Q: What is a phrase you don’t expect to hear in a comedy club environment?
A: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?”
This is what stand-up comedian Daniel Tosh allegedly said to a woman during a show last week, according to an anonymous friend of Tumblr user “breakfastcookie.”
Her account of the incident said Tosh, at one point during his act, started making “very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, (and) rape is hilarious.”
According to the comedy club owner, Jamie Masada, Tosh asked the crowd what they would like to talk about, and someone sitting in the audience suggested rape.
At this point, the targeted woman said she yelled, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
“A woman in the audience started screaming, ‘No, rape is painful, don’t talk about it,’” Masada said.
He said Tosh didn’t joke about rape, but that the comedian instead came back with a comment such as: “Well, it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys.”
“I should probably add that having to basically flee while Tosh was enthusing about how hilarious it would be if I was gang-raped in that small, claustrophobic room was pretty viscerally terrifying and threatening all the same, even if the actual scenario was unlikely to take place,” the woman Tosh directed the comment at said. “The suggestion of it is violent enough and was meant to put me in my place.”
So, while the differences between these accounts may bother some people, the main fact rings true in both of them: Tosh used a rape joke/comment as a defense mechanism against a displeased audience member.
Some of you who are familiar with Tosh’s work may argue that has been known to make offensive jokes about a multitidue of topics.
You may wonder why the world is taking such issue with this instance.
Four years ago, the powers that be brought Tosh to perform at Claremont McKenna College in California. Blogger Charles Johnson thought the college could have made a better choice in its visiting comedian.
Johnson thought some of Tosh’s jokes were too offensive or disgusting. These are some of the problems he has with Tosh:
• He insults homosexuals, the homeless, and “midgets” in his routine, suggesting that midgets aren’t real people and that they are responsible for the election of President Bush.
• He says some rather suggestive and disgusting things about Asian women.
• He goes after ethnic stereotypes at every possible bit.
• He compared President Bush to a retarded child.
• He then goes on to call women “whores” and “stupid” and encourages women to get “boob jobs.”
Are comedians SUPPOSED to be offensive?
Are some jokes that they make going to be offensive to some people?
What matters most is location, location, location.
Tosh didn’t mention rape as a part of his standup comedy act. He used it as a weapon against a “heckler.”
Tosh put rape in an ordinary comedy club setting, which instantly made light of a very serious act of violence.
That’s what the problem is; it isn’t the fact that he made an offensive joke.
The issue here is instead that he pointedly made a rape comment directly about an audience member.
That’s not OK.