Today in Rape Culture

[Trigger warning.]

Still apparently on his "Rape is Hilarious" tour (parts one, two, three), Ricky Gervais appeared on The Tonight Show last night and brought with him a clip from his soon-to-premiere new HBO series, The Ricky Gervais Show, which is a collection of animated clips from the extremely popular podcasts he did with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington. And—wouldn't you know it?—the clip he brought just happened to be a protracted rape joke.

[Transcript below.]

Now, to be fair, I'll note the possibility that Merchant approached the topic with the idea of making a (serious, if humorous) commentary on the many ways men find to take advantage of women, but, intentions aside, it quickly derails into a standard-issue rape joke, where it's not remotely clear at whose expense the joke is being told. The added animation, however, leaves no room for confusion: We are meant to laugh at the wacky rapist doctor because he is a rapist and the dubious woman because she is about to be raped.

As a survivor of rape, I don't find that very amusing. I'm pretty certain, though, my rapist would be able to quite comfortably laugh along.

I still don't understand—and I don't believe I ever will—why anyone wants to be this guy.
O'Brien: Do you— You have a clip here.

Gervais: Oh yeah.

O'Brien: Yeah, and, again, this is you and—

Gervais: [looks at watch] We could probably show the whole show; we've probably got half an hour left in this time slot.

O'Brien: You've got to stop!

Gervais: Sorry! Sorry!

O'Brien: Uh, this is great, because it's you guys, it's you and Stephen Merchant, just having a good time, and then—

Gervais: We read emails, and we read things from the news, and we just—it's all ad-libbed. It's all—we're just chatting. And they've animated that sort of behind our backs, so, uh, it just gives it just a new lease of life, when you know that everything we're saying was just absolutely—

O'Brien: Right, and then they animate it, and—

Gervais: Yeah.

O'Brien: Well, let's take a look at this clip, from "The Ricky Gervais Show."

[begin animated clip; cartoons of Merchant, Gervais, and Karl Pilkington are sitting at a desk]

Merchant: [reading from a piece of paper] A Serbian man has invented a sex machine for women. It runs on a 390-volt electric engine, simulates sex, and has a seven-and-a-half-inch artificial penis. As soon as I read this, I was thinking—I just imagined him there going [cartoon of middle-aged doctor shaking the hand of a young blonde woman] "Oh, thanks for coming in, yeah, okay. So what's going to happen is [doctor shows off sex machine, which is represented as a big computer with a hole in it at the end of a bed] a penis is going to pop out from here [gestures at hole] and it's gonna have sex with you. I'm gonna stand behind the machine—"

[Ricky Gervais bursts out laughing.]

Merchant: "—I'm gonna stand behind there, because there's a lot of dials and stuff, that I don't want to bore you with—"

Gervais: [woman frowns and looked concerned] "Well, why do you have to stand behind it?"

Merchant: [doctor takes off lab coat] "Just—I can't—it's technical stuff. I gotta hide—"

Gervais: [woman, still frowning, points at hole] "There's no, there's no penis on the robot at the moment. It's just a hole."

Merchant: [doctor removes his shoes] "Don't worry. [Merchant laughs] What'll happen is I will switch the machine on, I'll go behind, and then a penis will appear."

Gervais: [woman still looks concerned] "Will it be like a metal-looking penis?"

Merchant: [doctor unbuttons his shirt and removes it] "It will be a robotic penis, but it will seem like it's a regular fleshy human—"

Gervais: "So you've made this sort of like what a penis looks like, really realistic?"

Merchant: [doctor speaks from behind the machine] "It's really realistic. You will not be able to tell the difference between, say, the robot one and…mine, for instance."

Gervais: [woman looks upset] "Okay, well, I don't wanna see yours."

Merchant: [doctor, undressed, peeks around from behind the machine] "No, no, no, absolutely not."

[Audience laughter makes the next bit hard to hear, but it's basically the woman saying something like, "I didn't come here to have sex with a human; I came in to test the machine," and the doctor saying something like, "No, sex with a machine, and that's exactly what you're going to get" as we see him hiding behind the machine taking his pants off. Cut back to the studio with O'Brien and Gervais.]

O'Brien: I love that. That is hilarious! [He then plugs Gervais' new show and the Golden Globes, which Gervais is hosting.]

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