Douche.0: Daniel Tosh digs rape jokes, proposes a female audience member be raped

The un-bylined author of the Cookies for Breakfast tumblog publishes the story of two female friends attending a standup performance by Daniel Tosh, host of the notably unfunny Comedy Central show Tosh.0, in which the comedian made some stupid rape jokes. Not that there are any other kind of rape jokes.

“Actually, rape jokes are never funny!,” the woman in the published account says she replied from the audience.

Snip from her version of what followed:

I did it because, even though being “disruptive” is against my nature, I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman. I don’t sit there while someone tells me how I should feel about something as profound and damaging as rape.

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…” and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.

Now, proposing that an audience member sitting right in front of you in a crowd of mostly men "get raped by, like, 5 guys right now" is in my opinion a whole lot heavier than letting a few random rape jokes drop in your lame standup act. Not that rape jokes are lulzy. But, Christ, what an asshole.

By way of this non-apology, Tosh appears to confirm the woman's story:

More coverage around the web: The Atlantic, Jezebel, Videogum, ThinkProgress, Feminists for Choice.

The video above, and many others like it, and the dude's entire body of work show that this kind of stuff is hardly out of character for Mr. Tosh.

Jamie Frevele says:

Never liked the guy.


  1. You gotta know when what you’re saying or about to say is complete and utter fucking BULLSHIT.  Even a comedian.

  2. Wow, what’s even sadder about that video is that they have to add a laugh track to a live performance…but, yeah, same thoughts here, never thought the guy was funny to begin with. Not sure how he’s stayed around as long as he has to be honest.

    1. “Comedy Central,” does this to all specials it airs. There is a Mitch Hedberg DVD out there that presents the “as aired” show with the laugh track bellowing every few beats, and the raw live show where the laughter wasn’t so great.

      Which is not to say Mitch Hedberg wasn’t a great talent, but laugh tracks are still quite common.

  3. Barely heard of the guy, but, damn, that first video joking about his sister being raped is not only unfunny, but pretty disgusting.

  4. if he really has strong social anxiety, he might have felt a life-or-death impulse to deflect the criticism in any way possible.

    this isn’t a defense. mitch hedburg (rip) had it worse, and was a much better comedian. it’s just an observation.

  5. Confidential to all invoking the First Amendment: Having a right to say whatever you want isn’t a shield against criticism if you say something idiotic.

    1.  In fact, the First Amendment isn’t even a law that says you have the right to say whatever you want. See 10th Amendment and subsequent obscenity and defamation cases. There’s plenty! :)

  6.  I can’t speak speak to the specific incident the woman was talking about, though undoubtedly Tosh’s primary concern at that time was to avoid further disruptions and keep the room.

    As for the two clips posted, I actually found the first clip fairly funny. He isn’t joking about rape, he’s joking that him and his friends are so degenerate that rape is the source of a practical joke.

    As for the second it’s a bit more borderline, but he’s pointing out how there is a hypocrisy in people pretending to be better people than they are by denying that they find an inappropriate situation funny.

    If you got rid of all the inappropriate jokes then there wouldn’t be a lot of comedy around.

  7. I’m more surprised that someone could go see Daniel Tosh and act shocked at hearing such.  The guy has a weekly show that’s endlessly rebroadcast–not like it’s hard to know there’s a high probability he’ll say something dumb and offensive.

    1. If you read the post, she explains that she didn’t “go see Daniel Tosh.” She went to see Dane Cook, and Tosh was on the same bill. Now, going to see a Dane Cook show where Dane Cook comes out looking classy? That’s quite a feat. My hat is off to Mr. Tosh.

    1.  I think the Carreon debacle is proof enough that not all press is good press.

      This could easily be one of those cases to a person who already has a crappy-ass show. I didn’t even know people watched it still. Even RWJ is better.

  8. It’s “political correctness” to suggest that it’s wrong to say that rape is funny, and then when someone says “Actually, no it’s not” to then basically threaten them and make fun of the idea of that person being gang raped in the room that it’s going too far? Seriously? That’s “Political correctness”?

  9.  “Anyone going to his standup should have known this already.”

    Oh please. I’ve gone to standup nights where I had no idea who was going to be one stage — friends just say, “we’re going to hear some comedy — wanna come?”. Besides, putting the onus on the audience to vet a performer’s entire professional history is just as ludicrous as calling someone finding rape jokes unfunny “hypocritical political correctness”.

    This isn’t about “a joke that went a bit too far”. This is about something that wasn’t a joke in the first place getting posed as one.

    Change “rape” to “castrate” in all the “jokes” and maybe you’ll start to understand. Or not.

  10. “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now?”

    That is just the sort of thing someone who doesn’t think actual rape is funny would say!

  11. The 1st amendment cannot prevent you from being booed and shunned if the speech you choose to utter reveals you to be a repugnant asshole and/or hurts the people around you.

    Boo to that asshole. I hope his live shows are shunned.

  12. To me, this is less about the subject of the joke and more about how incredibly ham-fistedly Tosh has handled himself, both in the midst of and after the joke. It is indeed possible to tell hilarious jokes about awful things (i.e., South Park). However, a joke about something awful isn’t innately funny just because it’s a joke about an un-PC subject. I wish more people understood how much talent it takes to tell funny jokes about terrible things. Louis CK and the writers of South Park have this talent. Tosh should keep rehearsing.

  13. Again, rape isn’t funny, but the guy does have free speech.

    !?!?!? What does “free speech” have to do with one person expressing their opinion about someone else’s comedy act?

    Do you understand the concept of freedom of speech: It’s about THE GOVERNMENT getting in the way of a citizen expressing their opinions & ideas. Is there legislation out there designed to ban comedy acts like this? No. And that’s 100% great! Because the same freedoms that allow Daniel Tosh to express is wretched comedy also afford anyone the freedom to speak out against him.

    That said, I have to counter what Xeni says:

    …he made some stupid rape jokes. Not that there are any other kind of rape jokes.

    Nonsense! What about if the ghost of Hitler appeared on stage and raped a bad comedian up the up the butt with a dildo & then suddenly Einstein appeared & said, “I have a theory about this guy being raped up the butt… It’s hilarious!” Now that is a non-stupid rape joke right there.

  14. believe me, i’m not upset about the story and even think the reaction is a bit extreme.

    it’s just unfortunate that people think the bill of rights is some sort of moral prescription, rather than a charter for federal government. i guess that’s what happens when you gut civics from public education.

    i’m just planting some seeds here.

  15. Yes, this is an important point, the amendment is protect you from government persecution. As the kids say, “it’s a free country”, but private citizens/venues/companies usually can (with some exceptions) punish people who say things they shouldn’t, or at least refuse to do business with them, which is a reasonable request here: Venues and Cable TV shows: stop showing this guy’s act!

    Now, concerning broadcast TV and radio, which has probably come up in some discussions of TV comedy (though not SouthPark) that’s a point of weirdness. The US government regulates radio spectrum as a limited public resource (good). It does also regulate the content allowed to be broadcast on that spectrum. I think that is as obviously unconstitutional as unconstitutional gets, but I am not a lawyer and US courts disagree with me, so just put that it in the category of national hypocrisy. More severe, in my opinion, than a lot of the ones we talk about, but it’s not a pressing issue for most people.

  16. “Change “rape” to “castrate” in all the “jokes” and maybe you’ll start to understand. Or not.”

    Yeah – I imagine “or not” is the correct answer, as then the poor offended guy would start whining about those oppressive “feminazis”.

  17. Alas, I’m pretty convinced noone who doesn’t get it wrt rape jokes would get any closer by replacing castration; castration is not a present threat for most males; while rape is in fact a risk factor too many women (inter alia) have to stay aware of at all times. Putting your head in a non-privileged mindset is not trivial, and I do not know of any metaphor that really drives it home enough.

    The above formulated from the point of view of someone (me) who hits almost all the privilege majority properties, but at least tries to be an ally…

  18. The parent comment was removed, but I think it was something to the effect that this shouldn’t have been shocking unless you were completely unaware of who Tosh is as a comedian.  You can’t defend Tosh’s comments much as anyone that speaks ignorance, but you should temper your anger a bit when the victim, if a more informed consumer, would know that this was not going to be their liking.  People that attend these shows know what they are getting into and are on board with his brand of shock.  If I took my grandmother to a GG Allin concert—would I be entitled to complain that I was subjected to filth? 

  19. at college, someone advertised a show with fliers depicting a line drawing of a cock-and-balls being cut off with scissors. a lot of other guys found it very threatening (although they’re not allowed to say it in those words, it was obvious). i found it kind of funny in how over-the-top it was.

    some rape jokes are funny; some castration jokes are funny. it just takes a lot finesse and context, and most people probably shouldn’t bother with either. 99% of everything is crap and all that.

  20. To tack on to what you’ve said which is 100% true,  the 1st amendment to which some are referring only applies to speech that redresses the government.

    Venues could easily ban him for content and victims, if given powerful enough evidence, could use the 10th amendment legalese for their lawsuit and site “obscenity” as their bedrock.

    I’m not saying that they’d ever take up such a lawsuit or that it’s even advisable when you can just shrug it off, but people thinking that the 1st Amendment is some bastion of security for speech are a bit misled.

  21. Nah I think it’s about the subject of the joke mostly. I could be wrong, but somebody name for me any rape joke that people have been okay with. Not taking a side either way, but I really can’t think of one.

  22. Yeah, and isn’t an audience member shouting out something at a comedian free speech too? And isn’t posting the story here on Boing Boing to raise awareness of what a creep Tosh is personally and to show how pervasive rape culture sometimes is also free speech as well.

  23.  Not castration.

    Instead, being stalked by groups anonymous murderers from the internet.  “Hey, wouldn’t it be funny if Tosh…” etc.

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