Thursday, July 12, 2012

I think I’ve come up with a joke to offend EVERYONE. Here goes:

“The North Tower of the World Trade Center is raping the retarded South Tower of the World Trade Center in it’s gay black ass. The retarded South Tower turns around and yells, ‘Come on!’ So The North Tower asks, ‘Which floor?’

…also AIDS!”

“There are some things you don’t joke about!” Or, more appropriately, “There are some things YOU don’t joke about.”

During a stand up set over the weekend at Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory, comedian Daniel Tosh, the famously provaocative host of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, told a rape joke that sparked a huge controversy.

In the audience at the Laugh Factory that night was a female who writes a blog called “Cookies For Breakfast.” A search of her Tumblr page doesn’t list her name or any other pertinent information. The blog itself however, reveals the fact that she didn’t know who Daniel Tosh was going into the show.

“I thought he was just some yahoo who somehow got a gig going on after (Dane) Cook,” writes the cookie monster.

During the set Tosh made light of rape. The blog quotes him as saying, “How can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc.” I’m not certain he actually said “etc,” however that’s what the quote says. The Keebler Elf goes on to say, “I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have.”

And there you fucking have it!

“I DON’T.” Good. Great. And you are under NO obligation to. AND, what’s more, you have EVERY right to tell Daniel Tosh so…but NOT during his goddamn set!

Cookie Puss yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!” It was then that Tosh turned on her and struck. “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now?” I’ll assume he didn’t mean Five Guys, the hamburger franchise (though a building raping could be funny - see joke at the beginning of this blog).

He continued, “Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her…” This prompted the soon to be famous blogger to “hightail it out of there.” She was given free passes (not her money back) and an apology by the club. Daniel Tosh has also since apologized over Twitter, where he has over 6 million followers.

You can probably find a lot of people who will tell you some things should not be joked about. Rape. Racism. Sexual Orientation. 9/11. AIDS. The list becomes endless once you put one thing on it because comedy is so subjective.

So what are we reduced to?

“Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other side.”
Nope. I’m a vegetarian. Why a chicken? Why not a head of lettuce instead?

Most of the reporting I have read has referred to Tosh’s “joke about rape.” Honestly, I don’t see a joke about rape here. He talked about the idea that rape can be funny, but was cut off before he ever got to a punchline. Then his verbal attack of a heckler wasn’t a joke but just a verbal attack. If you interrupt a comedian, who is holding a microphone in his hand, you better expect some sort of verbal attack.

Mrs. Fields’ assessment of the post-DANE COOK show, “I honestly thought he was an amateur because he didn’t seem that comfortable on stage and seemed to have a really awkward presence.” It’s possible he’s working through new material when he was interrupted. As one of the 6 million followers, I even tweeted Tosh to ask him…he didn’t answer.

You could make the argument, work your shit out at an Open Mic not as a headliner on a Friday night. But hasn’t a star of this caliber earned the right to work out material in front of his audience? I once saw George Carlin, arguably the greatest comedian of all time (I saw him 3 times fuckers!) work out material for an upcoming HBO show. He was a bit scattered. It was awesome to see this giant work his craft in front of all of us. Oh, and he told a rape joke.
Can a rape joke be funny?

“Did you hear about the blind skunk who tried to rape a fart?”
Did you laugh? It makes fun of rape, blindness, deformed animals and a bodily function…so yes, I laughed.

I’m not even defending Tosh for saying what he said. Personally it doesn’t offend me, but this is meant to be a defense fo him, but rather an admonishment to the blogger for interrupting his set.

Look, I admit there are a couple of comedians I have stopped listening to because I can no longer take the way their humor affect me. I’m not going to list them here, because that’s not my point. But it’s my right to stop listening.

I would likely never do this, but if what a comedian were saying during a set greatly affected you negatively on a personal level, it’s our right to say something to them after the show. Almost every comedian in the world is approachable when they’ve finished their set.

Or, like the Fortune Cookie, it’s your right to blog about the incident (oh, I am doing that).

Hell, it’s your right to become a comedian and use your set to rail against joking about certain subjects! Just make sure you don’t joke about the subject later, since everything seems to be on the internet these days.

In the end, comedy will always have the potential to offend. It’s one of the things that makes it so damn funny.

Daniel Toss’s latest 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

Great…now I want to eat cookies.

1 comment:

Raymond Harrington said...

I've read a couple different accounts of Tosh's "Rape Joke". In the scenario that makes the most sense to me he ask the audience what they want to talk about and someone yelled "rape". So he started riffing on rape by taking the line that you should be able to joke about rape, that you should be able to make jokes about anything. Basically taking the old Lenny Bruce approach that by talking about a taboo subject you take away the power of the word. A woman "yelled" I say "yelled" (not heckled because they are two different things) "Rape is never funny". Tosh's mistake is he mistook real indignation for heckling. I wasn't there. I didn't hear the woman yell out. If she really was heckling then it's gloves off, fuck her. But, if she wasn't bored with his set or drunk or trying to upstage but was just offended, it's a slightly different story. She still doesn't have the right to yell at a stage. He treated her like a drunk and tried to shut her up fast. (A common reaction for comics) My Problem is, what he said to her wasn't all that funny. But then Tosh is no Lenny Bruce. One of the best jokes I ever heard a comic come up with riffing at an open mic was about 3 guys raping a girl during the Korean War. I can't tell you what it was because I didn't write it. That would make me Carlos Mencia.