Beach bum Daniel Tosh drops his first album after 11 years of stand-up.
Now will his parents drop him?
By Dylan P. Gadino
The way he tells it, Daniel Tosh had no future in the real world. He wasn’t that bright and showed little motivation. We think he’s just being overly modest. After graduating from the University of Central Florida with a business degree, he soon realized the world of comedy — which some contend is part of the real world — is where he needed to be. With 11 solid years of stand-up experience, Tosh, 30, is now a happy-go-lucky, if not slightly strange, resident of Hermosa Beach, Calif. He surfs by day and tells jokes at night. This month, Comedy Central releases his debut album, True Stories I Made Up. So Punchline Magazine thought now would be a keen time to get some facts from the man himself. In the end, we’re not quite sure what we got.
So why are you putting out an album after so long?
I’ve been avoiding it mainly because I don’t want my parents to have a clue of what I actually say on stage. For years, I could’ve been cleaning up at comedy clubs selling CDs after shows, but going home for Christmas is apparently more important. That’s going to have to stop as of this year.
Your parents have never seen your act?
They’ve seen me on television, so it’s very tame. They’ve never seen me on stage promoting anal sex or something horrible. I’m curious to see how it goes over. Hopefully, I’ll just tell them that they shouldn’t listen to it, and they’ll just heed that advice. Isn’t it sad that I still care about what my parents think?
Yeah, it’s a little sad. Or maybe it’s endearing.
I’ll take the latter.
How would you describe your style of comedy?
Knock-knock is the style I go with mostly.
That’s not true.
I don’t know — observational wit with an edgy twist? Don’t write that down; I have no clue. I make stuff up. Even if I’m talking topical, it’s not to make a point at all. It’s just to get to the punch line. There’s nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about what I do. I think if anything, it’s a little less structured than other comedians.
When do you write jokes?
Whenever they hit me. I could force myself to write. I could sit down and start tooling out a joke; I have that gift. I write in wingdings, which is odd for penmanship, but whatever.
Where did you start performing comedy?
In Orlando, when I was in college. The initial experience wasn’t reassuring to say the least. I’ve always had a social anxiety. I’m not a huge fan of speaking in front of people, but there was something about comedy. I thought it was something I’d like to do. The first time, I went to what I thought was an open-mic place. It turned out to be a competition where you had to pay and then the crowd voted and the winner won the money. That’s a fine scenario, except that it wasn’t a comedy venue. It was more of an open-mic for jazz musicians.
So when I got there, I was like, “I’m going to do some comedy.” They were like, “Oh, that’s cool.” They didn’t discourage me. I had to go on first, and I was the only one who told jokes the whole night. There was a guy doing rim shots as I made Shaquille O’Neal penis references. Strike one.
So what got you motivated to do it again?
I was quickly realizing that I had little chance to succeed at anything, and I was a poor, broke college student, so why not shoot for the moon? I wasn’t going to be making a living similar to my parents. I stood no chance. I would’ve been homeless.
Do you ever a use a set list on stage?
The only time I have a set list is when I need to get a set approved for television. Other than that, no. It’s more like, how fast can I say something horrible? A lot of comics say they like to open with tried-and- true material and then get to the new stuff. I have no problem walking on stage letting new material rip.
Like my new basketball joke: I’m excited about college basketball because they made a rule change this year in the NBA forcing the high school athletes to play at least one year of college basketball. And I think that’s a good rule change for college basketball. I would also recommend that they give white players one more point because it won’t affect the game but it would make them feel like they’re contributing. It would also remind the black athletes that no matter how hard they try in this country, they’ll always earn less than their white counterparts.
I like to come out of the gate with that one and immediately make a good portion of the room uncomfortable. That’s really not my objective, but it’s usually the end result.
What kind of digs do you have in Hermosa Beach?
I live in a mansion — the Tosh Mahal. No, no, but I’m doing very well. I live near the beach in a house: three bedrooms, three baths, approximately 24,000 square feet. The style of home is Mediterranean, very modern. I have a very expensive car and a 1980 Vespa scooter. Yet I don’t hang with the Vespa group. The Vespa people are kinda weird. That’s my main means of transportation and it gets great gas mileage.
There’s going to be no shred of truth in this article.
What are you talking about? I do live five blocks from the beach. And everything I said about my home is completely true, and I do have an old Vespa. Would you like me to crank it up for you? I could. It’s three floors below me, though, but whatever. It’s in the Joshua Wing.
How has your stand-up style changed?
Sometimes I would go up in character for an entire set, whereas now I pretty much do what I do and I’ve filtered out all the horrible stuff that I hated along the way. I definitely changed quite a bit, and hopefully I continue to change. I’m not married to any of this. If I could find a way to make 50 more dollars next week, I’d do it.
You mean something outside of stand-up?
Well, I came up with this great invention that I won’t tell anyone about, not even my lover. But I don’t want to release it until my comedy career has peaked because I don’t want to be known for this great invention first. I have things that I’m going to branch out to later. I’m going to be like Ashton Kutcher. I’ll have all kinds of side projects going on. Actually, I’ll be more like George Foreman; he’s kind of a role model. Then I want to have lots of kids. I’m dying for some children.
Why is that?
I don’t know. I guess I already had some kids if you count the first trimester — but who does?
Daniel Tosh ‘s CD/DVD True Stories I Made Up is now available.
For more information, visit danieltosh.com.