Daniel Tosh.0? Time to uninstall.

10 Jul

Check out one woman’s experience in the audience of a Daniel Tosh stand up show:

Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”

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…”

Rape jokes are a way to silence people with fear. It’s a way to put people “in their place”.

I, for one, experience a very real fear when someone jokes about raping me. (And it’s happened, of course, many times.) The men who joke about it are using it as a tool to let you know your opinions, body, and dignity aren’t valued. It’s viewed as a punishment for not being the sort of woman the “joker” expects you to be – quiet, agreeable, dressed “appropriately” (whatever that might mean), sexually willing, sexually modest, or any number of other attributes.

It’s time for comedians to know it’s not ok to joke about this stuff. It’s serious and it’s real. Half of all women have experienced sexual violence, so a comedian will be bringing up an extremely traumatic past experience to about a quarter of his audience. I don’t know about you, but I go to the comedy club to forget the really awful things in life, not be reminded by some jerk comedian.

If Tosh is coming to a comedy club near you, I encourage you to let them know you won’t be in attendance because you don’t support threats of sexual violence.

Update: Tosh says his words were “taken out of context,” and sort of apologized on Twitter. If those really are his words though – and he seems to be admitting they are – I don’t think it matters what context they came out of. Rape jokes just aren’t funny, and I’m glad he’s noticed the outlash. Maybe he’ll think twice before “joking” about gang rape again.


6 Responses to “Daniel Tosh.0? Time to uninstall.”

  1. more March 26, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

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  2. Angie Fiedler Sutton July 14, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    “If you want to make it a free speech issue, then consider this: It’s an issue of feeling safe from threats of sexual assault, even if he was “kidding”, because those threats are made to silence someone whose opinions he didn’t like. Whether she legally had the right to speak or not, he ensured *she* wasn’t free to speak.” – Andi, you have to remember, though, that this was a comedy club and she was effectively heckling him. It’s like if during a performance of “Hamlet” an audience member stands up and says, “I’m not comfortable with how sexualized you’re making the relationship between Hamlet and his mother – as I was a victim of incest.” If she was uncomfortable with the jokes, she could always leave. But unless he was specifically asking for the audience’s input, she did speak out of turn.

    I don’t know the joke in question (and to the ‘rape jokes are never funny’, I reply with a George Carlin paraphrase: picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd), and I definitely agree that his response to her was NOT a joke, any more than me saying, “Wouldn’t it be funny if a bunch of people beat Tosh to a bloody pulp after a performance and left him for dead?” – ha, ha – it’s a joke, because I used the word ‘funny’, and is no way an invitation even though laughter and jokes are usually a reward!

    But to say you can’t do rape jokes is a fine line that then goes on with other things people think you can’t say. A lot of comics thrive on pushing the envelope. Again, I don’t know the joke in question (and i’m not interested in hearing it, as that’s MY choice of free speech), but to say that because rape is an assault and a violent act means there can’t be humor found in it (and that it hurts the victim) is a fallacy. As I wrote on Facebook, I had a friend who committed suicide – with a gun – and I had to help clean up the mess. That doesn’t mean I don’t find jokes about suicide funny – as long as they are jokes. Sometimes humor is the best defense mechanism, and jolts us out of ‘victim’ status and helps us get past it. I know that some of my darkest moments have only been survived mentally because I was able to find humor in the situation.

  3. Andi Enns July 11, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    I’m not saying it should be illegal, liv4music. I definitely believe in freedom of speech. But with that right comes an openness to criticism, and a right to spend our dollars supporting other ideas and other comedy acts.

    He may have the right to say rape is hilarious, but I think a woman should also be able to have a nice evening at the comedy club without a comedian talking about how “hilarious” it would be if she was gang raped in front of a crowd of strangers. In any other context, it would be considered a form of assault to say that to someone – so why did he think it was ok on the stage?

    If you want to make it a free speech issue, then consider this: It’s an issue of feeling safe from threats of sexual assault, even if he was “kidding”, because those threats are made to silence someone whose opinions he didn’t like. Whether she legally had the right to speak or not, he ensured *she* wasn’t free to speak.

  4. liv4music July 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Isn’t it less of the issue of whether an individual finds the statement humorous, and more about upholding the First Amendment to the Constitution? As predictable, and perhaps cliched as this argument is, it is only those things because too many people now take such a proclamation for granted. Laying aside that Tosh was most definitely utilizing irony, a cornerstone of virtually every comedy style, his reputation for risque interpretations precedes him, and he was doing nothing more than taking advantage of his right, and our right as Americans, to free speech. Having not been there, and having not seen a video, I cannot say whether or not I would have laughed. I can speculate that I might have tightened my jaw muscles a bit, as if to think “whoa!” but even if I think what he said was wrong, that is something completely different than say he should not have said it, or worse, that he should not have been allowed to say it. If rape is off limits to joke about, what else is on that list? Who decides what can be discussed in a cavalier manner? I certainly would not want the job.

    Don’t you like the fact that when something like this happens, you can post a commentary, voicing your opinion one way or another, without a fear that you will be reprimanded, or worse, for expressing your disgust with something? There are still numerous places around the world where this liberty is not granted to its citizens. In Iran, for example, women convicted of a capital crime, are sent to death row before they are executed. According to Islamic law, virgin women cannot be executed, so before the women are executed, they are forcibly married and raped by prison guards.

    I would rather be offended by what someone says, than to be in a predicament where one is not allowed to speak…

  5. Tiffany July 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    He is such as a**hole. I’ve always thought that, but this seals the deal. Even Sandra Bernhart got flack for joking about Sarah Palin getting raped by black dudes. I have never heard a rape joke I thought was funny.


  1. 77 reasons we still need feminism « Andi Enns - July 11, 2012

    […] People still think joking about rape is funny. […]

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