Thursday, July 12, 2012

Did I Miss The Memo On How Rape Is Funny? Apparently.

Although crass and immature, and someone who definitely has their douchy moments, I wouldn't label Tosh as completely and utterly disgusting and depraved. I would label him disgusting and depraved at times. 
Unless you're living in a cave or you know...the valley, you've heard about the recent controversy regarding Daniel Tosh making insensitive and offensive rape jokes at a heckler at The Laugh Factory on July 10th which has the country up in arms and raising all kinds of eye-brows. Has history taught us nothing? Nothing good happens at The Laugh Factory. Didn't we learn our lesson with Michael Richards back in 2006? If you heckle a comedian there, he will in fact make racial epithets or say something equally degrading right back at you. I live like 5 minutes away from there and I still haven't set foot in it.
I have always been a huge fan of Daniel Tosh and have all of his specials on my iphone, but when one of them came up on my shuffle picks as I was going hard on the elliptical (have I humblebragged enough in that last sentence?) I was apprehensive as to whether or not I should listen to it or press the shuffle button again. 
If you have listened to his previous work, you'll know this is nothing new to his repertoire. Tosh has never passed himself off as a 'clean' comedian. He's about as filthy as they come, and always, always pushes the envelope. Would I say too far? Yes. But no one has ever complained before. In fact, he made a very similar joke in his Happy Thoughts (2011) special. It goes something like; 'My sister and I love to play practical jokes on each other. So I replaced my sister's pepper spray with silly string...anyway that night she got raped, and the next day she was like- You son of a bitch! You got me so good.' he followed this by saying another tasteless and crude joke after which he sarcastically quipped; 'is this the joke that's too far? just making sure. Everyone was ok with my sister being raped right?'. 
Now, let's make this perfectly clear. I am not at all condoning what he said, nor am I ok with dirty comedians hiding behind the 'everything is comedy' perspective much like hate mongers hide behind the first amendment, but I would say it's rather hypocritical of us to condemn Tosh for a tasteless joke he made in a long line of tasteless jokes that we before accepted with open arms because he implied it to a specific person rather than an abstract and unlikely scenario. 
But quite honestly I'm at a loss, Jezebel and the like have been pointing the finger at Tosh basically being upset with the tonality and lack of substance to his joke rather than the content itself citing inexplicably other jokes regarding rape that are 'perfectly appropriate' such as Louis CK's quip which goes; 'obviously you should never rape anybody, unless you have a good reason like you want to have sex with someone and they won't let you'. And while Tosh is nowhere near being as nuanced and detrimentally snide as CK, his particular style has never been anything but offensive. That's specifically what he has cultivated over his career, and to condemn him now for something that was indeed a senseless and impulsive verbal diarrhea jag, it would be pretty late in the game considering how long we've tolerated and actually embraced those kind of jokes from the same source. 
We as a culture, have always fed like crazed vultures on the sensationalized, vulgar, and obscene. That's why we still watch The Real Housewives of... franchise, and Robert Blake is being interviewed on Piers Morgan Tonight this week to record ratings. But of course, there is a thin red line you tow when you choose to capitalize on that like Tosh has. What he said was indeed callous, and completely offensive to not only that girl at The Laugh Factory, but to women on the whole. Especially when our rights are constantly being threatened by the likes of Mitt Romney practically every day in his presidential campaign. One could say that this is the last thing we need, and they would be right. Given all of that, I think I'll eventually forgive Tosh's poor judgement, though it might be a bit hard to do so. 

Below is that joke that I referenced earlier. 

Louis CK, no stranger to the rape joke, went on twitter to defend Daniel Tosh. And while his particular brand of, I'm so sorry to say this, but apparently there's a term for it now and it's called 'rape-joke' is arguably more finessed, and less (for lack of a better word) douchy, they are still pretty dang sexist. 

1 comment:

Brendan said...

Louis C.K.'s (extremely well crafted) joke isn't sexist at all. It is a perfect commentary on some men's attitude of sexual entitlement.

Good jokes about rape say something about rape culture. Bad rape jokes are just juvenile and not very witty. Louis C.K.'s joke is a perfect example of the former, Tosh's the latter.