09 7 / 2012
This is something that happened to a friend of mine in her own words.
“So, on Friday night my friend and I were at her house and wanted to get out and do something for the evening. We brainstormed ideas and she brought up the idea of seeing a show at the Laugh Factory. I’d never been, I thought it sounded fun, so we went. We saw that Dane Cook, along some other names we didn’t recognize we’re playing, and while we both agree that Cook’s style is not really our taste we were opened-minded about what the others had to offer. And we figured even good ol’ Dane can be funny sometimes, even if it’s not really our thing. Anyhoo, his act was actually fine, but then when his was done, some other guy I didn’t recognize took the stage. Of course, I would find out later this was Daniel Tosh, but at the time I thought he was just some yahoo who somehow got a gig going on after Cook. I honestly thought he was an amateur because he didn’t seem that comfortable on stage and seemed to have a really awkward presence.
So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”
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 in the lobby, I spoke with the girl at the will-call desk, and demanded to see the manager. The manager on duty quickly came out to speak with me, and she was profusely apologetic, and seemed genuinely sorry about what had happened, but of course we received no refund for our tickets, but instead a comped pair of tickets, although she admitted she understood if we never wanted to come back. I can imagine the Laugh Factory doesn’t really have a policy in place for what happens when a woman has to leave in a hurry because the person onstage is hurling violent words about sexual violence at her. Although maybe I’m not the first girl to have that happen to her.
I should probably add that having to basically flee while Tosh was enthusing about how hilarious it would be if I was gang-raped in that small, claustrophic room was pretty viscerally terrifying and threatening all the same, even if the actual scenario was unlikely to take place. The suggestion of it is violent enough and was meant to put me in my place.”
Please reblog and spread the word.
Okay, I’m going to reblog this with sympathy. HOWEVER, I don’t think Daniel Tosh’s stage persona reflects his actual feelings on the matter. He’s supposed to come across as a meatheaded douchebro.
This may have been a bridge too far, but it’s not inconsistent with his past material, and without hearing the actual performance that set this off, I can’t be sure he wasn’t satirizing rape culture (as opposed to trivializing it for comedic effect).
I hate having to get serious on here, but please spare me from the Daniel Tosh defense. This is terrible.
There are literally a million other things Daniel Tosh could “satirize”, but he decided that making fun of the idea of rape culture and joking about a violent crime happening to a stranger in the room was the way to go. I’ve seen musicians and comics come back at hecklers, whether it was Mark Lanegan telling someone “do I go down to the 7-Eleven and unplug the slurpee machine when you’re working?” or Patton Oswalt ripping into a guy who answered his phone in the front row mid-set, and NONE of them had to threaten bodily harm to the member. Daniel Tosh went for the easy dude-oriented laugh and probably alienated every woman in that room.
This is fucking horrifying.
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