Daniel Tosh of 'Tosh.0' Apologizes for Rape Jokes
Another comedian has made headlines for off-color jokes this week, as Daniel Tosh became an Internet target based on a blog post by a cookie blogger. Nope, I'm not making that up.
The "Tosh.0" star was appearing at The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles over the weekend when he began a bit about offensive jokes that turned to the subject of rape. According to the blogger (who, by the way, was not there, but posted this information as relayed to her by her friend, who was there), it went like this:
"So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, 'Actually, rape jokes are never funny!'"
At that point, Tosh turned his attention to the female audience member, retaliating for the heckle. "After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment," the source continues. "Then, he says, 'Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…' and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, imme"diately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there."
Tosh, upon being notified of the post, went to twitter and posted a short apology:
all the out of context misquotes aside, i'd like to sincerely apologize j.mp/PJ8bNs— daniel tosh (@danieltosh) July 10, 2012
He also followed up with this tweet:
the point i was making before i was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies— daniel tosh (@danieltosh) July 10, 2012
Other comedians have jumped to Tosh's defense, including Louis C.K. and Rob Delaney, both of whom are known for pushing the envelope with their dark brands of humor. Delaney linked to this response to a fan question from a while back, which uses rape as an example in arguing that no topic is taboo as long as it approaches the subject with the right attitude.
While I can't begin to approach the topic of rape jokes and what is/isn't funny here, I will say this: if you walk into a comedy club, especially if you don't know who the performers are (the woman in question came to see Dane Cook and had no idea who Tosh was), expect the worst. Comedy clubs are not primetime TV. There are no censors there, and comedians will stretch the limits of your comfort zone. If you're not okay with that, leave the club. If instead you choose to heckle the comedian in the middle of a set, you're inviting retaliation. Them's the rules.
Even if a comedian is horribly unfunny (and Tosh might often be), he or she is still attempting to do his or her job up there on stage. The material being delivered to you is being delivered because the comedian thinks that there's a chance it might make you laugh. Comedians are generally pretty nice people. I would bet that, had this audience member sent Tosh a tweet or an email following the performance expressing her complaints, she probably would have gotten a more sincere apology than the one Tosh tweeted.
In short, don't go to see Daniel Tosh and expect Bob Newhart. You will be sorely disappointed.