Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#105. Daniel Tosh of Tosh.0

Comedy Central has long been the channel dedicated to entertaining college students. Some might say college is actually four years of watching Comedy Central programming in between attending the classes.

Tosh.0: Is it racist?
South Park, The Daily Show, Reno 911 and The Colbert Show are all programs that are on constantly in a college dorm room. For two scandalous seasons, The Chappelle Show became the number one cultural phenomenon on campus until Dave Chappelle realized that his program was making white people feel that it was okay to laugh at Black people.

Stuff White People Like (SWPL) white people love Comedy Central because they love pop culture.All shows on the channel reward those viewers who stay abreast of trends and fads, though no show does this with greater intensity than does Tosh.0.

Starring comedian Daniel Tosh, the show features popular Internet videos and Tosh’s signature strange brand of dark humor laced with devastating social commentary in a program vastly more popular than other comedy channel programming.Constantly pushing the proverbial envelope of acceptable comedic discourse, Tosh has a creative license to thrill his audience with the kind of forbidden humor that Dave Chappelle abandoned back in 2004; i.e., Tosh makes fun of Black people.

Now, we know why Black people don’t like jokes at their expense, but Tosh has profited off of the plethora of hilarious clips on YouTube featuring Black people in compromising and stereotypically Black  situations. He was the first person shrewd enough to use Internet footage of Black people walking through everyday Black life, using the situations as found objects around which he created a comedy show that spotlights these tragically Black moments.

His show continues to grow in popularity, destroying Colbert and The Daily Show (Jon Stewart) in the process. The problem is where his popularity is growing:
The episode of “Tosh.0” that aired Aug. 4, for instance, was the most watched show on all TV in the men’s 18-24 and 18-34 demographics, according to Comedy Central. And the “Tosh.0” blog is drawing eyes as well: It is the third most popular among Comedy Central’s digital sites, behind “South Park” and “The Daily Show.”

Comedy Central makes most of its headlines from the rapier-like satire of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report,” the demented mirth generated by “South Park” and “Futurama” and a bevy of stand-up specials. But the cable net may have another flagship program in its port, and perhaps even for the long term. “Tosh.0” is finishing ahead of Stewart and Colbert, and currently is Comedy Central’s No. 3 rated show, behind only “South Park” and “Futurama.”

“ ‘Tosh,’ for example, drew just 2.65 million viewers overall (for the episode that aired July 28) but stood as the No. 3 show on all of television — broadcast and cable — among men 18-34, behind only ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘True Blood.’ Comedy Central has good reason to believe it has found its next star.”

Tosh is basically the comedic equivalent of a professional wrestler (a sport he might make fun of, but obviously loves). He has created an on-screen persona, one that is smarmy and pretentious, exceedingly arrogant, socially conscious yet socially unrefined, incredibly self-deprecating. He plays this exceptionally well, leaving people and viewers mystified as to his sexuality and feelings on race. In fact, Tosh plays a stereotypical SWPL white person to perfection; but in moments of hilarity, the untouchable white person sneaks out.

After all, he’s a white dude that has no problem making fun of Black people. I In his sidesplitting “Is it racist?” skits, Tosh shows videos of hilariously inappropriate Black moments and ask the viewer to answer that question.

He has given such classic YouTube Black sensations as the “Black guy who dances and gets hit by an Ice Cream Truck” the opportunity for a “Web Redemption,” thereby offering the Black person an opportunity to redeem themselves.

Imagine SWPL white people and untouchable whites as two categories in a Venn diagram. For the most part, both groups have no overlapping commonalities.  But one thing both groups enjoy is laughing at Black people. (SWPL do it privately and feel bad for it; untouchable whites have the Blue Collar Comedy Tour to fulfill their comedic needs.)

This is one of the primary reasons YouTube exists: for people at work to e-mail hilarious Black clips of Black people engaging in Black behavior to one another.Tosh has simply capitalized on comedic black market goods (pardon the pun), these real life videos of Blacsk that everyone laughs at but which heretofore have remained largely untapped commercially. He has successfully monetized stupidity to an extent American Funniest Home Video’s could only dream of doing, and he's done it by relying on a steady stream of video clips featuring Black people acting Black.

This New York Times profile from 2009 tells you all you need to know about Tosh:
DANIEL TOSH grew up in central Florida, the son of a minister. Most likely, he was the quiet child in school, doodling at his desk rather than cutting up in class.

These days Mr. Tosh’s career as a comedian is on an upward trajectory. There is a solo coming up at Town Hall in New York in March and a string of engagements from Atlanta to Tempe, Ariz. His routines, popular on college campuses, manage to be philosophical, offensive and funny, even when a story deals with learning disabilities: “I’m a bad test taker!”

“No,” he tells the imaginary student. “You’re stupid!”

During a recent performance at the Lincoln Theater in Miami Beach, part of the South Beach Comedy Festival, the comic, 33, had a carefully crafted look.

He wore a striped Obey hoodie, Earnest Sewn jeans and canvas Converse sneakers that conformed to the thug dress code: no belt, no shoelaces.

He came across as a lanky, handsome hipster doing an impression of a 13-year-old skater.

Backstage, his support team was idling. His manager, a vivacious blonde named Christie Smith, was talking loudly on a cellphone, and Mr. Tosh’s girlfriend, Megan Abrigo, chatted with Stacy Mark, his agent. Meanwhile, Mr. Tosh was on stage telling a joke about a device to measure Mariah Carey’s cleavage.
There’s no doubt Tosh has read the blog Stuff White People Like (consult this video for proof of that), but he is savvy enough to realize a huge market exists that Dave Chappelle abandoned when it became obvious that Black people had become the butt of his jokes.

Black people are hilarious. Their behavior is undeniably comedic and, when documented by video, tends to validate and confirm every stereotype imaginable.

YouTube offers a glimpse into the real Black world, not the phony Black world that television scriptwriters manipulate on sitcoms. (Check out for the “keeping it real” Black world.) Daniel Tosh is mining the mother lode when he indulges his viewers in doing what most people enjoy doing privately and out of the sight of polite society, laughing at the antics of Black people.

That Tosh has publicly taken advantage of this dirty little white secret and made it tolerable for people to engage in group laughter at Black people is the very essence of Stuff Black People Don’t Like.Sure, some SWPL white people might become publicly indignant and veheme in high dudgeon when they see Tosh.0 mocking Black people, But when no one else is around to judge them, you and I both know it's true: the SWPL white people are laughing too.

When Dave Chappelle did his skits, it was funny.  Funny, that is, until he realized viewers were starting to laugh at Black people and not his material.  Tosh is smart enough to realize a huge market exists that wants to see these Black videos exploited for their comedic potential.

Tosh is making it socially acceptable to make fun of Black people. Though white people might share jokes about Black people and e-mail videos to one another in private, hoping no Black person hears about or sees this highly punishable transgression, Tosh.0 is a form of catharsis, a guilty pleasure, for those who thought they were the only ones to laugh at Black people and Black behavior.

Instead, Tosh has shown that SWPL white people, that untouchable white people -- hell, that everyone laughs at Black people. That this has become a public knowledge and that Tosh has the most popular show on Comedy Central is obviously the Stuff Black People Don’t Like.


Anonymous said...

Tosh is one of the smartest comics since George Carlin. Watch his regular stand up on YouTube, it's viscious & brilliant & very, very dark.

No wonder he makes fun of blacks; what else can you do with them? and it's great how blacks either don't know or don't care that they're being made fun of. So long as they are in the spotlight, it's all good.

OneSTDV said...

Excellent analysis. Spot on in every detail.

Laz said...

What what in the butt, what what in the butt... lol.

Seriously, Chappelle Show was the one thing all of us in class could laugh about- from the blackest black to the whitest white. Interestingly over 90% of us found the white family with the last name Nigger the funniest skit.

When it came to Tosh.0 NONE of the blacks liked the show one bit. Hmmm... wonder why?

Anonymous said...

I think we should add the word "negus" to the growing list of words blacks don't like.

Can you use it in a sentence? I don't go to Chuck E. Cheese, there are too many negus who frequent that establishment.

Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, just a word to the wise've had at least three 105s now. Is there some psychological significance to that number? ;)

Anonymous said...

Some could say that college is actually four years of watching Comedy Central programming while attending the occasional class.

I hope this isn't true! But if it is, it says a lot about what white folks do in college: Comedy Central and drinking? Who knew, but not that much of a surprise... Many white families mistakenly believe that they should send each one of their litter to the university--many would do better at vocational schools instead of at a 4-year school. They're lowering degree values for everyone else. If you're talking from personal experience with this Comedy Central bit, I'll say one thing: it shows.

I've never seen Tosh's stand-up, but I would consider myself a regular watcher of his Comedy Central show. I think it's great, I always laugh, and I am not offended by any of his "black jokes" because they aren't offensive.

Maybe your ears especially prick up like Pavlov's dogs' when you hear "black people," "blacks" but I've watched this show since it's been on and he is not crucifying black folks in any way on Tosh.0.

He shows web clips of stupid people, or people doing things most of us think we wouldn't do. If some of them happen to be black, it's incidental. This guy makes fun of EVERYONE, and in equal measure.

This is why the show is popular. Chappelle made the mistake of assuming white folks were nuanced. You're ruining all the fun with your racist crap. Tosh isn't a racist. You have to wonder what people like him would think if they knew less than enlightened people like yourself were getting hard-ons about his "black jokes." Maybe it is difficult for you to understand but you can make and laugh at ethnic jokes and not make it your personal belief about a group of people.

You didn't get that memo, I guess...

Anonymous said...

Elite whites hate normal white people and show it frequently. Elite blacks almost never speak ill of normal black people in public. It would be interesting that if it becomes acceptable to laugh at black behavior, we start seeing elite blacks mocking and showing the same sort of hatred for normal blacks that elite whites show for normal whites.

My all time favorite black video is the one where the eight women fight outside of the gas station and then the audience randomly decides to start dancing and start tossing pulled out hair weave and wigs around.

Lee said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for spotlighting Daniel Tosh. He says it when other people are just thinking it. He is my favorite comic these days.

Anonymous said...

Blacks have astronimical birth rates.

Whites are below replacement level.


Anonymous said...

Wow! You mean that there is now something that is actually funny on Comedy Central?

Anonymous said...

"Many white families mistakenly believe"

You don't have a fucking clue what white families believe.

Anonymous said...

"I am not offended by any of his "black jokes" because they aren't offensive."

Well if you're not offended, then it's safe to say that black people don't find him offensive, since you are the spokesperson for all blacks.

Percy Kittens Reloaded said...

Great article, but you also need to do a story on Chelsea Handler. She's been fearless and unapologetic in "telling it like it is", but how long that lasts, or how long Tosh's show lasts, depends on how long they are committed to being truthful and funny without excessively worrying about who gets offended.

Handler probably gets a "pass" on some of her material from black people because she's dated (or is currently dating) 50 Cent and regularly has black comics on her talk show (Loni Love is one of her regulars).

P.S. The entire cast of The Facts Of Life reunited last week at an awards show sponsored by TV Land. Guess which actress from the cast was the only one to be late? And if you guess the lesbian with cerebral palsy you are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Blacks in the US have a birthrate below replacement levels (2.1).

Sub-Saharan Africa has "astronimical" birth rates and matching "astronimical" rates of HIV. Suck on that.

Anonymous said...

"Blacks have astronimical birth rates."

Of course, once Whitey quits footing the bill for blackie food and healthcare, there's gonna be an astronomical black death rate.

Remember, Socialism works until you run out of other people's money.


Anonymous said...

Well if you're not offended, then it's safe to say that black people don't find him offensive, since you are the spokesperson for all blacks.

I'm more of a spokesman for blacks than a white guy from a whitopia...

you also need to do a story on Chelsea Handler.

Chelsea Handler is not a racist. You're betting on a lame horse with that one.

Anonymous said...

"I'm more of a spokesman for blacks than a white guy from a whitopia..."

No shit, Captain Obvious.

Anonymous said...

"Blacks have astronimical birth rates."

Yet with black-on-black murder and AIDS, they're still only 12% of the populace.

Percy Kittens Reloaded said...

Anonymous wrote: "Chelsea Handler is not a racist. You're betting on a lame horse with that one."

I never suggested that Handler was a racist, or even Tosh for that matter. They just have two things in common: both are very funny, and both are willing to use straight, dead-pan humor to make points about black people without trying to give off even the slightest vibe that they are "just kidding". No, they're not kidding. They actually damn well mean the stuff they're saying about people, and the day they or their publicists every issue an apology to anyone they "might have offended" is the day I'll quit watching their shows and reading their books.

Anonymous said...

meh. tosh is just scratching the surface and hardly confronting anything besides tipping and financial responsibility/security. he's barely being remotely serious with his premise behind the skits and youtube vids. i was initially intrigued, but now, am unimpressed. tosh should get a camera and go ask blacks how they feel about blacks being so much more likely to murder someone? lame question but think of the off-the-wall answers you could get. 'the white man didnt give us 20 acres and a mule so someones gots ta die!' or 'the white man made all that data up. it aint true', or a black guy blaming bad parents and then confesses he has 3 kids he never sees. blacks arent confronted with any of this crime data so their answers could be anything!

Anonymous said...

another thing tosh could do is confront white rich kid republicans who dont work or work just enough to NOT have to pay taxes. they are just waiting for daddy to die and get the inheritance. im seeing as many examples of this as i am seeing blacks abusing welfare. im a moderate. come to the middle, its less stupid here


Anonymous said...

"another thing tosh could do is confront white rich kid republicans who dont work or work just enough to NOT have to pay taxes."

Right. Maybe he could run an advertisement that says "seeking rich white unemployed Republican youth waiting for daddy to die".

Great idea.


Artur said...

Too many sports-related stories on this blog.

missbosslady said...

"im a moderate. come to the middle, its less stupid here"

Umm, if you're the example, then no it's not less stupid there.

I got news for you, the middle is where the weak and unprincipled reside.

If you're not something, then you're nothing.

Anonymous said...

"Many white families mistakenly believe that they should send each one of their litter to the university--many would do better at vocational schools instead of at a 4-year school. They're lowering degree values for everyone else."

Wtf? Are you serious? Having more white people in a school is the single best indicator of whether or not that school is a good one ( and it was the population boon of latinos and non-whites via the passing of the 1965 Hart-Celler Act which caused a greater demand for an increase in work and trade related education which gave rise to the polytechnic to university transformation we've seen in the past couple decades and has contributed, more than anything else, to a decrease in the value of a degree from one of these "universities".

CWN said...

I want to add one random thing about Tosh. He seems like he could be the Brother of Jeff Lewis from the show "Flipping Out". Or maybe even a gay lover of his. They have that same effeminate feel about them. But, I guess Tosh is straight.

Anonymous said...

missbosslady youre kidding right? i pick out what i believe based on what i understand to be good and right and not because the republicans and democrats say it is. im not a 'cronie' or a 'follower' and i find it short sighted and lazy to just pick 1 of the 2 teams and quit thinking for yourself. how does following a party line show strength and principle? both parties barely follow through and get things done and some republicans are more liberal than some liberals and visa versa. especially when it comes to the gay agenda

i work 60 hours a week and i am starting 2 businesses and i work out and am in shape and i save money like no other. but yes i am very weak and unprincipled.

someone correct me if im wrong but arent voters that are unaffiliated with a party/independent generally higher in IQ?

step into my office bosslady, cuz you're fired!


Anonymous said...

Where is the mention of all the videos that make fun of white people or woman? Your an idiot and this obvious article is retarded. Its cool when a black comic makes fun of blacks or whites or whoever but if a white comic makes fun of black omfgwtf he must be racist. It is comedy, seriously its that simple. If your gonna hate him for making fun of black people then why not hate all the black comics that make fun of white stereotypes? O wait I know cuzz your a typical hypocrite with an agenda...

Anonymous said...

WhAt if a black person was the one showing the videos? Would that be better? Would you uppity niggaz sleep better at night?

Funny, you get mad the person putting the buffoonery on display, but no I'll words for the originator of the behavior. And this is the new state of the black community. Pretend like shot is all good, overlook the bad inourselves and point out the bad in others, and make every excuse we can for ignorance(our own ignorance that is).

Quit being fucking slaves and wake up.

Original Man.

Anonymous said...

Where is my free money?

You could not script something as funny as that.

Anonymous said...

lol wat a dumb nig nog who wrote this tosh is the best just another blind close minded gorilla

Anonymous said...

maybe if there weren't so many idiots out there - black, white, yellow, purple, whatever, then there'd be nothing to make fun of.
if you don't want to be critiqued, then keep your face off the video camera.

Anonymous said...

Who cares? Black people complain about everything, then they get upset that they're not included in anything because they can't play nice. The only reason you'd be mad about this is if its a white guy telling it like it is versus a black guy. Instead of playing the pity party why not laugh and have a good time?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, this guy regularly makes fun of Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Europeans, Rednecks, Nerds, Fat People, Old People, The Handicapped, and most especially Women, and you're gonna complain only about the times which he makes fun of Black people???!!! Seriously, where's the outrage for Tosh's many, many "offensive" jokes about the LGBT community? No word of solidarity and concern about them, huh? Oh, I guess that's because black people are the only group of people that can take offense and be off limits. Seriously, get over yourself, ditch this self entitlement to not be offended, and look up "tongue in cheek."

Oh, and what the hell is with all of these assumptions about what white people are secretly like? A) When a white person likes to make jokes about black people or whatever group, they don't pull back with black people around because they "know what they're saying is wrong" but because they know that the black people they have often dealt with have easily wounded egos. Oh, but chin up white people and continue to take those can't dance, flat assed women, small penises, etc. jokes from black people. The second you make a comment about the horrible conditions of much of the "black community" (whatever that really means) you're nothing but a racist. Obviously everything every other group of people does wrong whether they are white, asian, latin, gay, etc. is a simple matter of fact but any strange, self-destructive, stupid, etc. action made by people who happen to be black is merely misunderstood and clearly not funny. That's two things, hypocrisy and (wait for it),,, racism. You feel the African race is superior to every other group and is thus not worthy of ridicule.

Seriously, chill the fuck out and take a joke.

TL:DR Version= U Mad, Bro?!

Anonymous said...

I love how black people are offended by Tosh but they were fine with Dave chapelle..I don't get the point of being "offended" by a racist joke..they're only racist if you take them as racist,if that makes sense? The point is,when a black person calls me a cracker or tries to make a white joke I laugh because it's funny and I don't care,I know it doesn't apply to me personally because I don't fit the stereotype they try to project on me. Blacks call whites crackers all the time and its completely accepteable apparently,it's probably because we whites think nothing of it but once a white person uses the word Nigger all hell breaks lose..whatever

Daniel Tosh

Anonymous said...

All the shows and material that black comedians use are always about the same thing,making fun of white people. It's about time we can do the same. Just because they're the minority doesn't mean they can get away with it but we can't. Nice to see a white comedian finally grow a pair!

Anonymous said...

Crazy stat. US African-American population is at 13% but the US jail population of blacks is well over 40%!!

Anonymous said...

One question I have. Are black people really offended by Daniel Tosh. I get the feeling that he has a good amount of black fans.