There has been a lot of response from different corners of the ‘net (Internet) since the Daniel Tosh gang rape “joke” blog post was brought to everyone’s attention yesterday, and OOH BOY. From many, the response has been a to-be-expected, thoughtlessly knee-jerk “if you don’t like comedy, don’t go see comedy” style defense, which can certainly take you far enough in defense of an inappropriate-but-clever joke, but doesn’t so much apply here because “wouldn’t it be funny if she got raped by like 5 guys right now” is hardly a joke, EVEN THOUGH it was told on stage by someone with a microphone and a popular YouTube clips show, and it certainly isn’t clever. It is simply a nightmare piece of garbage that fell out of a jerk’s mouth because, based on previous experience, his brain correctly told him that that was the kind of thing that his audience would respond well to — that the thought of a bunch of guys raping a girl who interrupted his set to say that not all rape jokes are funny would, in turn, be funny. To be honest, i’s all so frustrating that I hardly even want to talk about it and I would really just like to lie down on the floor and slowly sink into it until I reach Earth’s core and disappear, never to deal with anyone’s garbage again. But, for whatever reason, I can’t do that. NONE OF US CAN. So let’s fucking talk about it. Louis C.K., much like he did when Tracy Morgan had a blog post written about what a nightmare he was onstage, came to the Tosh’s defense on Twitter:

And when I say “defense” I clearly mean “confusing either admission or lie that he watches Tosh.0 and enjoys it, coupled with a vague sense of blanket-style comedian support, the source of which we can only assume is the same belief he tweeted about in defense of Tracy Morgan.” Because the idea is so vague, and we can only assume his heart (his heart) is in the same place it was during The Tracy Thing, you might as well just read what Gabe said about it already. (TO SUMMARIZE, his point is that even though horrible jokes CAN be funny, that does not mean that just because a joke is horrible, the joke is funny, and also that comedians, et al., should stop acting like they believe that what they say doesn’t matter.) (But you should probably just re-read what he wrote because it will only take you like four minutes.) (But also, with this specific case, it’s worth noting that just because someone is a comedian doesn’t mean you need to pretend to support his awful clips show for the sake of comedic free speech.) A lot of people have been bringing up the fact that Louis C.K., too, has made rape jokes in his set and he, too, often crosses the line. That’s true! And I’m sure we all have our own opinions about when Louis C.K. “crosses the line.” Maybe some of us disagree with it when he does it, too. Maybe some of us believe that he is coming from more of a thoughtful place, and redeems himself in a way that Daniel Tosh could not. Maybe some of us think Louis C.K. is funny and would be ok with Daniel Tosh joking about rape if they thought Daniel Tosh were funny. Maybe some of us think they’re BOTH funny because all rape jokes are INHERENTLY funny. Maybe some of us think CAN WE PLEASE JUST GO TO SLEEP FOREVER. People can think literally anything they want, I’m not going to keep listing what people can think. But when Louis C.K. has, in the past, crossed the line, it has been, at the very least, a non-threatening crossing of the line. The distinction between “rape jokes” (which Daniel Tosh has been doing, without a large, blog post based backlash) and what people are upset with Daniel Tosh about HERE is that the idea behind what he said is the mere, lazy suggestion of rape is where the humor is to be found, not that there are certain ways to see the humor within it. (LOL.) And what people are upset about is the targeted suggestion that the gang rape of a SPECIFIC AUDIENCE MEMBER would be “funny.” It’s not a joke. Daniel Tosh was not “making a rape joke” and people aren’t mad because they can’t take jokes about sensitive subjects. (As many have pointed out, the idea of a “sensitive subject” varies with everyone, and if all “sensitive subjects” were off-limits, people wouldn’t be allowed to make ANY jokes. AND WE ALL LOVE JOKES!) People are mad because Daniel Tosh was not making a joke, but he was being a fucking bully and all but inciting a crowd to violence to intimidate a heckler, while pressing the idea that rape is funny because RAPE. (Some have mentioned, in defense of Tosh, that what is truly funny about a rape joke [specifically to the Daniel Tosh audience] is the thought that one is joking about rape at all, since everyone knows rape is such an awful nightmare. Those people are fucking liars.)

The owner of the Laugh Factory, the club where this all WENT DOWN, has also released a statement to BuzzFeed, about HIS side of the story. Here are some key quotes:

Masada says Tosh asked the audience, “What you guys want to talk about?” After someone in the front said “rape,” a woman in the audience started screaming, “No, rape is painful, don’t talk about it.” Then, Masada says, “Daniel came in, and he said, ‘Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys’ — something like that. I really didn’t hear properly.”

He continues, “It was a comment — it wasn’t a joke at the expense of this girl.”

Right. So you didn’t hear properly, but you do know that it was soooommmething about her being raped by five guys? For sure. FOR SURE. Obviously the joke was at the expense of the girl no matter what he said because if you make a joke about a heckler, it is at the expense of the heckler. No doy. You think the owner of The Laugh Factory, our nation’s most respected vehicle for comedy, would understand that. This time it just happened to be about how funny it would be if she were raped. (OR IF SHE HAD ALREADY GOTTEN RAPED, TO BE FAIR.)

Masada says that the woman then sat through the rest of Tosh’s set — which received a standing ovation — before complaining to the manager about Tosh’s joke. The manager apologized, Masada says, and offered her tickets to come back to the Laugh Factory for another performance, which she accepted.

“If you’re offended why would you take a couple tickets to come back to the club again?” he says. “If you were offended, how about the rest of the audience” — 280 people total — “who’s giving a standing ovation?”

“If you were offended, how about the rest of the audience who’s giving a standing ovation?” is possibly one of my favorite nonsense quotes of all time. It’s almost so perfect that I don’t want to ruin it by talking about it. (Just kidding. I don’t want to ruin it by talking about it because I would like to Men In Black this whole thing from my brain.) Clearly, though, IF YOU LOOK AT THE HISTORY BOOKS, things have only ever been proven wrong or offensive if everyone, from the very beginning, agreed that they were wrong and offensive, and no one ever liked them or benefitted from them at all. Those are the only times. The “audience giving the standing ovation,” so to speak, has never proven to be wrong about anything. And also everyone who has ever taken two free tickets because the Laugh Factory refused to actually just give them their money back is just a lying bitch who actually enjoys when an audience is asked how funny it’d be if she were raped. How could she not, though, really? The rest of the audience, who’s giving a standing ovation!

“I know his character,” Masada continues. “He was trying to make everybody laugh. He was so sweet to find out one person was insulted to apologize about it.”

Daniel Tosh tweeted an “apology” to his Twitter followers, NOT the girl, making sure to note that he was only pointing out that one can find humor even in life’s darkest moments, and also it was taken out of context, and also she was heckling him. So sweet. Just the sweetest sweetheart.

“If this is hurtful — this is a comedy club. They don’t mean any harm,” Masada says. “If you don’t want to get insulted don’t go to comedy clubs.”

BOOM. Drop the mic. Fuck this dummy. Fuck Daniel Tosh. Let’s all try to have a nice day.

Comments (150)
  1. Comedians are supposed to cross lines, but you’re right this was just bullying and being a general dick. If you’re going to joke about a sensitive subject (like rape) then make it smart and at least though provoking – not infantile. This reminds me of the scene in Idiocracy where there movie-goers are just laughing at a butt farting for an hour and a half.

  2. Can we skip yesterday’s extensive debate about rape culture and all just agree that threatening a woman with gang rape is a bad thing to do and that there’s absolutely no defense for it? And if you don’t agree then could you kindly stick to commenting on YouTube? Thanks for understanding, everyone.

    • Seconded.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • [Honest comment redacacted]

        Now here’s a lab-corgi mix. Enjoy it, and shut the hell up so we can all have some peace.

      • Well except that he kind of was with the whole mob mentality and history of how these things work and get out of control or whatever… but you’ve proven that you don’t really get how the “jokes” and casual sexual harassment can escalate into something terrifying and very real that 51 percent of us live with all the goddamn time so I’m just going to go to the other page and tell you to fuck off there.

        Meanwhile the comments I saw last night on other sites (E!, various Tumblrs, whatever) ALL literally blamed this woman by calling her a ho or an attention-seeking feminazi. And who was saying this? Teenage boys. Hundreds if not thousands of teenage boys. Sometimes men under 25. That is beyond horrifying to me because they really REALLY just don’t get it. And it’s going to take a long time and something awful to happen before they do. Then you add in that a very respected, very funny comic also gets involved to defend someone because of the comics’ code*, the young and angry (usually white from the feeds and Internet holes I followed) feel validated in their disdain in shaming a woman who spoke up against their inherent right to intimidate someone in the most brutal and obnoxious way possible… ugh. Just ugh.

        So, in summary, you’re wrong. And I’m glad there were a lot of smart ladies here (and men!) who are able to try to explain to you why you are wrong without just shutting you down. You got a lot more responses than downvotes, but you seem to not have read them and took them into consideration?

        *Fuck the comic’s code. Unfunny is unfunny. And I’d like to give a special shout-out to Hari Kondabolu for asking other comics to be more “human than comic” yesterday. Then following up with this gem…

        When people criticize what you say publicly, it’s NOT them criticizing freedom of speech, but using freedom of speech to criticize you #duh

        — Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) July 10, 2012

        • Didn’t mean to engage, I owe everyone a puppy.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • The issue isn’t whether he wanted her to be raped. For the record, I don’t believe for one second that he did. The issue is that his comments contribute to a toxic cultural environment and could have actually led to an assault on her person. He didn’t make a joke, he made her less than human and put her in the way of potential harm.

          • Last thing I am saying here: a society (such as ours) that has hundreds and thousands of these trivial ‘jokes’ and ‘comments’, and the defenses of these jokes and comments, all add up to a giant thing that matters. Sexual harassment is not just physical or actual threat of physical assault. These jokes and comments and defenses normalize the behaviors. Yes, Tosh was probably NOT rallying for his audience to rape her, but he was clearly illustrating to them that this is how you put her down, and that it is acceptable to do so. For god’s sake, if rape culture and sexism and misogyny were only overt it would be much easier to overcome. But it isn’t. It’s tons of trivial things written off by good people.

            LBT out.

          • I understand your point, Artoo. I’m just reading his tone differently than you. I feel like he is trying to lampoon that very toxic environment. He may not be very successful and people certainly are going to misunderstand it as they often do with satire. In my opinion, saying he was dehumanizing her is a little strong, but I can understand why people are sensitive to this topic.

          • Yawn yawn yawn!!!

            You self-important, ‘with-out sin’ jumped up set of un-humoured losers.

            I found it funny. Others found it funny. You have no right to ‘censor’ humour that some find funny, just because YOU do not.

            You don’t like his act? Don’t go watch it. You go to it and see something that offends you? Don’t go back again.

            So simple. Stop trying to police everyone else’s minds and find something more interesting to do. Like rape someone, maybe.


      • I’m not against dissenting opinions as a rule, just the ones that condone threats of sexual violence. Jackass.

        • You should know that I’m not a jackass. And, I don’t think you’re a jackass. As a matter of fact, I bet you and most of the Videogum set and me agree on 95% of things. I condone no threats of sexual violence towards anyone. I just don’t think that’s what Tosh was doing.

          • See my response to your last comment.

          • No, he wasn’t EXPLICITLY saying “let’s all rape her!” but what he WAS doing is feeding into the mob mentality that leads to actual violence for easy laughs by an idiot audience. Maxim, FHM, Stuff and whatever lad mad I can’t think of because my rage level is very high right now DID THE SAME GODDAMN THING. And you know what? It normalizes that behavior. And it normalizes that mentality.

            Would you like to see a great example of this? In 2001, during the Puerto Rican Independence Day parade in NYC a bunch of dudes sprayed women “playfully” with water. Then it escalated. Then a bunch of assaults happened to the women by the guys. Then to other women. More than 50. It was captured on video, and it was horrifying. Here is a link to a story about it. I suggest you watch the video so you can see POINT BLANK why “jokes” can turn to “violence” very quickly.

            And you are, in fact, a jackass.

          • I engaged again.

            Everyone gets two puppies!!

          • No, I’m not a jackass. I have never been disrespectful with any of my comments. I certainly didn’t resort to name-calling. Although, maybe I’m not being fair. The jackass is a noble beast that has been vital to the rise of human civilization. That does sound like me.

          • Tosh is an idiot. If his defense is that he’s too stupid to know that words have meaning and history, then he should stay the fuck out everywhere.

            And I’m going back to my spreadsheet. I’ve never been more happy to go back to my awful nightmare spreadsheet in my life. GOOD DAY.

          • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  3. the lesson here is only joke about murdering people, because joking about raping people will be always taken literally, no matter what. so stick to murder.

  4. Kelly, you have my sword.

  5. “It was a comment — it wasn’t a joke at the expense of this girl.”

    That’s even worse, Masada. You make me sada.

  6. Seriously kids, let’s get back to the important stuff. Like watching that girl do all 150 Pokemon voices.


  7. OH GOOD! I was hoping Videogum would have another 300 comment nightmare post today!

  8. “If you’re offended why would you take a couple tickets to come back to the club again?”

    Cause maybe somebody good will be playing someday? It’s not like people mean it when they say they’re never shopping at Target again or something similar.

    • I stopped shopping at Target when they decided to let their employees refuse birth control on the basis of their religion. Then I started again when they revoked that policy. Then I started shopping there more because they refused to sell tobacco products. Then a little bit less because they stopped selling Famous Dave’s BBQ sauce at my convenient location. Yesterday, I went to buy poster tape but they had none. What are we talking about again?

      • Did Target allow its stores to choose not to sell birth control or did it allow its employees to choose not to use birth control in their lives? Because one is a solid grounds for a boycott and the other is a bizarre thing to even try to regulate. Your wording perplexes me, is what I’m trying to say.

        • My B. Pharmacists could refuse to dispense Plan B based on religious beliefs. Very cool policy.

          • Christians and Cigarette smokers…ALWAYS GETTING EXTRA BREAKS!

          • If I could do this crazy life all over again, I’d be a pharmacist and live in a wingnut state that let me refuse to dispense drugs for which I had some crazy religious excuse, because I would just come up with a religious excuse for, like, ALL THE DRUGS! Then I’d get paid and have a good job without ever having to do anything. It’s the perfect scam.

          • I was talking to my mom yesterday about how backwards my new doc is in Oregon after living in the leafy green state o’California. Like backwards to the point where I thought I was in suburban Milwaukee again… and she reminded me that in order to get birth control pills when I lived in Wisconsin, I had to read like 8 pamphlets about how awful abortion was and how bc pills were keeping me from bringing a life into this world. And I actually blocked that memory out. Also, for no reason at all and I don’t even enjoy that drug, it’s insane to me that doctors in Oregon would be exceptionally anti-pot. It’s very good for cramps!


      • I tried to boycott any place that allowed employees to refuse to sell birth control to you for religious regions, and then someone was like, “That’s every place it’s a state law, enjoy your pregnancy!” And now I’m trying to move to a cave.

    • Yeah, this is not really a convincing argument against her character. “Hey sorry there was a hair in your soup, can we offer you a coupon for free soup?” “NO THE HAIR HAS SPOILED THIS RESTAURANT FOREVER” hahaha god, would I ever turn down free soup? The answer is always never turn down free soup. Even if I found a human finger in my soup I promise you that I’m far less likely to ever see another finger in that restaurant’s soup again than any other restaurant unless I’m ordering human finger soup in which case WHOA sorry guys, TMI!!!!

    • Also she could sell the tickets for money

    • Gaaah. The “if you’re offended why would you take tickets” and “you should expect to be insulted when you go to a comedy club” remind me of arguments like “well, I don’t support rape but really should she have been dressed like a slut?” and “well, I feel bad that she got raped, but what was she doing at night in that part of town anyway?”


  9. This is me about this whole thing:

  10. Can we go right to Petting Zoo now? I think we all need it.

  11. i’m not going to write any more words on this but just know that i have a strong opinion one way or another!!!!!

  12. My personal feelings of ‘maybe we should take a deep breath about this whole appropriateness-of-rape-jokes topic’ are overrided by my increasing annoyance at the cliquey “us against the world” mentality employed by modern (read: outdated) comedians. Maybe, just MAYBE, sometimes something isn’t funny and/or isn’t even a joke (if my son were gay, I’d kill him. Is not a joke.), and people should be told that it sucks and be held morally accountable for their comments.

    But no, I forgot, comedy is sacred and nothing deserves to be discussed ever because hey get over it it’s a joke and you’re the one who sucks for not getting it. SIgh.

    • Yeah, I really don’t understand why comedians feel like they have to stick up for each other so much? I mean, I get that comedy is a tough, tough road and the support of fellow comedians is probably something they value, but, there is a difference between moral support and defending another comedian even when he might be/definitely is in the wrong? Just because a Tracy Morgan, or a Dane Cook, or a Daniel Tosh says something awful and is rightly called out on it, doesn’t mean that all of America now thinks all comedians are awful, Comedians! You don’t ALWAYS have to break your legendary silence on the issue!!

      • It’s almost comical how the defense of the right to say absolutely anything no matter whether it is funny or actually a joke with joke structure and a punchline is inversely proportional to the amount of shunning they demand upon a comedian who may have stolen a joke or two. . (Which is also a horrible thing to do, but anyway.)

        It’s interesting to look at like Dane Cook: for years he was the most hated man in comedy for being a joke thief which allowed anyone and everyone to rightly mock him and call him a total hack and whatever. Then he does Louie and is absolved of his sins so comedy decides to give him another shot–cut to a few months later when TJ Miller was bumped for Dane’s set and says the jokes were not really jokes but just angry, misogynistic rantings and the same comedians go hard in the paint to defend Dane against the internet because he has the right to say anything.

        It’s so absurd as to be fiction.

        • The worst thing about springing to support Daniel Tosh, as Louie did, is that Daniel Tosh is fucking fine! You think he’s losing millions on a rash of blog posts? Dude doesn’t even feel bad he called for the gang rape of an audience member, why does he need your support and solidarity? He’s going to forget this happened in a few days and keep bathing in his millions for being a shock jock with youtube videos.

          Meanwhile, I guarantee the audience member who posted the initial experience on her blog is getting a constant stream of misogyny trolling because that’s the nature of the internet.

          • It sort of reminds me when the police force tries to protect corrupt cops. Loyalty and friendship are awesome and sometimes people get unfairly jumped on by the press, but at some point you have to realize a line has been crossed and the person you are defending has gone too far and it makes the whole industry look bad.

          • “Not making rape jokes about audience members never took root in America because shitty local comedians see themselves not as an exploited proletariat, but as temporarily embarrassed Comedy Central staples.”- John Steinbeck

      • I think Louis CK is awesome but the way I see it, the reason he breaks his legendary silence over stuff like this is less for ideological reasons and more for practical, bread-and-butter reasons, even if he doesn’t necessarily phrase it that way to himself. He generates a TON of new material all the time and he gets most of it by exploring the darkest corners of his mind and habits. He does it in a way that’s illuminating and funny, unlike most people who try to do it, but I can see how he would be kind of scared of the possibility of a more conservative shift in public opinion (if such a thing is even possible in the States) brought on by other so-called shock comics. It’s like, say you live in a factory town where your own employment and that of everyone you know depends on the factory, and you start to hear rumours that it’s going to move to a different town. You might talk about worker’s rights and hold rallies, but it’s not like you’d be doing any of that stuff if it wasn’t your factory and your town. Unless you’re a political activist or something but let’s say you’re not. What I’m saying is, your protests would be less about who’s in the right and more about ensuring that you and your own personal friends could continue to put food on the table. If Louis CK just came out and said something like that, I’d probably respect him a bit more, rather than arguing about free speech which, fair enough, but I’ve come to expect a higher degree of honesty from the guy.

  13. I am staying out of this.

  14. What did the anagram enthusiast have for lunch? A bowl of opus and a rape.

  15. I spent yesterday throwing up everywhere, including my nightmare scenario — on the subway heading to work and we got stuck on the Manhattan Bridge and I started breaking out in cold sweats and by the time we go to Canal St (not my stop by the way), I jumped out, ran up the stairs as my mouth started filling with bile and vomit, got out of the station and vomited in the gutter. (Happy 8:50 a.m., NYC).

    Left work early an hour later and made the cab driver pull over three times so I could throw up. Then spent the rest of the day with a fever and dry heaves.

    My point is I’d rather relive this experience Groundhog Day style rather than concern myself with dickface Daniel Tosh anymore.

  16. Like South Park says, either everything is ok to laugh at or nothing is. I think that is the only sacred thing about comedy and free speech or whatever. Comedians should be allowed to dish out whatever they think will make an audience laugh, and the audience is free to find it funny or not, and respond accordingly. Some of that stuff is truly awful when taken as cold text on a page in the light of day.

    But like Kelly said, just because a crowd of people respond to a joke/comment a certain way doesn’t validate the joke/comment either positively or negatively, it’s just a thing that got a crowd response. And that’s where the analyzing and the arguing on the internet comes into play. Good comedians get great crowd responses because their jokes are amazing and can be thought about endlessly afterwards. Then there are the equivalent of making grunting noises and pointing, which is what it sounds like Tosh did in this instance.

    • This was supposed to be a general reply to Mark Casey btw (if the context is unclear), and I hope by ‘pointing and making grunting noises’ it is understood I meant Tosh was acting less than human (both as a compassionate person and as a poorly-thought out response to an audience member’s objection to his joke’s premise). Shutting hecklers down is one thing, but this was over the line and she was right to leave, complain, not be a fan of Tosh and encourage others to follow suit.

    • I was thinking about the South Park “Cash For Gold” ep yesterday because it’s super funny but also racist. And the racism really really bothered me. And then I saw how the whole episode played out and it sort of made sense. It was a comment on consumer culture, not a comment on how some people talk different. They just used incredibly offensive accents.

      I guess the point is South Park is funnier than Daniel Tosh. And water is wet. And puppies are cute. And your new avatar is lovely. And thank you for making that joke yesterday when we all needed it.

  17. I listen to pretty much all jokes except rape and country.

  18. Geeze. Between tosh, buchanan and anyone who’s ever yelled dtf i think its time to call it a week guys. Lets all shut our mouths, do something nice for a lady, read some gloria steinem and hope we can start fresh next week.

  19. This Masada guy’s comment makes it even better. This is the ideal way to do standup.

    “Okay, guys, what jokes should I make today?”

  20. I have nothing to say about this, expect that Daniel Tosh looks like what roofies would look like if they could walk and eat tacos.

  21. “you can make jokes about rape. picture porky pig raping elmer fudd.” – george carlin

    “when i was 12 i was raped by a doctor….which is just so bittersweet for a jewish girl.” – sarah silverman

    now, rape isn’t really the core of the joke in either of these cases, although Carlin’s joke pinpoints Tosh’s claimed intent better than he could ever dream of doing – and most importantly, not at the expense of a human being. especially a real person. right there in the audience.

    comedians are allowed to, and have every right to find humor in the most painful and tragic of subjects, and that is the idea that Louis CK is defending – as well as fighting back against the recent propensity of audience members taking things off the stage and posting them online, well outside the context of a performance, and thus cheapening the performance, or outright ruining it. disregarding any discussion as to whether or not making “rape jokes” [or in Tracy Morgan's case homophobic jokes] perpetuates those ideas and bad behaviors the bottom line is Tosh crossed the “clear and present danger” barrier in “free speech,” by singling out an individual and suggesting they be silenced by getting raped.

    “rape jokes” aren’t the underlying issue, and don’t necessarily “cross the line,” but bringing a single audience member into it does.

    this would be just as awful and gross if, say, Chris Rock picked out 2 audience members to illustrate different points of his “n***ers vs. black people” bit.

  22. Being an “equal opportunity offender” doesn’t make you less offensive…Tosh is also promoting the exploitation of the language and culture of the Deaf Community with his now routine inclusion of clips from “Dirty Signs with Kristen” – a website where Kristen, a novice user of sign language who is not deaf, provides instructional videos on how to sign phrases such as “show me your genitals” and “you rape the donkeys and eat the shit.” Why is this a big deal? Because a) Kristen has neither the credentials nor the cultural privledge to be a “spokesperson” for a minority group to which she does not belong and b) her content is Tosh-level offensive, sexist, racist, marginalizing, and essentializing among other things. Not only that, she stands to actually make a significant profit from her “work” if her book “Super Smutty Sign Language” is published– which is now in the works. If you would like to make a stand against this Tosh-brand kind of humor, please check out the petition against publication of Kristen’s book and learn more. Thanks Monsters!

  23. You know, let’s just say that you can joke about anything, but I think everyone agrees that you can’t joke about anything in any way you please. Can you joke about 9/11? Yes, you can joke about 9/11. Louis C.K. has a great bit about how he’s a terrible person for masturbating between the two towers going down. Funny! It jokes about a national tragedy, but in a way that acknowledges that it’s a national tragedy. You know what wouldn’t be funny (and I’m sure it’s been done endless times by awful people who I’m not willing to google)? Joking about how all Muslims are terrorists, aren’t they, I mean come oooooonnn! You can make a rape joke, and it can be funny, but not when it minimizes a horrendous crime that visits a full 20% of the female population. Laughing about the existence a horrible thing in the world can be fun and cathartic, sure. But laughing at the thought of a woman being raped is just diminishing and awful.

    And I would be very surprised if Louis watched Tosh.0. He’s not always right (no one says he’s always right, guys, and as that sex scene in the last episode of his show really bothered me in a crossed-the-line way, anyone want to talk about it?), and his knee-jerk I-absolve-you response to this after Tracy…kind of gross, man. I’m sure there are a lot of men in their early twenties taking all their moral cues from their God-Louis.

  24. I’m opening myself up to a torrent of down votes by the videogum in-crowd for this, but I feel someone has to make a reasonable counterargument. Tosh’s rape joke was incredibly lazy and uninspired, sure, but seeing it as bullying, or him personally insulting that woman or, god forbid, him willfully being complicit in ‘rape culture’ is just taking it too far.

    Here’s how I see it. The joke was never about laughing at other people’s misfortunes. The joke was never about him saying this specific girl getting hurt at that time would be funny in and by itself. The joke here is someone making a genuine, heartfelt response to the inanity said on stage and being immediately shut down by that very same insanity. It would be like a single rational prisoner during a prison riot crying out “Can’t we all just get along? We are all humane people here” and getting immediately shanked after saying this. Or an honest and trusting person during a looting saying “I trust you people to respect my property like the decent human beings you are” and having all his stuff immediately stolen.

    Like many have said before, his persona on stage is a schtick, an act. He exaggerates awful things to the point where they become absurd. Daniel Tosh does it. Don Rickles does it. Louis CK does it. It seems more acceptable when Louis CK does it, because he often takes a step back and makes it explicit how he feels the things he’s saying are awful. Some comedians, like Daniel Tosh, do this less because they expect their audience to realize this as they’re watching a comedy show. To actually think these people belief the awful things they are saying without the comedic context is just taking things too seriously and, frankly, completely missing the point.

    • >”“Can’t we all just get along? We are all humane people here” and getting immediately shanked after saying this. Or an honest and trusting person during a looting saying “I trust you people to respect my property like the decent human beings you are” and having all his stuff immediately stolen.”

      Those all seem like bullying/personal attacks to me. Not “creating absurdist situations.” In your hypothetical, i don’t think the shanker is going, “this is going to be a great contrast of emotions once I stab him.” I think he just wanted to hurt a dude because he could, and because the dude opened himself up.

      • You misunderstand von dance. Those are examples of jokes, not hypothetical real life situations. If it wasn’t intended this way, it should have been, but I’m giving jean claude the benefit of the doubt.

        • But P.S. I disagree with his comment, and just wanted to try to clarify the intent. The thing at the Tosh show was real life not a comedy film.

      • Exactly. I agree, but in this particular situation, people are expecting Daniel Tosh to be both that objective outsider who is able to appreciate this contrast in the performance, whilst at the same time also staying in character as that awful-guy-doing-awful-things as his schtick.

        I’m not saying he couldn’t do it. He could have followed it up by saying he didn’t really mean it and that it was an awful thing to say and then laugh at how awful it was saying it. Other comedians often do this, but he usually doesn’t (though he sometimes does on his show).

        Like pickpocket is saying below, I meant for those examples to be fictional, as they would happen in a comedy film, not in real life. But perhaps unlike pickpocket, I don’t regard stand-up to be real or to be any different from a comedy film, or theater, or improv. I don’t feel a comedian has to break character every time he says something awful as his schtick, much like I don’t expect an actor to break character every time his stage persona does something awful.

        But still, after having said all this, I have to reiterate my point that the supposed comedy was not in what Tosh said by itself, but in the situational context and the absurd response to a genuine comment from the audience. If his act, completely unprovoked or in character, was about how rape is good or funny, then yes, awful comedy, don’t buy tickets. If Daniel Tosh in real-life, with no comedic context, said to this girl that he hopes she get raped and that it would be funny, then yes, go ahead and arrest that awful guy. But all you can really criticize him for now is that the joke was lame and that his act is stupid.

        • I think we just have a fundamental disagreement of how we interpret the event. You’re still seeing it as a “rape joke,” therefore it’s fair game because then you can construct what the point of the joke is, but to me it still reads that he’s invoking the specter of rape to silence a person. The authorial intent doesn’t matter nearly as much to me when the actual fact of what you are doing is using the threat of rape so someone would sit down and shut up. And there are other, less gross, less vile ways to disarm a disruption.

          Anthony Jeselnik, another comedian who sort of lives in the offensive zone but applies more craft than Daniel Tosh’s style of push-a-button meanness, said on Marc Maron’s podcast: “I’d make a joke about miscarriages, but I would never make fun of someone’s miscarriage.” He was talking about specificity, and in this, there’s a specificity that pushes it beyond “making a joke” into “making an attack,” and that’s not something I can support. It’s not about avoiding offending people, it’s about avoiding hurting people.*

          * = “But what about George W. Bush jokes?” Obviously power dynamics factor into this, that’s the way humor works here, you can aim it anonymously towards general types of people or you can aim it up, but aiming it down specifically (eg Don Imus ranting on a black women’s college basketball team) makes you a bully and you deserve the backlash that comes with it.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • Actually, I do understand what rape culture is, as it’s not that complicated of a notion to begin with, and I understood what I was saying when I argued that Daniel Tosh wasn’t willfully complicit in rape culture, meaning that he wasn’t out to trivialize or capitalize on rape and the discrimination of women without putting it in a satiric and comedic context.

        If you don’t agree with me as regards to what I’m saying, that’s perfectly fine. But please don’t try to brush my entire point aside by creating a straw man argument and claiming I simply don’t understand.

  25. “The distinction between “rape jokes” (which Daniel Tosh has been doing, without a large, blog post based backlash) ”

    Right, because they just hammer Louis CK when he does it, right?

    • Did you even READ what you are quoting? They don’t hammer Louis CK, AND THEY DIDN’T HAMMER DANIEL TOSH EITHER, because those were not ‘just’ rape jokes, but it was telling an ACTUAL audience member (i.e. not an actor portraying an audience member) that she should be raped.

      The “Louis CK does it and no one complains” is a moot point because NO ONE COMPLAINED WHEN DANIEL TOSH DID IT IN THE PAST EITHER. He was given the same ‘fair point’ as Louis, because it was jokes about rape in a vaccum, not jokes about raping SOMEONE IN THE AUDIENCE. Not to mention, someone in the audience that already expressed that she was uncomfortable enough about the subject as to break the social contract and speak out during a show.

  26. I’ve seen him live against my will and he is certainly a hack, but I don’t think it matters what came out of his mouth after someone yells not to talk about something… it’s not their damn time. It’s the equivalent of interrupting a concert because you don’t like the song. I don’t think comedians are well-served by saying things like this that don’t really contain actual jokes just for shock value, (unless what Masada said is actually what happened, because then that is a real joke) but Tosh has built a career on that. The rules that apply to conversation don’t apply to comedians shutting down hecklers. I didn’t think the Michael Richards thing was out of line though either. A horrible decision on his part certainly, but not telling of racism.

  27. People have this all wrong. A joke is like a maze. Timing, content, intuition, charisma, intelligence get you through. So is _____ joke acceptable, YES, IF you can pull it off! How do you know? You try the joke! If it fails and you fail, you must take your punishment for your failure.

    So, the question is if he did the joke successfully. sounds like he scored a 60-70%. It’s mad important to get that shiz on film…

  28. Ughhhhhhh, I hate it when Videogum gets all preachy and self-righteous. Just on the off chance that Gabe or Kelly read this, you two have a tendency in posts like this to write from a point of view that basically says, Well, OBVIOUSLY our self righteous indignation is the ONLY appropriate response to this story and CLEARLY anyone who disagrees is just ignorant. Sometimes it seems like you suggest there are two sides to the story, but then make snide jokes about people who would take the other side.

    I thought hecklers were fair game at comedy shows? I’ve definitely heard Louis CK and Patton Oswalt tell audience members to get raped by someone with AIDS or something similar and no one bats an eye.

    One of the hazards of free speech, people who get paid to make jokes and push boundaries sometimes go too far, sometimes way too far, sometimes their speech is vile and upsetting. So fucking what. The other hazard of free speech is that pop culture bloggers can write condescending and self righteous screeds in situations like this.

    I feel like Videogum should be making fun of the fact that this story is a story at all, not writing a super long followup post discussing the politics of rape jokes.

  29. I was going to post about the notion of “If you don’t want to get insulted don’t go to comedy clubs.” in Gabe’s post called “Nobody Likes Comedy”. I think that’s the main reason that comedians don’t consistently sell out venues even though it’s probably one of the best ways to spend money if you are looking for a fun night out. I hate that that is considered a given even though 99% of the amazing comedians I’ve been lucky enough to see never insult anyone in the crowd. They are funny enough to come up with their own material for laughs. It’s so stupid that people should be scared to be insulted at a comedy show, and I hate when people continue to claim that’s a thing.

    • I think a better choice of words by that club manager would have been: “If you don’t want to get offended, don’t go to comedy clubs”, as I suspect that’s closer to what he meant to say. Of course, no one goes to a show to be insulted. That’s just not a thing. And unless you are a nuisance or a heckler, you won’t get insulted. But what he probably meant to say was that everyone will be offended at some point or other during stand-up acts and that’s just how it works and what you should come to expect.

      I am part of a racial minority myself and have lost many close ones to cancer. When a comedian jokes about these topics, I can’t laugh as hard as I usually do because sometimes these jokes hit a little too close to home. It would be ridiculous, however, for me to be personally offended by that comic, who probably doesn’t even mean what he is saying and is exaggerating or making light of a grave situation for comedic effect. It also would be incredibly hypocritical of me to laugh at 99% of his other material, but be outraged when the next joke happens to relate to me personally.

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    • “Also, shouldn’t Louis CK’s opinion just be final on all things comedy?”

      If you had said this before the event that transpired yesterday, it wouldn’t have gotten downvoted.

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  32. I’m offended.

  33. All I can think right now is, “What would Cumberbatch do?”

  34. I still can’t believe this all happened at The Laugh Factory. No wonder all of our manufacturing jobs are headed overseas!

  35. I am really disappointed that Louis CK went to the trouble to defend Daniel Tosh and claim to like him, apparently because he thinks doing so is the only way to protect comedians’ free speech onstage. It is Louis CK’s deft use of language and the substance at the core of his performances/TV show that makes what he does vastly superior to Daniel Tosh’s comedy and other crap like Seth MacFarlane’s shows and Two and a Half Men. Most Americans are too stupid to tell the difference between Louis CK’s stuff and that garbage, so they will applaud all of it just because people are saying naughty, naughty things. Not only has Louis blown a chance to come to the defense of someone who needed it; he has blown a chance to explain to the average moron the difference between good and bad comedy.

    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • There is such a thing as mindless approval; there is also such a thing as mindless dismissal.

        • Its nice to know that if a person dislikes something you like its considered mindless. and if a person likes something you don’t? that’s mindless also. That’s a really nice “You’re either with me or against me” type of mentality. Mr. Bush would be proud.

          • There IS context about what Daniel Tosh has said. No one said “this guy said rape, let’s all hate him”. They supplied the CONTEXT of the ‘rape joke’, and the joke, while perhaps not delivered exactly as he said it, does not to seem to be in any way funny.

            However, you have simply said “well, Louis CK said three offensive words in the same sentence, how can you defend him?” Umm, by actually discussiing the joke, in the context in which it was presented. Which is at the end of an ENTIRE bit in which he addresses each word individually, and talking about how he never really used them in their most offensive meaning. While his use of the f-word was still bad (using it as a perjorative, even if you don’t intend it to have anything to do with homosexuality is still bad, as it’s still mostly seen as another word for gay, and having the words ‘gay’ and ‘lame’ or ‘bad’, etc be synonymous is not a good thing). Of course, that’s one of his older and eariler works.

  36. If this theater owner’s account is accurate, I think I’m the most disturbed by the audience member whose response to “what do you want to talk about?” was “rape.” Like, did he leave for the show saying, “Brah, I hope Tosh does some rape jokes. I can’t get enough of those!”? That’s messed up.

    “I hope I rape someone later. Fist bump, bro. Let’s sword fight with our dongs.” Or whatever. I don’t know what bros talk about. Tazing people? Don’t taze me, bro?

    • Whhiiiiich would put Tosh right back into having a ball promoting rape culture.

      • If Daniel Tosh is having a ball in promoting rape culture, then he and Louis Ck are playing one great game of catch.

        • You are right, saying that rape jokes are ALWAYS FUNNY, and if you don’t agree with that you should get raped by 5 people is EXACTLY THE SAME as yelling at an actress portraying a heckler to get raped. They are precisely the same, because the audience member is in on it, just like the paid actress was. The woman in the audience that Tosh went after was interupting ALL NIGHT LONG, until Tosh’s comebacks escalated to a rape ‘threat’, EXACTLY like in the Louis CK situation. They are entirely comparable, and anyone that doesn’t see it must be blind.


  38. Ah, shit. That was supposed to be in response to the bolts in soup. Guess that’s my cue to go back to never commenting anymore byeeee

  39. This article I just read really flipped my thinking on this whole issue. And she did it without condescending anyone. It’s really worth a read.

    • Awesome article. And the Johny Mulaney bit is very funny.

    • It’s a very nice post. Unfortunately, folks here appear to have neither the time nor the inclination to write an article-length piece (complete with youtubes) to hold your hand through a discussion of rape culture. ESPECIALLY in the comments section of a comedy website known for its pithiness.

      Men need to understand that it is not the job of individual feminists to teach them about feminist concepts (like rape culture) in a coddling way, or in a way that allows them to feel good about themselves. Even alone, this is an assertion of a totally unacceptable kind of male privilege. “Teach me, but don’t be too harsh or I’ll just ignore everything you say.” Well, no. You don’t get that luxury. A couple of condescending remarks or a “fuck you” aren’t harsh. Harsh is telling a woman to get gang-raped. Harsh is the reality that 1 in 4 women will be raped, and existing in a culture that trivializes that fact.

      Take those crocodile tears somewhere else. If your requirement before you even enter the discourse (on something as volatile as rape, even) is “don’t be too mean to me,” then you really need to take a step back and examine why that’s the case. (Hint: it’s your privilege). You may want to think about what it’s like for the women and feminists arguing against you. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, that they have heard these arguments and dealt with this kind of defensiveness. They have likely already tried to be sweet and nice, but guess what? Sweet and nice doesn’t override years of ingrained privilege and socialization. Why should you, some dude, get the benefit of the doubt? Why do they have the obligation to be nice when literally 1 in 4 women will be raped and you are being an asshole in a DISCUSSION ABOUT RAPE? Come on, man. I’m sorry that you thought people were being condescending, but man, if that causes you to check out and throw away the entire message, your priorities are really fucked up.

      That said, glad you found that piece helpful.

  40. I don’t think he went to far, but then again look at my entertainment:

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