Rocky LaPorte’s Funny Funny Fat Joke

What a Load of CrapI recently wrote a post on my other blog in support of Damienne Merlina, a self-described fat, one-armed comedian  about whom another comic had done a series of jokes on a special aired by Comedy Central, making fun of her body size and the fact that she has one arm. I know, super classy right?  It reminded me of a something that I meant to blog about here but hadn’t gotten around to yet.

My partner and I are big fans the show Last Comic Standing.  Julianne surprised me by taking me to the live show earlier this year. It was, for the most part, really good.  But there’s one joke that will stay with me. Rocky LaPorte was about half way through his set. He made an awkward segue to say that he had worked for a while in a sporting goods store.  He said that a woman came in once, and that she was “kind of big,” and said she needed a sports bra.  He responded to her by saying “Well, uh, what sport are you playing there chief?”

That’s it.  The entire joke is that a “kind of big” woman wanted to buy a sports bra so she came to a store that sells them and asked an employee of that store for help.

And the audience cracked up.  It was the biggest laugh that he got all night.  Because a kind of big woman wanted to buy a sports bra.

Not only is it just the laziest comedy in the world, it heaps on to the hypocrisy of a culture that insists that fat people need to exercise (we don’t, of course, nobody is obligated to exercise) but then makes it unbelievably difficult to do so, and suggests that we should do it in our homes with the blinds drawn and wearing a toga fashioned from a sheet.

Still, even if we can find workout clothes in our size, there’s every chance that we’ll have to deal with a store clerk who is a complete tool when we try to buy them, if we can even get them in a brick and mortar store, often instead relegated to buying online and paying for shipping and return shipping for the stuff we don’t want or that doesn’t fit (and it’s difficult to tell when a size 6 woman is modeling clothes that are made for women three times or more her size.)

Then there are companies like Old Navy that have huge stores with sections for men, women, kids, even maternity, but only offer plus sizes online –  which seems to say “we’ll take your fat money but we don’t want your fat ass in our stores.” Companies create advertising suggesting that we should be embarrassed and horrified at the idea that people might see us workout. Then of course there’s the street harassment and egg throwing.

We have to deal with the people who try to tell us what activities fat people are “allowed” to participate in (“You’re a runner? Shouldn’t you choose something with less impact?”  or “You’re into Yoga?  Shouldn’t you choose something with more cardio?”) Then the insistence that no matter what we might accomplish athletically we’ll never be “athletes” because they believe that being thin is a prerequisite. And on and on and on.

This is bullshit, obviously. Each of us gets to choose how we deal with this, of course, to me what’s important is to realize that – though it may become our problem – this is not our fault, and it shouldn’t be happening.  Later in the show Rocky asked a random woman in the front row if she was a runner. I wish I could have been up there,  I would have loved to be able to say “I was going to but when I tried to buy a sports bra the store clerk was a total ass!”

More Cool Stuff:

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About Ragen Chastain

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be Iron-distance triathlete, Activist, Fat Person.
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6 Responses to Rocky LaPorte’s Funny Funny Fat Joke

  1. Bunny says:

    And while my mere existence as a fat person who Does Things will apparently mark me out as “glorifying obesity” any time I don’t actively hide my existence, the masses will rise up to defend this comedian against any accusation that his words might be a discouragement from us fatties getting the exercise everyone is convinced should be mandated upon us.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Kamistry says:

    Regan, I just love you. You make me laugh, and you make me cry. You’re helping me to love and appreciate the body I have and to get as mad as hell at those who think that shaming, in any form, and for any reason, is acceptable.


  3. pyctsi says:

    Worst thing is it’s kinda a legitimate question as some sports you’ll need more control than others. I’ve always been large busted and trying to do gym class with improperly supported breasts is almost as much fun as being the unpopular kid in gym class and being the fat kid in gym class. Being all 3 was a special kinda hell with a side order of guys leering.

    For larger busted women you’d generally want firm control, but it’s more important in things like tennis or yoga than it is in cycling or weight training (tennis you are throwing yourself around the court if you are unlucky and some positions in yoga, I believe, will try to smother you if you don’t have the right bra and the right modifications).

    The fact that someone took the question and turned it into a joke is just beyond sad.


  4. Caroline says:

    oh, hahaha, this guy is so funny. Except that I recently started running (in no small part thanks to you and this blog, Ragen), and haven’t been able to find a sports bra to fit me anywhere. Seriously, not even a compression tank. I ordered one online in my normal size (44H), and it was far too small, so I went out into the world and went to four different stores: Target, Old Navy, and two higher end department stores and I found exactly nothing. I don’t have the money to keep ordering online, so my only option is to go ahead and spend over $60 on one from lane Bryant and hope it does the trick. So. Frustrating.


  5. Monica says:

    To Caroline: Boy, do I feel your pain. I am the same size as you (44H) and have also ordered bras online, bought expensive ones at LB, and nothing worked or fit or supported me… until I found the Enell Sports Bra. I searched online and it was, by far, the highest rated one I found. Luckily, a chain of running stores in my town carries them and.. $65 later I can safely say I have never been more comfortable when working out.. either on weight machines or on the elliptical or playing softball or whatever. It was the best darn $65 I’ve ever spent! Good luck and keep those ladies supported!


  6. Telle says:

    I recently had to buy new sneakers for my walking endeavors, and chose a running store known for doing a proper fitting. I was very nervous about what I might encounter there, coming in as a rather fat woman. I very well could have been confronted with someone just like your comedian. But I had a great experience. The staff was so supportive. Before one of the fitting associates was available, I was chatting with a sales associate.. he asked what I do and how much and I explained that I was walking about a mile to a mile and a half most days, and then he said something about his running across the city and somehow he said it in a way that made it obvious he felt both my short walks and his long runs were equally and perfectly acceptable means of exercise. It was really awesome to not be the least bit looked down upon for being a fat woman who can “only” walk about a mile and a half at a time. I am just so thankful that I had such a positive experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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