There's an argument to be made for not joking about the Bill Cosby rape scandal—like, for example, the awkwardness of using the alleged victims' trauma as a "laugh line." But, writes Spencer Kornhaber in the Atlantic, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler went there during the Golden Globes, and it was the right thing to do. After joking that in Into the Woods, "Sleeping Beauty just thought she was getting coffee with Bill Cosby," the co-hosts started doing competing impressions of Cosby as pudding-pop pitcher—except they replaced "pudding pops" with "pills." "This was a rape joke with a point," writes Kornhaber, "a statement of support for accusers who have been maligned and had their motives questioned." And with those impressions, Fey and Poehler were trying "to redefine Cosby’s public persona permanently."
On Salon, Jenny Kutner agrees. Fey and Poehler managed to make "a rape joke that doesn’t joke about rape," she writes, and in doing so they were "refreshing and transgressive in joking about something that’s all too often joked about in the wrong way." Making the whole thing even more powerful, she notes, is the fact that so many people are still attempting to defend Cosby and push this whole issue under the rug. The audience was visibly and audibly shocked when Fey and Poehler started down the Cosby road, but these were the same celebrities talking about the importance of Charlie Hebdo all night, "ostensibly supporting the power of humor to highlight the problems of our world. Wasn’t that exactly what Fey and Poehler were doing?" Click for Kutner's full column, or Kornhaber's. (Read more Bill Cosby stories.)