Tosh Point No: We Kind Of Can’t Believe We Have To Tell You That Rape Jokes Are Not Hilarious

Can you read this, Daniel Tosh?

[Ed. note: readers, please welcome long-time Dallasite and extreme fan of pants, Merritt Martin, to HayLadies! She edits the calendar section at the Dallas Observer and has a one-eyed cat.]

Hi, Merritt here. If you know me or have read some of my blognage, you get that television is, howyousay, my bag. As sad as it may sound, at the end of a long day, my “DVR” might as well read “BFF.” But that’s not my point. What is my point right now is that although I have three tasks of paycheck-related work to accomplish, I had to stop and write this while I’m still so fucking blindsided by what I just saw on the Tosh.0 season premiere.

Yes, I watch — or, used to watch — Tosh.0. I did appreciate Daniel Tosh’s ability to zing those of the YouTuberverse, with relatively no filter. Because sometimes, in my opinion, so-called political correctness in excess can be as restrictive as the bigotry and offense it tries to fight. Comedy allows for a bit of healthy line crossing here and there and serves to keep us in check, keep us real — see: jokes about not wanting kids, addiction, politics, religion, even gender roles and equality when done well and to make a point. Prime-time examples can be found, not always but often, in the comedy of Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale and Louis CK, or on shows like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation.

And yes, I suppose I was asking for it. (Upon rereading that, that pun was unintentional, but wow.) I should’ve suspected that since Tosh’s “web redemption” (for those unfamiliar, this is when Tosh invites someone embarrassed by a viral video to come on the show and “redeem” themselves) guest for his season premier would be Antoine Dodson, there were going to be rape jokes. I’m unclear why in hell Dodson needs a redemption for scaring off his sister’s attacker and then warning everyone in the area in a memorable way. I’m even more unclear why unnecessary rape jokes turned into victim jokes. That’s right. In numerous instances, Tosh named or referenced actual victims or groups of victims…and not just those of the sadly expected prisoner variety.

I’m going to use another one of Tosh’s bits right back on him: Let me break it down, K?

The well-known Antoine Dodson “Hide yo kids, hide yo wife” clip leads off the “web redemption” segment, which you can watch here, even though it kills us to send even a small amount of traffic Comedy Central’s way for this. In lieu of a click, I’ve transcribed the segment.

Tosh’s Intro:
“That’s Antoine Dodson and he hates rape. Instead of crying in the shower for three hours, he fought back. Rape is an awful crime, but the fact is, without rape, we wouldn’t have this great video. Plus, Tori Amos would have nothing to sing about, I’d never want to buy a Duke Lacrosse T-shirt, and there’d be no Law & Order SVU for your parents to watch while your upstairs trying to rape your girlfriend.

[For those keeping track, that’s one joke about the warning to not shower before seeking treatment/evidence collection after a rape, one about rape inspiring awesome viral videos, one about rape victim and founder of RAINN Tori Amos, one about a refuted rape accusation and scandal, and one about date rape. Five in less than 20 seconds! Neat!]

He goes on, after the jump, racking up the rape jokes like Dirk Nowitzki shoots free throws, but with much less rabid applause and swooning from us.

“Basically, there are four kinds of rape. The traditional, scary rape which seems to happen only to joggers, so if you wanna stay safe, knock it off with the cardio. Then there’s prison rape, which involves criminals so it doesn’t really count. Now, date rape is the politest rape of them all, but it would happen way less often if doctors would just stop prescribing the date rape drug. Last, but not least, statutory rape, which can be very confusing, because let’s be honest, women never look their age. 15 or 57, who can tell? I don’t work at a goddamn carnival. And every place is different. In these states [shows highlighted map of the US], the age of consent is 16. Basically, if your state can’t wait for President Palin, it’s a safe bet you can legally bang a high school sophomore. But for you real perverts, in Mexico it’s 12 so book your flights today.”

[Tracker: That’s one about the Central Park Jogger and/or other jogging victims, rape not counting, polite rape, doctors prescribing rape, how damn confusing it must be to not rape a minor, and how we should all book airfare and go do it with Mexican tweens. SIX! He’s outdoing himself AND has a visual aid. This is incredible. If I weren’t being so sarcastic, I might cry.]

Now I’ll paraphrase: Tosh, having never been raped, suspects it might be like watching Sophia Coppola’s Somewhere, then says he’d be a horrible rapist because he has trouble having successful sex with consenting ladies. (I do believe that was self-deprecating and not a comment on what gets him off, but that’s pretty much the only bone I’m willing to throw him at this point.) He also points out that “in the end, rape is just the word ‘pear’ all jumbled up.” Oh, but I gotta quote this doozy: “I look at rape the same way I look at HIV: If you play guard for the Lakers it won’t affect you.”

[Tracker: Five there, plus an HIV joke, and I was mostly paraphrasing! This guy is a real gem.]

He clarified that because Dodson vowed on television to catch his sister’s rapist but never followed through because he got distracted by fame, he invited him back for a redemption, “to finish the job.” Mull that over for a bit.

The Antoine Dodson Interview:
Setting: A public park with a sign claiming “Home of the most rapes per square acre in the world”
Number of screaming women running through background: 1
After discussing Dodson’s business offers, how his life changed after the broadcast and the Autotune the News song, his flat-ironed hair, his being openly gay, etc., Tosh says, “The only thing I question is ‘Hide your husbands.’ Are husbands really getting raped?” Dodson: “Husbands are really getting raped.” So Tosh suggests they go learn how to be “proactive, not…” Dodson responds with “reactive.” And Tosh says, “I was going to say ‘raped.'” So, as I would have never guessed, they head to…

[Tracker: Fake rape! So funny!]

A Self-Defense/Rape Prevention Class! (which is most likely stocked with actors, but who knows):
After the instructor teaches the eyes/throat/groin targets and never to yell “Help, rape!” but to yell “Fire!” the padded aggressor comes out. Dodson pwns the padded faux-rapist with aggressive kicks to the groin. Tosh 69s him and moans “Fire. Fire.” They practice with their rape whistles…oh, except Tosh has a slide whistle and not a rape whistle.

[Tracker: One for mocking a fucking self-defense class, one for simulated attack being sexy (are you kidding me?), one for mocking a safety device. Three. Oh, how I’m developing more and more respect Daniel Tosh.]

“The Rapist Trapping”:
They set up a box on a stick and Tosh (in metallic boyshorts) dances under it to Dodson’s song. Dodson crouches behind a dumpster ready to pull the string should a “rapist” attack. Tosh yells, “Hey, buddy, no means yes” to a passer-by/extra. A woman extra walks by, to which he says, “Beat it, slut. Go get raped on your own corner.” Then Tosh takes “rape drugs” and is plowed down by a guy in Ben Roethlisberger’s uniform. Dodson pulls the string while Tosh yells that he’s being raped by Roethlisberger. Dodson cheers they caught the rapist and runs off while Tosh yells he’s still being raped.

[Tracker: One for the classy, not tired, jab at “no means no,” one for “slut,” one for “joking” to someone about going to get raped, one for equating it to prostitution, one for the drugs, one for Roethlisberger reference, one for leaving a rape victim without help because they’re yelling they’re being raped instead of on fire, oh and three for Roethlisberger’s victims (though, this guy at Bleacher Report likes to call them “victims” so I’m guessing he’s a Tosh fan).

Tosh’s Closer:
“Sorry, Pittsburgh. I wouldn’t have had to do that if Roethlisberger’d just admitted to fumbling the ball in the endzone against the Dolphins in Week 7.”

That’s 30 rape jokes in one segment. One segment in a half-hour show on Comedy Central. That averages one rape joke per minute. I’d love to know the demographics of his viewing audience, but I don’t even have to look to feel confident they skew heavily in the 18-34 range. Which is terrifying to me.

Sure, one can find humor in anything, but I’d like to think that humor is most often found by those who have experienced something. Humor in healing, humor in dealing. Not aggressive, unnecessary and belittling humor that essentially robs the victims (in general as well as those specified) of the fact that they. were. victimized.

Andrea Grimes has taught me a great deal about rape culture [Andrea’s note: oh, stop.] . For that I’m grateful. I’m also grateful that when I watched Tosh.0 tonight I felt the horror, anger, shock and passion that I did. I knew it was there. Thing is, while I knew rape culture was prevalent, it really hadn’t shown itself to me in the way that it did tonight. There was no violence, no sex, no nudity. But there was aggression beneath something which I hold so dear, and believed so innocent: laughter.

I (@nerver) have begun tweeting @DanielTosh regarding this issue using the hashtag #ToshPointNo. Won’t you join me?

I also encourage you to share your thoughts with Comedy Central.

This entry was posted in famousness, media, rape culture, sexual assault and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to Tosh Point No: We Kind Of Can’t Believe We Have To Tell You That Rape Jokes Are Not Hilarious

  1. i never liked Tosh–i found 5 minutes of his stand-up to be boring and trite, and not even the promos could convince me that tosh.0 was worth watching. but this. omfg. i read this with a constant jaw drop. it must be nice to be so privileged that tosh can make fun of something that isn’t likely to ever happen to him. i’m continually sickened with the fame of Dodson because of what it’s founded on. a real life woman who antoine cares about was almost raped, and the internet had to go and make a joke out of it. wtf. and tosh just had to go and outdo the internet.

    as painful as this was to read, i’m sure it was much worse to watch and transcribe (i refused to click the link), so thank you for writing and sharing this.

  2. Brittan says:

    Brava, Merritt. Thank you for writing this.

  3. Nina says:

    I was so glad to wake up this morning and see this article. I was watching the show last night with my roommates and thought it was pretty funny until the full on launch into rape jokes. I was so shocked. Glad someone else was too!

  4. Andrea says:

    My husband and I usually find Tosh.O funny. But last night, we weren’t even five minutes into the show and we switched to another channel. That episode crossed the line, and I’m not sure we’ll be tuning in anymore.

  5. Brenda says:

    THANK YOU. I was extremely upset over this episode and when tweeting about it, a random guy mansplained to me that nothing is off limits when it comes to comedy so I should stop “over reacting”.

    • Anne Smith says:

      Rape jokes can be quite funny if they ridicule rapists and/or rape apologists. Rape survivors make the funniest, darkest, truly edgiest rape jokes. The guys (they’re almost always guys) who say things like “nothing’s off-limits in comedy” always defend unfunny rape jokes that come from the perspective of a rapist.

      • Seditious says:

        Bingo! Oppressors use comedy as an excuse for spreading their worldview without risking straight on criticism. Then, people with real values and intelligence get wrapped up defending the truth, and never have the space, time and emotional lightness to just start making comedy from OUR perspective. Lots of minstrel for decades, but no one noticed/considered why there was not an equal+opposing comic devise of impersonating White people.

        I think it’s a great boost to the cultures/communities working to end discrimination and social injustices that we now have The Daily Show, Olberman, Boondocks, Everybody Hates Chris etc. It needs to continue if we are to ever shift the terms of debate, let alone clearly show which groups have status quo power and which do not.

  6. merrittmartin says:

    Thank you for all the comments. I’ve been surprised at the feedback — all sorts from positive to aggressive to accusatory to (most shocking) offended. I’m curious to see if Daniel Tosh or Comedy Central will ever comment. I can only dream they’ll can the repeat episodes.

  7. Sam Merten says:

    “Fifteen or 57, who can tell? I don’t work at a goddamn carnival.”

    C’mon, Merritt. That one was damn funny. The rest, not so much, but c’mon. It only takes one episode of Tosh.O to realize very quickly that part of his schtick is crossing the line on a regular basis. I’m not always on board with his jokes about race and “retards,” but it won’t stop me from watching. Tosh also issued a few gay jokes while talking to Dodson, as you briefly mentioned. Why are you OK with jokes about homosexuality, retardation and race and not the rape ones?

    • The whole “Why aren’t you mad about X/Y/Z instead of A/B/C” thing is a pretty poor critique. You can’t be mad about everything all the time, or at least you can’t write about it all at once. There’s plenty to write about with regard to Tosh and race, homsexuality, etc.–but that’s not what Merritt was addressing in this post, and to ask her to do so is unreasonable and attempts, unsuccessfully, to undermine the extremely valid points she is making about Tosh’s treatment of rape.

      • Sam Merten says:

        We’ll have to agree to disagree about the validity of criticizing someone for saying something while tolerating other things they say. And as for attempting to undermine Merritt’s points, we can disagree on that one too. I asked a reasonable question, and she responded appropriately below.

      • I agree and think it’s totally reasonable to take someone to task for tolerating certain hateful ideas and not others. I don’t think it’s fair to assume that someone approves of something because they don’t mention it specifically or, in this case, elaborate on it in detail, which is how I read “Why are you OK with jokes about homosexuality, retardation and race and not the rape ones?”

      • Sam Merten says:

        There we go, Grimes. Now that I can agree with. Clearly, I should have phrased my question more along the lines of: What distinguishes his rape jokes from the ones about homosexuality, retardation and race? Although, thankfully, Merritt got the gist of what I was asking.

      • Ben says:

        “I don’t think it’s fair to assume that someone approves of something because they don’t mention it specifically” I agree with the statement, but that’s not the case here. The blog’s author (and some commenters) clearly indicate that prior to this episode, they watched Tosh.0 regularly. She says herself that something she liked about the show was Tosh’s ability to “zing” people with relatively no filter. But apparently, she is the one who gets to decide upon which topics this filter should be evoked? Please.

        If she liked other episodes before this, she’s saying that making fun of gays for being gay, retards for being retards, and minorities for being minorities can be swell and dandy knee-slapping good fun (which it IS if done well), but rape is completely off limits. The hypocricy is palpable. If she were a rape victim I would at least understand her frustration with this episode, although I would still disagree with the blog completely. If this wasn’t a comedy show and it was promoting rape, I would agree that’s out of line.

        But this is a (low brow) comedy show, one that she and some commentators were FANS of, full of offensive insulting shock humor. If you don’t like it or don’t think your kids should be watching (and really, this should be the fairly obvious conclusion prior to watching the entire thing and blogging about how terrible it is): Turn it off. Or GTFO of the US; not every country provides the right of Freedom of Speech, but I damn sure am not going to shame people when they choose to use it (provided I have the option not to be subject to it).

        Long story short, this entire blog is extremely hypocritical (and humorous in an ironic way) after stating she used to watch this show regularly.

    • merrittmartin says:

      Sorry, Sam. I’m new to WordPress. I replied, but it’s below in the general comments. Didn’t realize until too late you could reply to a comment.

    • Seditious says:

      @SamMerten — Yeah, that line cracked me up too. But here’s the deal: does having some comedic SKILL outweigh having some MORALITY about lending aid+comfort to criminals? Why aren’t we concerned with how the victims feel? Why is it MORE important to uphold somebody just because they are able to be really FUNNY sometimes?

      I did the open mic scene for years, and eventually many of us figured this out. We’d been cringing every time certain comics would hit the mic, knowing it was a matter of moments before he’d start insulting groups of people already being waged war upon by the system. Finally we came to realize that being funny or not funny isn’t the point! Having a skill is a totally separate issue than one’s concept. This is true in EVERY ART FORM. And one can appreciate SKILL without upholding the CONCEPT it is being used within.

      Just like I can appreciate a speaker whose points (concept) are right on, although he may be a bit boring (skill.)

      And the slide whistle bit was hysterical — but if it was done in a different CONTEXT, I’d have actually laughed a lot louder.

  8. Alison says:

    I hear what you’re saying about the innocence of laughter but am also surprised. Laughter is so effectively used to degrade, belittle and undermine, to brush-off and undo.
    And then there’s the time-honoured ‘but it’s just a joke! It’s supposed to be funny!’ defence used to throw down protests and ‘those angsty types’.
    While think mirth/delight/synonym might carry innocent happiness, laughter has many faces.

    • merrittmartin says:

      Excellent point. I think I equate that more with politics and parents, so that’s probably why I was surprised.

  9. merrittmartin says:

    @Sam Merten: I’ll give you this: The phrase “goddamn carnival” is funny.
    Sure, he’s a line-crosser. As I mentioned, that’s why I watched the show in the first place. I like it when people don’t take everything so incredibly seriously all the time. Keeps us appreciative of the times and subjects we should. Some just do it better than others.

    To be clear, not once did I say I was OK with certain barbed jokes and not others, so please don’t assume that. I’d be remiss, however, if I didn’t point out that race, sexual identity and mental or physical capacities are characteristics of people — the variances of which can be used to describe every single person (ex. She is black and a lesbian, and is a genius-level thinker). And while such jokes may not be politically correct, they may not be altogether edgy anymore either. Also, many people may find they relate to those types of jokes, are numb to them or just have a higher tolerance before they’re offended by them. It’s a bit of the universal saturation factor. That may not be a good thing, but that wasn’t my point.

    So what makes rape different? Rape is not a quality. Rape is a violent act that is forced upon someone. Rape is brutal. Maybe a culture’s practices are brutal, but ethnicity is not. Certainly, being bullied can be brutal, but being gay or straight or bi is not by definition. The trials of learning in spite of mental retardation, or raising a child with a disability, are surely challenging, but they’re not torturous attacks that come from nowhere. That is why I didn’t mention the other types of jokes, or why they made less of a blip on my radar. That, and well, there weren’t 30 of them.

    • Sam Merten says:

      Thanks for properly addressing my question. That last paragraph should have been included in your post for clarification. Of course, while I understand the distinction you’re making, I’m just not sure it matters whether he’s joking about a violent act, someone’s sexuality or whatever. It’s all about how you feel personally about the subject matter.

      Make no mistake, you’ve made it clear how you feel about rape jokes. (For the record, I could do without rape humor as well.) However, as someone with a learning-disabled brother and nephew with Down syndrome, I don’t find “retard” jokes funny. At all. Just because it’s more mainstream to make fun of mentally challenged folks doesn’t make it right.

      But for me to suggest that Tosh or Comedy Central should be held accountable is ridiculous. Like I said, crossing the line is his schtick. Everyone knows (or should know) that when they turn on his show. I can either fight through his “retard” jokes or watch something else. I choose to watch because mostly everything else he brings to the table is downright hilarious.

      If he was a politician or someone of great influence, I’d understand your complaint. But Tosh is a comedian. What he said about rape might not be funny, but should he be forced to cease joking about certain issues? Once you draw the line on one issue, it’s hard to know what’s acceptable to joke about and what’s not.

      It didn’t take people very long to start joking about Osama bin Laden shortly after 9/11. Is killing 3,000 innocent civilians not a violent act?

      • Kasha says:

        I can argue that people who engage in production of media and culture are just as important, if not more, than politicians or public figures. To be exact, by the nature of how visible and powerful Tosh is by nature of his cable tv show comedian status, he is in fact a public figure. He does influence people, and moreover, he reinforces widely-held violent and harmful beliefs regarding rape (not to mention homosexuality, developmental disabilities, etc.)

        Once the line is drawn on an issue such as rape or incest or violence against queer people, actually talk to the folks who are affected by these things, and not just refute the validity of their concerns or experiences of anger. It’s not like we’re completely invisible or don’t want to talk about these issues.

        Political correctness is not a problem of censorship, it’s oppressed, invalidated and delegitimized people telling an violent mainstream culture that offensive shit is not acceptable. If its hard to tell what is acceptable, get out of your element a little more often and ask people who experience these things. It’s not like there’s a monolithic consensus on how people want to be treated, but you’ll learn more about what most people (i.e. survivors) expect as a baseline.

      • Seditious says:

        Yes, people started jokes about Bin Laden and Islam right away. THAT’S HOW YOU DE-HUMANIZE THE ENEMY you’re about to go to war with. No one made jokes about the loss of the innocent people in the WTC, or about the building itself. This illustrates the concept of Humor Being Effective Relative To The Speaker’s Social Perspective. If a teeny minority makes fun of the status quo, not only will most people hate it — the comedian has little chance of it spreading outside of his minority group. However, if he were to aim the comic sword at his OWN group, he’s be performing at the White House twice a year.

  10. Spline says:

    “I’m just not sure it matters whether he’s joking about a violent act, someone’s sexuality or whatever. It’s all about how you feel personally about the subject matter.”

    Er, no. Joking about a violent, dehumanizing, and COMMON crime, that is almost always DISMISSED as not a “real” crime, and affects about 1 in 10 of all women, is not even remotely on the same scale as joking about sexuality or bin Laden. The whole world agreed that the people who died in the World Trade Center were not “asking for it”, nor were they not “really” killed.

  11. Liz says:

    This is just appalling and makes me sick to my stomach. I watched his show occasionally in the past but never again. I know that the show is edgy but this is cruel. If I found it painful to read about, I can’t imagine what those men (1 in 7) & women (1 in 4) who have been raped or sexually assaulted felt.

    • Kitrina says:

      Well if your statistics are true then there are a lot of victims walking around society. However, I highly doubt that Comedy Central would air a show that doesn’t have star ratings. My point is this…..if there are that many people who have dealt with the subject then maybe some of them have moved one, picked up their lives, started over and LEARNED TO LAUGH AT THINGS THEY CAN’T CHANGE! I am a nurse and I laugh at things you would probably find appauling. That is what gets me through the day, as well as the rest of my compassionate, educated & caring staff. Isn’t good laughter always at someone else’s expense? It just so happens you people find this subject to be personal and not the rest of the hilarious material he deals with.

      • Nope says:

        Yes there are alot of victims walking around in society having to deal with people making light of the violent act of rape every day and no I don’t laugh about it.

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  14. Chris says:

    Who are you to determine what is not crossing the line and what is? Addiction and religion is ok, but god forbid a touchy subject for you and your arms are up. A lot of his material and similar comedians are going to offend someone with their crude humor.

    • Nope says:

      This makes me sick. I read all these comments because yes I am sick of how many tv shows make jokes about being raped. The thing is people that haven’t been raped come on here and leave comments and say yes I think it’s ok to make jokes about being raped. Of course a person that has been raped (such as myself) would never sit there and be okay with it. It’s hard enough dealing with it every day. But to be trying to find a good tv show to watch and then they bring up rape. You can’t really imagine can you? Because every comedy show or whatever seems to want to push the envelope and what about the victims? We went to watch a nice good tv show to make us laugh and then it has to remind us of a horrible act. Do you know what thats like? To have something remind you of a horrible thing that happened to you and SOME people on here are seeming to say it’s okay to joke about.

      • Lelani Hanae says:

        Because it is okay to joke about. It’s no worse than any other subject of any other comedy routine. And you can speak for yourself about what a “victim” feels about this comedy, but you are not the supreme and final voice for all rape victims everywhere. So don’t act like it.

  15. Shawna says:

    im pissed. 🙂 i just seen that episode, everything was going great.. until the jokes about rape.. it hit me hard because im a victim of rape. i lost my virginity at 17 due to being raped. & i remember taking shower after shower trying to get clean.. i dont think this is funny at all. does he not realize, that Majority of rape victims suffer from PTSD, due to the rape? that they still have nightmares, still have flashbacks?? and he can sit there and make jokes about this?? im 25 and i still have issues with my rape that happened when i was 17.. or the fact that when he was trying to “trap the rapist” he was like “No means yes” thats the problem with society, most rapists actually think no means yes, so is he condoning rapists? & as for the 4 types of rape. explain that to the victims who werent drugged, who werent willing but it be statutory, who werent criminals, who werent “joggers” explain that to the people who get grabbed all of a sudden, thrown down. with a man on top them, touching them. screwing them, bruising them, beating them, saying no repeatedly, and the guy just thinks its funny. Daniel tosh is no different than the rapists in his thoughts about the subject.

    • andrew says:

      You are being rediculous…..Jokes are simply that! I am sorry for the things that you have gone through in your life but if we cannot joke about things that affect the struggles of others we would be left with no jokes at all. Should there be no video games containing wars where people get killed because people have lost family members in a war? I am absolutely positive that you have been on either the telling end or the laughing end of jokes that although did not have anything to do with your life have greatly affected others….It’s a fucking joke, that’s why we watch COMEDY CENTRAL, it’s comedy!!!!!!!!

      • Kitrina says:

        @ Andrew….my point exactly. I understand your trauma. However, freedom of speech. Don’t watch a show that you KNOW makes fun of innocent people if you don’t want to be offended in some way yourself.

    • merrittmartin says:

      I can’t imagine how you must have felt watching that show. And I agree with you that so many people who make rape jokes are essentially bring horrible memories back for rape victims. I hope you have support and emotional help when you need it. I thank you so much for commenting and sharing with us on here.

  16. jeffrey says:

    wtf its just a joke you guys shouldn’t watch shows like that if u cant take a joke please stop watching comedy central so people with nuts can enjoy let me do an example someone white laughs at an asian joke and then they here a white joke and get offended a person like that should not watch stand-up comedy or tosh.0

    • Well, I’m convinced.

      • jeffrey says:

        look im just saying u have to understand in comedy there are no boundaries so if you get offended dont watch

    • merrittmartin says:

      Oh, I can take a joke. I love jokes. Thing is? Nothing about rape is funny. Nothing.

      • Pat says:

        Oh and nothing about rape is funny. True. But nothing about racism, obesity, sexist, etc is funny, but it is common for comedians to touch on all these subjects. Its through these uncomfortable situations that all of us can relate on something, and thats comedy.

    • Seditious says:

      Plain outright mean-spirited comment — the old “if you’re not laughing it’s because you are pathetic and boring.” Total BS. There are OTHER ways that touchy, controversial subjects can become comedic material without offending victims. A society that fights vigorously to defend a man joking endlessly about rape doesn’t deserve to see another day, in my book. But since I cannot wipe it out and rewrite a better one, I’ll choose to help people get back on our feet and stand up. There’s no reason why the backwards neanderthal mentality of people who speak publicly must be upheld, let alone tolerated. No one here has the power to censure the jerks but then we’re not supposed to even critique it?! This is why “freedom of speech” is such a joke in America:” it only exists when members of the OPPRESSING group speak to attack or degrade or humiliate members of the OPPRESSED group. As soon as the latter group speaks up, “Oh you don’t have to watch it, oh the bigot/racist/homophobe/male-chauvinist is merely exercising his freedom of speech!” What a fucking joke this country has become.

  17. merrittmartin says:

    Some people — often fans — have said to me since this post has been up that they feel Daniel Tosh jokes about taboo subjects in order to bring them into conversation where they otherwise wouldn’t be. After the punchline, smart people get angry and do something, and others only laugh…or tell people they’re lame for not getting the joke. They say it’s a risky move but they still support him.

    I hope he’s directing his questionable comedy at smart people and there’s a positive motive beneath what seems to be malicious jokes. I’d really would like to believe that’s what he’s doing, but I need lots more proof first.

    • Ben says:

      Nah I think it’s safe to say that this show does what it does to maximize profit (aka viewers) by being as entertaining as possible (within Comedy Central’s limits)

  18. jeffrey says:

    i thought roethlisberger spearing him into the rape trap was funny

  19. jeffrey says:

    true nothing about rape is funny but you cant control the world comedians are going to make fun of whatever they want

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  21. Crystal says:

    Thank you SO MUCH for writing about this. I wrote to comedy central about how utterly disgusting and un-funny this was…I also showed it to one of my profs, who then showed it to our class of about 300 people as we discussed rape culture….it definitely brought the point home.

  22. Sam says:

    You can’t say one subject is OK to joke about and another is not OK. Just like you can’t say it is not OK to make fun of one race but all the others are OK. Any good comedian, which Tosh is, will not hold back and will make jokes about any and all subjects.

  23. Pat says:

    What a waste of time it was to write this article. I couldnt even sit through half of this complaining before i had to stop. Comedy is comedy and you people that bitch and moan about it is whats killing comedy. Clearly none of u have ever been to a comedy club.

    • Seditious says:

      Since when is Comedy per say under threat of being killed?

      And when actual living women are being raped at any given moment, sometimes resulting in death, why should I back off from fighting THAT in lieu of fighting to keep a CATEGORY OF ENTERTAINMENT alive? It’s just entertainment! It’s not a living thing! It’s not being “killed”. SOME people’s USE of it is being criticized. Why is that so hard to understand?

      • Ben says:

        Pat, I agree, except the killing comedy thing is worded confusingly. People that don’t really understand or appreciate comedy/comedians don’t contribute to “killing” it, they just don’t contribute to it at all.

        Seditious, you’re right too- rape does often lead to death. And guess what- death (Including murder, suicide, war, etc.) is a topic many if not MOST comedians or comedy shows joke about regularly. Even when ACTUAL, LIVING PEOPLE are being murdered at any given moment!!! omgomgomg!

        Oh, and PS: Just to correct you, you aren’t fighting against the rapists. You’re fighting against the First Amendment of the US Constitution that guarantees our right to speak freely. Keep up the good work… ?

  24. Pat says:

    Btw im offended when you say “smart people get the punchline and get angry, and the others just laugh” So im unintelligent for laughing at his jokes?? Perhaps you are just so close minded and sensitive that you cant take jokes for what they are…JOKES!

    • The little gifts are when someone complains about how smart they really are by writing a sentence displaying a minimal level of grammatical understanding.

      • Amanda says:

        Also, this is the internet, and an irrelevant blog no less, not college. I don’t believe there are any grammatical guidelines on this site. No one cares about grammar. You can always count on women to get petty in their disagreements. Way to hold up the common stereo types of women.

  25. Amanda says:

    it’s a comedy show, relax and take the tree out of your butt. It is so irritating to read articles like this.

    • Chelsea Upton says:

      It must be nice in your world, where you don’t have to worry about the implications of what other people do or say. In this case, the fact that he’s trivializing rape is a huge issue, given the fact that the media is already hostile to women when regarding issues of rape. Every single time some jerk makes a joke about rape, it just reinforces the notion that it isn’t a problem.

      The best comedy is rooted in truth, because that’s where it resonates with people. Tosh is implying that rape is a non-issue, and that’s a huge lie.

      • Seditious says:

        ^ *applause and mad respect*

      • Ben says:

        If the US viewpoint on rape is like the US viewpoint on sex and nudity in general, rape probably SHOULD be trivialized more than it is here. (And just to be clear, that’s meant to be ironic- although there’s probably a hint of truth to it.) If you think Tosh.0 has an influence on the trivialization of rape compared to that of the US law, the media, and historical court cases, you are in a fantasy land.

        “The best comedy is rooted in truth, because that’s where it resonates with people.” Speaking of irony… That is an excellent argument FOR comedians joking about things such as rape. Why ignore the truth of our society and pretend like rape does not occur, when the sad truth is that it is a part of the world we live in.

    • Lola1103 says:

      Exactly, its an irrelevant blog, meaning you don’t have to read it. So if you find it irritating and have genuinely nothing intelligent to say and instead prefer to repeat stereotypes about women. Don’t read it. Then, don’t waste other people’s time by writing nonsense comments on it.

  26. bed intruder says:

    can’t we all just agree that Antoine Dodson is an amazing musician?

  27. Pingback: Fuck it, it’s a boycott. | I know, I was watching

  28. Kevin says:

    The point of rape jokes is so blogs like this will post articles about how horrible they are. That’s where the real comedy is.

    Not sure why people think they have some kind of right to not be offended. Taking offense to something is just part of life. But, It’s not that the comedian is personally targeting you, they don’t know you, they’re not trying to insult you. You just happen to be one of the people offended. You can walk out of the show, turn off the tv, do whatever you have to in order to feel better about the situation. Walk away and quit wasting negative energy on something that offends you. Instead, find something positive to do.

    I have to ask, what do you think you’ll accomplish by twittering to Daniel Tosh? Do you think you’re somehow unique and that your opinion makes any kind of difference whatsoever?

    • Nope says:

      I’m not quite sure how that is real comedy. Once again unless you have been raped (Have you?) what is the point you are trying to make? If you haven’t been raped ( this is something you will never understand) you want to tell all the rape survivors that want to bring more of an awareness and feel empowered by saying no we don’t think this is funny, to just stop wasting our energy on it. Everday you wake up as a rape survivor you think about it. What do you expect us to never watch a tv show or a movie or never watch stand up comedy ever again? We are just like anyone else wanting a good laugh but not in a way that seems to make it seem like rape is a trivialized subject. Which I have alot of experience with since people have seemed to have lost there humanity and compassion for each other. Maybe, just maybe by someone reading my post they can have some sort of better awareness of how others are affected by these type of jokes.

      Since I can’t just go live in some isolated bubble where I never hear rape jokes again I have to be forced to deal with it and say my opinion. Ive been silent long enough about it. People need to know how much it HURTS like hell to have rape be joked about over and over again. I mean if you had your mother, sister, cousin or aunt or gf say they were raped and told you a certain show really hurt them would you say , “Well there not trying to target you. Stop wasting your energy being offending….” That is invalidating a person’s experience and there feelings. Open your eyes you might not know it but you could be watching a tv show and they say a rape joke and someone in the room watching it with you experienced that and your sitting there laughing about it. Who knows? It hurts when you have to sit in silence watching someone laugh at something like that because your wanting people to have a sense of right and wrong. It’s wrong to be raped and it’s not funny.

  29. Jake Stone says:


    Making fun of religion is OK huh? (Not all religions, but I’ll give you one guess which one is fair game). A subject that matters to you though? Foul! As they say, “It’s all about whose ox is being gored”. You have zero credibility when you openly admit it.


  30. Lelani Hanae says:

    Can we say “hypersensitive”?
    This episode was HILARIOUS. Daniel Tosh has a very sarcastic/no holds barred style of comedy. He doesn’t take ANYTHING too seriously. If you don’t like it, that’s fine, but don’t nitpick and tear him a new one for just doing what he does.
    The more posts that I read from this blog, the more it seems like a bunch of bitter old biddies just looking for things to criticize. It can be interesting to begin with, but it is laced with so much self-righteousness and hypocrisy that it just becomes tiring. Don’t always try to champion for a cause. Especially one that you don’t specifically relate to. It makes you appear extremely ignorant.

  31. Lelani Hanae says:

    You can dislike what I say all you want. People don’t usually like to hear the truth. Would you have raised a stink about it if he was making fun of someone because they had a big nose, or because someone had tripped them? No. Because it’s not as taboo and you wouldn’t get all of this “hoo-rah! yay for feminism! Let’s all get offended over everything and sit around and whine about it!” support (crap). Actually, you probably would if it was directed at a woman, because that’s what you do. You take ridiculous things and mark them as sexist or offensive when THEY ARE NOT. People have the right to say what they want and that includes making jokes about WHATEVER THEY WANT. If you get offended, that is because you’re letting it mean more to you than it should. Don’t blame anybody for you getting all upset but yourself.

  32. suqmadiq says:

    OK, realize that these are just jokes and mean absolutely nothing, and if your so concerned about the jokes they make on there, DON’T FUCKING WATCH IT, there’s plenty of us that HAVE a sense of humor and we don’t need fucking FCC wannabes trying to censor everything little thing you find offensive.

  33. Mike says:

    This blog is ridiculous. Every joke is going to offend at least one type of person at one point. It’s understandable that rape jokes are on a level of their own but when it comes to a show like Tosh.0 you really have no room to complain. The guy deals low blows all the time it’s how his show works. Who are you to say which jokes are acceptable and which aren’t? Where do you draw the line? Since you were a fan you mustn’t have had a problem with all his other jokes. It’s all or none. If you don’t like it you can always watch something else.

  34. Pingback: Oh, Rape, You’re So Hilarious « Sex with Timaree

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  36. Pingback: Surfing the Rape Wave: What Tosh Teaches About Humor, Power and Privilege | Fem2pt0

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