The Tumblr is created by a fan of the game who is making a point about the lack of women in comedy. On the Tumblr, writer Kate Stayman-London explains her thinking: “Cards Against Humanity is awesome. Know what’s less awesome? A lack of ladies and lady-centric jokes in the comedy world, CAH included.”
You need to have played Cards Against Humanity in order to get the jokes, so if you’ve never played, here’s the idea. Each round, one person plays a card that’s printed with a simple question or statement (for example, “What gets better with age?”). Then everyone looks through the cards in their hands, which are all laden with ridiculous and horrible phrases (like, for example, “Filling every orifice with butterscotch”). Whoever plays the best answer to the initial card wins the round.
The game is intentionally offensive and is supposed to explore the dark things people find funny, but several people have written about how the has some upsetting cards that never feel funny. One person even created a feminist Cards Against Humanity deck of her own.
Cards Against Humanity responds to player reactions with every re-issue of the game (they’re on version four now). In an online Q&A recently, one of the game creators explained that they specifically removed cards with rape jokes from the game after coming to understand that the jokes crossed the line into unfunny territory:
“Obviously the core of Cards Against Humanity is finding shocking or offensive things (historical or contemporary) and trying to identify a funny or absurd angle to make fun of. The goal of our game is to make people laugh, so we have be sensitive to the line between delighting people and upsetting them. If a joke is too upsetting to too many people, it gets cut.
Rape jokes almost always tip the scale to “upsetting people” instead of “delighting them.” If I had to guess why, I would say that it’s because about a quarter of all women have been sexually assaulted. Additionally, while nearly everyone recognizes that The Trail of Tears and Auschwitz were wrong, not everyone agrees that rape is wrong.
We’re not here to tell you what kind of jokes you can or can’t make. But Cards Against Humanity is our game, and rape is something we don’t want to joke about.”
However, even without rape jokes, the decks are still full of potentially triggering cards of many stripes. Gamer Lillian Cohen-Moore explained last year how she and her friends “sanitized” their Cards Against Humanity decks by going through and taking out specific cards they found traumatic before playing. “Sanitizing a CAH deck doesn’t make it magically all-ages and all-people appropriate. But it does demonstrate the power game players have to remix their games, into forms that are sharable and enjoyable for each other,” wrote Cohen-Moore.
In closing, as I was writing this post, the Tumblr just posted my favorite submission yet:
More writing about women in comedy: Five jokes about abortion that are actually funny.