Is Comedy Always an Excuse?

I remember when  got flack for his comment about cricket being gay or whatever.  I read the transcript, and as a genderqueer bisexual male, I didn’t find myself offended.  The joke was old, and it wasn’t really funny or harsh.  It was one of those instances where I cut the comedian some slack for being a comedian.

There’s horrific instances, however, where there is no room for cutting slack.  For instance, such as Tracy Morgan’s , suggesting violence against his son should he be gay.  That’s a totally different story.  Jason wasn’t saying, “cricket is gay, and it should be beaten to death for being gay!”  He made a harmless stereotypical joke.  Morgan is saying, “dude, beat them to death if they’re gay.”  That’s a far more visceral image, and it’s hard to find that to be anywhere near a joke.

Tosh’s comments are disgusting.  I don’t find rape jokes funny to begin with.  However, if someone says, “dude, they aren’t funny,” singling her out and saying, “it’d be funny if five guys raped her” isn’t in the least bit comedy.  It’s intimidation and degradation.  He turned her into a fucking object, and made her feel extremely uncomfortable.

Then, instead of issuing a truly sincere apology, we are met with this:

If he said, “hey, I’m sorry and what I did was uncalled for.  I shouldn’t have singled her out or suggested she be raped.  It wasn’t the right thing to do, and I’d like to apologize to her personally.”  And if the person doesn’t want him to apologize personally, he should end it there.  Would that be enough?  That’s not for me to say, I’m not the woman that encountered this, and I’m not a woman in general.

However, that would have been a start.  Instead he acts like a self-righteous ass and uses the veil of comedy to excuse his disgusting comments.  I also understand that the owner of the Laugh Factory , that Tosh said “Daniel came in, and he said, ‘Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys’ – something like that. I didn’t really hear properly,” after a viewer said she wanted to talk about “rape” after Tosh asked the audience what they’d like to discuss.

If this is true, I think that Tosh was still out of line.  It’s fine if you want to mock the audience for getting up to leave for the restroom or something like that.  It’s embarrassingly fun, and it’s something that you expect when you go to a comedy show.  However, making a statement like that doesn’t make any sense.  What is the thought process behind doing so?

About Toni Goodman

Cultural Anthropology Major at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
This entry was posted in Culture, Pop Culture and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Is Comedy Always an Excuse?

  1. says:

    His apology was terrible. Singling out an audience member the way he did is wrong as well. However, I think it was foolish of the woman to go to a comedy club where Daniel Tosh is performing and expect to not get offended. Some comedians are witty, some comedians use stories, he is a comedian that thrives off of being offensive. She should have known what to expect. This doesn’t excuse the way he acted by any means, but the naive woman was naive.

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