There has been a lot of response from different corners of the ‘net (Internet) since the Daniel Tosh gang rape “joke” blog post was brought to everyone’s attention yesterday, and OOH BOY. From many, the response has been a to-be-expected, thoughtlessly knee-jerk “if you don’t like comedy, don’t go see comedy” style defense, which can certainly take you far enough in defense of an inappropriate-but-clever joke, but doesn’t so much apply here because “wouldn’t it be funny if she got raped by like 5 guys right now” is hardly a joke, EVEN THOUGH it was told on stage by someone with a microphone and a popular YouTube clips show, and it certainly isn’t clever. It is simply a nightmare piece of garbage that fell out of a jerk’s mouth because, based on previous experience, his brain correctly told him that that was the kind of thing that his audience would respond well to — that the thought of a bunch of guys raping a girl who interrupted his set to say that not all rape jokes are funny would, in turn, be funny. To be honest, i’s all so frustrating that I hardly even want to talk about it and I would really just like to lie down on the floor and slowly sink into it until I reach Earth’s core and disappear, never to deal with anyone’s garbage again. But, for whatever reason, I can’t do that. NONE OF US CAN. So let’s fucking talk about it. Louis C.K., much like he did when Tracy Morgan had a blog post written about what a nightmare he was onstage, came to the Tosh’s defense on Twitter:
And when I say “defense” I clearly mean “confusing either admission or lie that he watches Tosh.0 and enjoys it, coupled with a vague sense of blanket-style comedian support, the source of which we can only assume is the same belief he tweeted about in defense of Tracy Morgan.” Because the idea is so vague, and we can only assume his heart (his heart) is in the same place it was during The Tracy Thing, you might as well just read what Gabe said about it already. (TO SUMMARIZE, his point is that even though horrible jokes CAN be funny, that does not mean that just because a joke is horrible, the joke is funny, and also that comedians, et al., should stop acting like they believe that what they say doesn’t matter.) (But you should probably just re-read what he wrote because it will only take you like four minutes.) (But also, with this specific case, it’s worth noting that just because someone is a comedian doesn’t mean you need to pretend to support his awful clips show for the sake of comedic free speech.) A lot of people have been bringing up the fact that Louis C.K., too, has made rape jokes in his set and he, too, often crosses the line. That’s true! And I’m sure we all have our own opinions about when Louis C.K. “crosses the line.” Maybe some of us disagree with it when he does it, too. Maybe some of us believe that he is coming from more of a thoughtful place, and redeems himself in a way that Daniel Tosh could not. Maybe some of us think Louis C.K. is funny and would be ok with Daniel Tosh joking about rape if they thought Daniel Tosh were funny. Maybe some of us think they’re BOTH funny because all rape jokes are INHERENTLY funny. Maybe some of us think CAN WE PLEASE JUST GO TO SLEEP FOREVER. People can think literally anything they want, I’m not going to keep listing what people can think. But when Louis C.K. has, in the past, crossed the line, it has been, at the very least, a non-threatening crossing of the line. The distinction between “rape jokes” (which Daniel Tosh has been doing, without a large, blog post based backlash) and what people are upset with Daniel Tosh about HERE is that the idea behind what he said is the mere, lazy suggestion of rape is where the humor is to be found, not that there are certain ways to see the humor within it. (LOL.) And what people are upset about is the targeted suggestion that the gang rape of a SPECIFIC AUDIENCE MEMBER would be “funny.” It’s not a joke. Daniel Tosh was not “making a rape joke” and people aren’t mad because they can’t take jokes about sensitive subjects. (As many have pointed out, the idea of a “sensitive subject” varies with everyone, and if all “sensitive subjects” were off-limits, people wouldn’t be allowed to make ANY jokes. AND WE ALL LOVE JOKES!) People are mad because Daniel Tosh was not making a joke, but he was being a fucking bully and all but inciting a crowd to violence to intimidate a heckler, while pressing the idea that rape is funny because RAPE. (Some have mentioned, in defense of Tosh, that what is truly funny about a rape joke [specifically to the Daniel Tosh audience] is the thought that one is joking about rape at all, since everyone knows rape is such an awful nightmare. Those people are fucking liars.)
The owner of the Laugh Factory, the club where this all WENT DOWN, has also released a statement to BuzzFeed, about HIS side of the story. Here are some key quotes:
Masada says Tosh asked the audience, “What you guys want to talk about?” After someone in the front said “rape,” a woman in the audience started screaming, “No, rape is painful, don’t talk about it.” Then, Masada says, “Daniel came in, and he said, ‘Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys’ — something like that. I really didn’t hear properly.”
He continues, “It was a comment — it wasn’t a joke at the expense of this girl.”
Right. So you didn’t hear properly, but you do know that it was soooommmething about her being raped by five guys? For sure. FOR SURE. Obviously the joke was at the expense of the girl no matter what he said because if you make a joke about a heckler, it is at the expense of the heckler. No doy. You think the owner of The Laugh Factory, our nation’s most respected vehicle for comedy, would understand that. This time it just happened to be about how funny it would be if she were raped. (OR IF SHE HAD ALREADY GOTTEN RAPED, TO BE FAIR.)
Masada says that the woman then sat through the rest of Tosh’s set — which received a standing ovation — before complaining to the manager about Tosh’s joke. The manager apologized, Masada says, and offered her tickets to come back to the Laugh Factory for another performance, which she accepted.
“If you’re offended why would you take a couple tickets to come back to the club again?” he says. “If you were offended, how about the rest of the audience” — 280 people total — “who’s giving a standing ovation?”
“If you were offended, how about the rest of the audience who’s giving a standing ovation?” is possibly one of my favorite nonsense quotes of all time. It’s almost so perfect that I don’t want to ruin it by talking about it. (Just kidding. I don’t want to ruin it by talking about it because I would like to Men In Black this whole thing from my brain.) Clearly, though, IF YOU LOOK AT THE HISTORY BOOKS, things have only ever been proven wrong or offensive if everyone, from the very beginning, agreed that they were wrong and offensive, and no one ever liked them or benefitted from them at all. Those are the only times. The “audience giving the standing ovation,” so to speak, has never proven to be wrong about anything. And also everyone who has ever taken two free tickets because the Laugh Factory refused to actually just give them their money back is just a lying bitch who actually enjoys when an audience is asked how funny it’d be if she were raped. How could she not, though, really? The rest of the audience, who’s giving a standing ovation!
“I know his character,” Masada continues. “He was trying to make everybody laugh. He was so sweet to find out one person was insulted to apologize about it.”
Daniel Tosh tweeted an “apology” to his Twitter followers, NOT the girl, making sure to note that he was only pointing out that one can find humor even in life’s darkest moments, and also it was taken out of context, and also she was heckling him. So sweet. Just the sweetest sweetheart.
“If this is hurtful — this is a comedy club. They don’t mean any harm,” Masada says. “If you don’t want to get insulted don’t go to comedy clubs.”
BOOM. Drop the mic. Fuck this dummy. Fuck Daniel Tosh. Let’s all try to have a nice day.