I do not care for Tosh.0. I think it is inane drivel, and its source material, i.e. popular internet vids of mostly people engaged in epic fails, is weak, and contributes to the overall distastefulness of the series. But I love Daniel Tosh‘s stand-up comedy from his pre-Tosh.0 days, having heard him on the Bob and Tom radio show. As such, I was hopeful that Tosh’s special on Comedy Central last night, Happy Thoughts, would bring some of that same great humor.
Boy does it ever! The special gets a slow start. The first 20 minutes, riffing on illegal immigrants, and how they should serve exclusively on juries so it really will be a jury of their peers, is only slightly amusing. It earns a few grins, but not any LOLs from me. Then Tosh turns really offensive. He wants a T-shirt that says “I Heart Abortion” on the front, with a fetus heart, and “Problem Solved” on the back. He talks about how he has the power in his relationship, and that his girlfriend isn’t competing with just one skank he might sleep with, but every skank. He also talks of pranking his sister by replacing her pepper spray with silly string, which later causes her to get raped, but at least she was also pranked really good.
Admittedly, all of those jokes I just mentioned are beyond off color. Rape and abortion are not humorous topics, and I expect many people to be offended by such wit. I would certainly never admit to finding the material funny. Except, as a TV reviewer covering the special, I have to, because they are. Tosh has a delivery that allows him to get away with saying such nasty things. There’s a glimmer in his eye saying, yeah, I’m going there, try to stop me. Not only that, he goes so over the top, you just know his stories aren’t true, and so it’s less of a shock.
I am a firm believer that humor can be found in anything, and often must be for people to get past tragedies. Tosh takes those dark things and finds a way to present them in a bizarre, laughable manner. I will not be repeating any of his material in front of my friends, lest they no longer want anything to do with me. I don’t have the same ineffable quality that allows Tosh to get away with it. Like most people, I would be seen as a monster for saying the things he whips out with delight. But with Tosh, it’s more than just acceptable. It’s a riot!
Just don’t tell your friends you find him funny. Unless your friends are binge drinking college guys. Then you’ll probably be OK.