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Where is the line on humour? --Daniel Tosh controversy --

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#31
Fuzz

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Rape is not funny. Some rape jokes can be. His was not. Done.
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#32
Trotsky

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My view on this is pretty simple; the masses will be judge and jury and people will generally collectively decide whether this is forgivable or not. For example, in Michael Richards' case, his racist rant pretty much resulted in career suicide. Whether this has similar results for Tosh, we can't really know yet. That is nearly always the case - the "line" is a matter of consensus. Either Tosh will keep his fanbase and his career after this or he won't, what he deserves on the other hand is just a matter of personal opinion.

And my own opinion is that I have empathy for the woman who was targeted as well as people who are bothered by this, though personally I don't have any visceral reaction to this whatsoever; I am quite desensitized and I am rarely shocked by anything at all.

I am of course of the opinion even the worst shock humor should be legally protected, but that is quite different than saying people have to appreciate it. And that's about it. I don't think is any wisdom any of us can add. It is what it is.

#33
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RAPE IS NOT FUNNY AND A SERIOUS ISSUE.


Yeah, and so is everything else in the world. That doesn't mean it should be off-limits for comedy.
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#34
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i think you can joke about anything. there is no line on humour (sometimes the most racist/darkest jokes are the funniest). as long as you only joke about it (and not actually kill babies/rape people/hate blacks and jews), it's not an issue. if i were a comedian, i would tell a rape joke if i knew a good one, but that one (the one from daniel tosh) was pretty shitty.

#35
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To tell the truth, I usually like black humor (yeah, I know, I'm a horrible person and I should rot in Hell and bla bla bla), but I totally agree with Fuzz. Rape is not funny at all, but black humor consists in making jokes about things that otherwise would be (and that actually are) taboo to make fun of. Some jokes are funny and some are not, though, and this is not.

#36
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I think there's a difference between making fun of something/someone or making comedy about something.

That comeback directed at a specific audience member goes, to me, too far and is way out of line (and not very funny either if it had been appropriate), but making rape jokes is in my eyes not necessarily bad or off-limits, as long as it's not done with the intention or direct result of marginalizing it. Rape jokes in general can be funny, I guess (can't say I've ever heard a rape joke), but not when they are directed at someone. Just because it's a sensitive and serious issue doesn't mean you can't make jokes about it.

that said I never thought that that Tosh guy was funny at all and I wouldn't mind it at all if this wrecked his career. so comedy central can broadcast good shows instead of that show of his.

#37
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I think the funniest comedy does come from stuff that are "serious issues" - politics, crime, people's emotions and conversation, taboos...

To be honest I don't find non serious comedy that amusing... slapstick for example. Comedy for me has to involve some from of wit or sarcasm which is usually going to hurt someone's feelings...

In this case, however, the comeback was not at all funny...
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#38
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Didn't Daniel just make a comment and not actually a joke? When he was being heckled? I don't think his comment was a joke in the sense that he thought it up beforehand and planned to say it, but he was just making light of something, which is totally acceptable IMO. Condoning bad things is not the same as making fun of them.

Okay, okay, so no, heckling does not give you the right to make fun of rape - but being a comedian does. I'm not trying to sound edgy or off colour or anything but I seriously believe that either everything is okay or nothing is. Comedians have been doing offensive shit for years and years now, and it's pathetic that I've seen this whole incident being likened to what Michael Richards did back in 2007. The only thing similar betwen those two situations is that they were comedians being caught off gaurd, except one is just that - a comedian - and the other is a blantant racist.

If you were personally affected by something so awful such as rape and you are at a comedy club and you shout out something like "OH NO DON'T TALK ABOUT RAPE THAT'S SCARY NO NONO!!" you are in no position to be surprised or offended when the comedian (who isn't known for his G-rated humor, btw) brings up, of all things, rape! Whether you find his comedy funny or not is pretty irrelevant because that's subjective. I don't really find what he said funny, but not because of what he's talking about. Again, I'm not saying that anybody ever has the right to legitimately make fun of rape or abuse or anything terrible like that, but you should not take comedy seriously to the point where it offends you.

Was he being a jerk? In my opinion, yeah, that's kind of a dicky thing to say, but he's a comedian and everybody is well aware of his style so I'm not shocked. Should we be concerned or super angry at him? No, not all. This whole thing ties in with the trans shit that's been going on about Laci Green (but that's another story) and I feel like we put way too much faith in words and their ability to hurt us.



So in other words, just simply because he's a comedian means that it's perfectly appropriate for him to say that it'd be funny if a woman in his audience THAT HAD EXPRESSED DISCOMFORT WITH RAPE JOKES was violently sexually assaulted by five men? Your sense of humor is fascinating.

Edited by xJackyx, 12 July 2012 - 02:14 PM.


#39
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Please don't use "victim blame" while making it seem like I somehow blamed victims for their rape, because that is what you are doing and that is not what I think and it is ridiculous. I'm not going to type up a big post, I'm just gonna say this: You think it's not okay to make fun of everything. I think it is okay to make fun of everything. I've already posted my thoughts on this situation in further detail so that is all I've got to say.

You said, a rape victim was not entitled to be upset about rape jokes. You said, they shouldn't be offended, which means, if they are offended, it's their own fault. This is where you put blame on them. You put the responsibility on them to deal with the consequences of something they had no choice of going through, instead of asking for just a little decency of people, who could just renounce from making a joke.

I mean, how important can it be to make a joke? I don't mean the opportunity to make a joke without getting censored or punished, that's very important and part of the right to freedom of speech. But on a personal level. How important can it be for this man to say this to a woman, who he doesn't know of, if she was a rape survivor or not. Or actually to anyone. Those lines would just scare the shit out of me and I don't get, why he should not be called a complete asshole about it. I really wished, someone would have gone over to him and punched him in the face for saying something like that. But that of course, would have been forbidden by law. As if only physical acts of violence could hurt a person.
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#40
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Rape jokes are all the same, in the sense they all follow the same formula: imply rape can be funny, bait a response from someone who is offended, and the humor is supposed to be that a predictable response was successfully forced. For example, there is the often quoted "rape isn't funny unless there is a clown involved", which of course there is nothing inherently humorous about that statement unless one finds humor in the absurdity of it, but the actual point of that "joke" is to cause some to react to it.

Of course the problem is that you can trigger people, and some people are callous and are not capable or not willing to distinguish between things that it is unreasonable to be bothered by and things that are reasonable. I would say though, humor about rape can be distinguished and separated from other forms of black humor, because rape is so prevelant and in some ways is an epidemic, where if you make a joke about serial killers, there is only a very, very small part of the population that have personal experiences with their loved ones being victims of serial killers. On the other hand, in any given room full of people, there is a very good chance that at least one has been a victim of some form of sexual assault, and an equally good chance they still have traumatic symptoms because of it that.

In some ways, a very similar thing would have not resulted in a controversy at all, for example, if the person in the audience was a man and Tosh said "Wouldn't it be funny if 5 people in the audience just beat this guy to death right now?", I don't think anyone would say anything. I suppose though, that is the difference, that shock comedy is more acceptable if it is unrealistic or past the border of realism, for example George Carlin saying to a heckler "If you have kids I hope they die in a car fire", these scenarios are deliberately ridiculous, whereas people are raped every day and it is not hard to imagine a rape victim would feel extremely uncomfortable after such a threat as actually happened here.
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#41
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Rape jokes are all the same, in the sense they all follow the same formula: imply rape can be funny, bait a response from someone who is offended, and the humor is supposed to be that a predictable response was successfully forced. For example, there is the often quoted "rape isn't funny unless there is a clown involved", which of course there is nothing inherently humorous about that statement unless one finds humor in the absurdity of it, but the actual point of that "joke" is to cause some to react to it.

Of course the problem is that you can trigger people, and some people are callous and are not capable or not willing to distinguish between things that it is unreasonable to be bothered by and things that are reasonable. I would say though, humor about rape can be distinguished and separated from other forms of black humor, because rape is so prevelant and in some ways is an epidemic, where if you make a joke about serial killers, there is only a very, very small part of the population that have personal experiences with their loved ones being victims of serial killers. On the other hand, in any given room full of people, there is a very good chance that at least one has been a victim of some form of sexual assault, and an equally good chance they still have traumatic symptoms because of it that.

In some ways, a very similar thing would have not resulted in a controversy at all, for example, if the person in the audience was a man and Tosh said "Wouldn't it be funny if 5 people in the audience just beat this guy to death right now?", I don't think anyone would say anything. I suppose though, that is the difference, that shock comedy is more acceptable if it is unrealistic or past the border of realism, for example George Carlin saying to a heckler "If you have kids I hope they die in a car fire", these scenarios are deliberately ridiculous, whereas people are raped every day and it is not hard to imagine a rape victim would feel extremely uncomfortable after such a threat as actually happened here.



You said everything I think. As such, his original 'joke' on rape, while not necessarily 'humorous', did not cross the line. The comeback A. is completely unwarranted B. is unbelievably offensive C. is dangerous, because as you said, he doesn't know whether a given audience member has been a victim of sexual assault and D. would have been completely appropriate (or at least okay) had it been in relation to just about any other topic.

#42
captain peroxide

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Another aspect of this issue is that heckling is just not a good way to react to something that bothers you about a comic's routine. If you don't like the show, leave. Of course this woman is entitled to her opinion and her discomfort at whatever joke he made, but speaking up like that during the show will usually only cause things to escalate and get worse. A comic is not the type of person who's going to say, halfway through their act, "gosh, you're right, I'll never do that bit again." That doesn't excuse Tosh's response, but some kind of escalation is pretty par for the course if you interrupt.
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#43
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Michael Richards had the decency to apologize.

Daniel was being a straight up asshole and went too far with his comeback.

#44
Floyd Pinkerton

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Was this fuck up televised? On one hand I hope not, simply for trigger reasons. But on the other hand I hope so, because enough people would get pissed off that his ratings/number of viewers would go straight in the shitter.

#45
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Was this fuck up televised? On one hand I hope not, simply for trigger reasons. But on the other hand I hope so, because enough people would get pissed off that his ratings/number of viewers would go straight in the shitter.


Probably not, I think it was just a normal comedy event, though in all likelihood film of it will pop up sooner or later.

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#46
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Was this fuck up televised? On one hand I hope not, simply for trigger reasons.


While I'm not trying to diminish the seriousness of the possibility of triggering someone, rape is not the only thing in the world that triggers negative reactions or flashbacks. War, for example, could do the same thing to veterans, but war films are commonly shown on TV, and comedy routines about war are not censored for fear of triggering someone.
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#47
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So I'm here tumblin' and apparently Daniel Tosh has made a joke about rape. I don't know what he said or when/why/whatever but it got me thinking about what is never not okay to joke about. I also feel like this has been done before but whatever.

South Park are well known for taking things that you just do not joke about, and joking about them. And doing it successfully, IMO.

Anyway, a quick google search gets me this link



Fucking disgusting that you would say that to someone tbh.


I have seen Tosh at the Laugh Factory so many times. Before he ever had his show, when he was begging the promoters to get on stage and he has been making that very joke for 4-5 years.

That said, what he said to the heckler was wrong but if you are going to heckle Tosh, you should be ready for what you get. Not defending what he said but

NEVER CENSOR is something we should live by. It's one of the few freedoms we still have. If we censor something, that where does it end?

Anyhow, let Carlin lead me out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUVjZPVj1Pk

Posted Image

Yeah, and so is everything else in the world. That doesn't mean it should be off-limits for comedy.


+500000 bro. Well said.
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#48
Trotsky

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Difference is, Carlin was also implying that rapists are scum and people who defend rapists are scum and their excuses are full of shit, context matters.

Also he pretty much said what I argued earlier, that if you apply a ridiculous concept or exaggeration, then the black humor becomes harmless, like his example "picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd".

#49
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Difference is, Carlin was also implying that rapists are scum and people who defend rapists are scum and their excuses are full of shit, context matters.


He said context matters but he doesn't imply not would he imply (if he was alive) that we should censor it.

Out of all the people in the world, Carlin is in the top 1% of non-censorists. <-- I made up that word.

EDIT: It's important to understand here that nobody, including DT are "people who defend rapists". That's a different thing than making a joke, either bad or good, about rape.

Let me give you an example of something Tosh does at his shows:

He looks around and he whispers in to the mic "are there any black people here"? At the LF, usually there are about 5-10 on a Tuesday night when he usually plays. He then looks at one person, usually a girl for some reason and he says "Black people...you know what im talking about...yeah black people" with super long pauses and makes everyone very uncomfortable and it always ends up turning in to hysterical laughter.

Daniel Tosh is not a racist. He jokes about being one but he's not. And honestly, when he does his racist bits there usually pretty fucking funny. He's not a racist and he's not a rapist but he jokes about both. Nobody in the entire world actually thought Tosh was serious when he said "Would't it be funny if we all raped her right now" after the heckle and is not even out of line for the LF, the story just snagged is all. It happens all the time at comedy clubs.

Unfortunately for him, the joke wasn't funny.

You won't find many pro-rape people.

#50
Trotsky

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NEVER CENSOR is something we should live by.


Also, if anyone here wants to say Tosh should be arrested or comedy routines should be policed and censored, I will be glad to lay into them and argue them straight to death.

Thing is, I can still defend absolute freedom of speech, and also agree with the people who are outraged that Tosh was being a complete asshole and his comment was extremely vile and degrading.
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#51
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Was this fuck up televised? On one hand I hope not, simply for trigger reasons. But on the other hand I hope so, because enough people would get pissed off that his ratings/number of viewers would go straight in the shitter.

While I'm not trying to diminish the seriousness of the possibility of triggering someone, rape is not the only thing in the world that triggers negative reactions or flashbacks. War, for example, could do the same thing to veterans, but war films are commonly shown on TV, and comedy routines about war are not censored for fear of triggering someone.


Or TV shows like Law & Order SVU (I think that's what the sexual crimes one is called). It's about rape, and it could trigger someone, but I don't see people making a huge deal about it, on the contrary, it is quite a popular TV show.

As I (and some other people on this thread) have said, I think the difference here is that it was said as an "attack" directed at someone in particular, and someone who had expressed being unconfortable with rape jokes, and it wasn't phrased in a way that sounded completelly illogical, and therefore harmeless (like for example, "wouldn't it be funny if a bunch of kittens or LOL cats just came in here and rape that girl", then probably no one would be making a big deal ut of it), and ultimatelly, it wasn't even funny.

#52
Trotsky

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He said context matters but he doesn't imply not would he imply (if he was alive) that we should censor it.


I don't think anyone here has argued in favor of censorship though. I certainly haven't. Now if the owner of the comedy club wants to ban Tosh, or if Comedy Central wants to fire him because people are pissed, that is their right as the people who own the venues and shows. However, I would be adamantly opposed to any sort of criminal charges or state enforcement of censorship against rape jokes.

#53
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I don't think anyone here has argued in favor of censorship though. I certainly haven't. Now if the owner of the comedy club wants to ban Tosh, or if Comedy Central wants to fire him because people are pissed, that is their right as the people who own the venues and shows. However, I would be adamantly opposed to any sort of criminal charges or state enforcement of censorship against rape jokes.


It certainly would be within the right of Comedy Central or The Laugh Factory to ban him if they so desired but those are both two places in which censorship would be frowned upon and it might be a bad idea to do.

The Michael Richard "n-word" incident happened at the very same venue BTW and he WAS banned but that was a different scenario IMO. Very different.

#54
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Well also, and let's be clear, Richards did not get in trouble for saying "nigger", he got in trouble for saying it multiple times in a blatantly racist context and implying the black heckler should be lynched. This is actually quite similar, both half-seriously responded to heckling by implying they could incite the audience to extreme violence against the person.

Also, since when is Comedy Central anti-censorship, you can't even get a DVD of an uncensored South Park "200" and "201", but that is a whole different debate I guess.

#55
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HOLLYWOOD, CA—Embroiled in controversy following comments he made during a recent performance at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, comedian Daniel Tosh chuckled this afternoon while being violently raped by a group of men in a Hollywood alley. "You have to admit, this is pretty hilarious," said the teary-eyed 37-year-old, his bloodied face slamming against a brick wall as he was brutally and repeatedly penetrated against his will for the 53rd straight minute. "Sure, I'll be forever tormented by images of my attackers tearing off my pants and holding a knife against my throat as they viciously tear into my rectum, but c'mon, you gotta have a sense of humor about this sort of thing." As of press time, sources said a disheveled Tosh checked into a nearby treatment center, where he quietly smirked after being diagnosed with HIV.http://www.theonion.com/static/onion/img...




Edited by smorganie, 12 July 2012 - 06:06 PM.


#56
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Well also, and let's be clear, Richards did not get in trouble for saying "nigger", he got in trouble for saying it multiple times in a blatantly racist context and implying the black heckler should be lynched. This is actually quite similar, both half-seriously responded to heckling by implying they could incite the audience to extreme violence against the person.

Also, since when is Comedy Central anti-censorship, you can't even get a DVD of an uncensored South Park "200" and "201", but that is a whole different debate I guess.


What? NO.

Yes, Michael Richards got banned for using the n-word in an angry racist way, almost not even trying to be funny.

There is so much difference between what and the way that Michael Richards said compared to what Tosh said that for you to equate them makes me think you and I will NEVER see on the same plane in this discussion.



And Comedy Central has been anti-censorship since Debbie Liebling brought South Park over to a basic cable station and allowed them to do whatever the fuck they wanted. (with some exception)

#57
Trotsky

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Ah, the Onion. Though in my opinion, it is not just satirizing Tosh but also the people calling for his blood either metaphorically or literally. Stories like this kind of just bring out the worst in everyone. Tosh's defenders are all over the internet being complete twats and I have heard quite a lot of comments over the last day calling for Tosh to be raped. I'm actually quite impressed with GDC for being so civil.

What? NO.

Yes, Michael Richards got banned for using the n-word in an angry racist way, almost not even trying to be funny.

There is so much difference between what and the way that Michael Richards said compared to what Tosh said that for you to equate them makes me think you and I will NEVER see on the same plane in this discussion.


Michael Richards said to the black heckler (paraphrasing) "Back in the day we would have lynched you, fucking nigger." And Tosh said "Wouldn't it be funny if this woman got raped by 5 people right now?"

Both of them were, jokingly, calling for violence against the heckler. It would be pretty idiotic to say one is worse than the other.

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crock6000

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Ah, the Onion. Though in my opinion, it is not just satirizing Tosh but also the people calling for his blood either metaphorically or literally. Stories like this kind of just bring out the worst in everyone. Tosh's defenders are all over the internet being complete twats and I have heard quite a lot of comments over the last day calling for Tosh to be raped. I'm actually quite impressed with GDC for being so civil.



Michael Richards said to the black heckler (paraphrasing) "Back in the day we would have lynched you, fucking nigger." And Tosh said "Wouldn't it be funny if this woman got raped by 5 people right now?"

Both of them were, jokingly, calling for violence against the heckler. It would be pretty idiotic to say one is worse than the other.


No need to paraphrase. Here is the Michael Richards rant and it's not even the same sport as what Tosh did.

I don't even much care for Tosh. I'm not defending his bad joke. I just think actual perspective is important.


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So what is the difference, apart from the fact that Richards' rant was apparently a lot longer?

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So what is the difference, apart from the fact that Richards' rant was apparently a lot longer?


What's the difference? In a word "vitriol"

Here is an experiment for you to try.

Next time you're hanging with your friends on Siesta Key (assuming some are white and some aren't) go ahead and make a joke about any one of them being a rapist (and being obvious that you don't really think he's a rapist). Even if he doesn't think you're funny, at worst he'll just think you're an asshole.

Second scenario, go on a rant to your black friend (yelling like Richards was) calling him an n-word over and over and joke about lynching him. Then when you are able to type again, which could be months, come back and type what you think the difference is.

Daniel Tosh said what he said in the context of a joke, Richards did not. He was angry and using the N-word. Very different.

EDIT: And it's important to note as I said earlier, that the jokes that were offending her Tosh has been using in his stand up for years. If you don't like Tosh, you don't go see him. I personally, again, don't like Tosh but this is not an impeachable offense. It just got to places it shouldn't have.
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