The Limits of Comedy

17 Jul 2012

John Seavey for MightyGodKing:

This is one of those things that I’m going to act all self-righteous about, because yes, I am better than someone who thinks it’s okay to threaten a woman with sexual assault when she says a comedian isn’t funny. It’s not that high of a bar.

While my sense of humor can hardly be considered friendly, I have found the Daniel Tosh Incident to be a particularly damning indictment of our culture. Not the joke itself — although it was outrageously inappropriate, even in the context of a stand up routine. He should not have said it, but I will accept it as an impromptu response to being shouted at during a show. Not approve, not forgive. I simply accept that Tosh felt the way he claims that he did. Which is what permits me to accept his apologies as actually apologetic.

My frustration is with the various defenders, far removed from the heat of the moment, that feel obligated to condone his actions. It was wrong. There are no situations wherein a comic is allowed to do that. Excuse it as an accident or a temporary lapse of judgment, if you must defend the character of a comedian best known for making a clip show of YouTube videos, but do not pretend that the man is somehow justified in suggesting, even in a lousy attempt at humor, that a woman in the audience should be raped. It was wrong and I feel absolutely no shame in acting self-righteous about this.