After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. 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…”
“Oh, it’s just a joke,” people say. “Don’t take it personally,” they say. “It’s just Daniel Tosh, that’s his act.” But that’s incredibly patronizing and dismissive, and that’s not acceptable.
I’m not against vulgarity or “taboo” topics in standup. I’m against anger, insensitivity, and retaliation—stuff that Daniel Tosh seemed to have in spades that night. Some of the best standup is based on the comedian’s ability to cut through bullshit. Swearing and talking about rape and whatever else can be a means to that end. But if a comedian doesn’t get that—they’re being “edgy” for the sake of edginess—then they demean their audience, treat them like simpleminded dolts, and reveal themselves as no-talent hacks. Any asshole can make a crowd laugh. It’s the good comedian that makes a crowd think about why.