanting to have sex with Adele’s ear have provided laughter on long car rides, and his relentless mocking of Rick Santorum have helped us all get through the day.
To the novice observer, some of his tweets might have you believe that Rob is a penis-obsessed sicko. It’s not hard to understand why someone might think that. It’s partially true.
Tweet Exhibit A: “If you throw the candy past the kids, they run after it & you have like 3 seconds to show their mom your dick.”
Tweet Exhibit B: “I don’t speak Italian, but Pinot Grigio means ‘slut fuel,’ right?”
Do not freak out on me just yet, for Rob comes very much in peace — his goal is to make you laugh with vulgar humor, not to degrade you. Just this morning, I came across an interview with Rob from last year. At one point, the interviewer asks Rob about a segment from his stand-up act in which he talks about…how do we put this in boss-approved lingo…men sexually pleasuring women. Here’s what he had to say in response:
“Funny, many women approached me after that set and said thank you. I will continue to talk about eating pu**y and the necessity of it as a political act. That’s a joke, sort of, but I really, really want to champion women with my comedy. Sexism and misogyny still run rampant in our world and in our culture and it will be the death of us if we don’t seek to counter it in our own lives. So I do focus on women a bit more in my comedy, because I think that destructive sexism is sort of the final frontier in prejudice. It would seem that racism and homophobia are closer to extinction than is sexism.”
Why do women laugh rather than get revolted? Because Rob’s jokes are real, honest, and relatable. By talking with and about women with some modicum of honesty, he succeeds in being both hysterical and raunchy, while also surreptitiously championing the ladies. He continues:
Well, for comedy to work, it has to be honest. It literally won’t prompt the organic physical laugh response if people don’t go, “Yeah, I identify with that!” Like, no one’s going to laugh at a Maxim or Cosmopolitan magazine—there is nothing honest in there. There may be honesty in some Cosmo articles, I don’t know, but by and large they’re selling women an image that is ridiculous and impossible (and, to me, not at all attractive).
Male stand up comedians aren’t exactly known for their outstanding work at honoring women (there are many exceptions, and I’m looking at you, Louis C.K.) and have sometimes earned a reputation for slighting, or degrading the ladies. For the most part, I think, that’s because there’s a tendency to exclude women from the joke. Rob, instead, doesn’t laugh at the ladies, he lets us laugh at ourselves. We’re all in on the joke. Which is what Rob would tell you, but he’d say it in a 140 character tweet that would have you laughing all afternoon.