Daniel Tosh: Comedy on the attack

By | June 10, 2009 at 9:36 am | No comments | Features | Tags: , ,

Daniel ToshWith the premiere last week of his new Comedy Central show Tosh.0 (Thursdays at 10 pm), comedian Daniel Tosh has become kind of a big deal. It’s about time the world knows what we’ve known about him for years.

Beyond becoming one of the nation’s most sought after stand-up comedian, Daniel Tosh has become known to comedy nerds as one of the most caustic, bitter-seeming stand-ups on the scene.

And it’s not that his material is soaked with F-bombs. No, Tosh has been able to make audience members cringe — and laugh — with little more than his tone, disregard for human feelings and honesty. We submit this bit as evidence:

“Am I the only person who hopes New Orleans gets nailed again this year?” Tosh begins in a but from a few years ago. “Let’s spend billions of dollars rebuilding a city that’s below sea level. That’s a genius idea.  I say cit our losses and finish the job, Lord…”

“If any city in this country needed a bath, it was New Orleans. Cajuns are dirty. That’s a fact. That’s French and Redneck merging. That’s a hygiene combination no antiperspirant can tackle.”

So it’s no surprise that the new show Tosh helms, Tosh.0 on Comedy Central, the lanky comedian is charged with poking holes in the unfortunate participants of the country’s more popular viral videos. Think of it like American’s Funniest Home Videos, except that the host hates the world.

Punchline Magazine recently chatted with Tosh about his attitude, the state of stand-up comedy and much more.

I last interviewed you in the summer of 2005. What’s been the biggest change in your life since then?
I haven’t written a new joke yet but I’m waiting for that wave of inspiration to hit me. Listen, my life is not bad. But I’m kinda a half-empty type of person— this whole process of show business? I didn’t sign up for a lifetime of work. It’s like, let’s get going; get me famous and then I can turn into an asshole. That’s kind of the game plan.

You mean you’re not an asshole now?
Oh my god. That’s so mean spirited. In the eye of the beholder, I’d like to crank it up a notch or two. I am working with a lot of my friends on this show, who I do not think are talented. So what kind of an asshole jeopardizes his one opportunity to have his own show by putting his friends on it, who clearly should not be hired anywhere. My openers love me. I’m really nice to them.

What does ‘work’ mean for you at the Tosh.0 offices?
A lot of meaningless meetings— like ‘Hey, what do you think of lighting the stage more?’ I get up around eight in the morning and I get to the office around 9:30 or 10. I’m usually the last one here, which I think is a good sign. We sit in the writers room and watch horrible clips all day long on the Internet— things we find somewhat amusing. And then we try to find ways to make them relevant so it’s not America’s Funniest Home Videos.

I’m kind of new at this. I don’t sit in an office all day long. First of all, it’s awful. And then I usually work until seven at night and then I’m like, ‘Oh, now it’s time to do stand-up.’ I’m fine. I’m a few weeks into this and I’m ready to quit. I didn’t sign up for this workload.

How would you spend your days before you had to work on Tosh.0?
I used to spend my days complaining to my managers and agents asking them ‘Why can’t I get a fucking TV show? I’m dying to work!’ That’s exactly what I spent my whole day doing.

Tosh.0 Thurs June 4th, 10pm / 9c
Crush Fetishes and Bikini Models
comedycentral.com

And now you’re dying not to work?
No, I’m happy. I’m glad to be here. It’s just now reaching out to people and the comedy community that has shot any type of shorts. We’re bringing them really short— like in the 30 second to minute range. They can submit them to the show. It’s a very artist friendly show. We’re not trying to own anything. It’s all the original artists. Whoever shoots it, it’s their stuff. We can give them a place where people can see the stuff on television.

Is Tosh.0 the type of show where you can totally be yourself— or do you have to dial it down a bit?
I don’t think I’m going to have to dial it down too much. It’s obviously a different format. So I guess if and when I get extremely comfortable, I assume my tone will read through. But that’s not to say that someone couldn’t watch it and be like, ‘Oh this is painful. Why don’t you say what you normally say?’ That might be the case. I don’t feel like anyone’s asking me to dial it down. It’s Comedy Central. They don’t care, do they?

I don’t know. I don’t work there.
I should really get on the phone more often with people there.

You make a nasty comment about Carlos Mencia in the unofficial pilot I saw.
Yeah, we’ll see what Comedy Central let me take the piss out of. I’m trying to get Dave Chappelle to come on the show to tell me why I shouldn’t work for Comedy Central.

Since you’re now charged with scouring the Internet and making fun of it every week for Tosh.0, I’d be interested to know what sites you frequent outside of what’s needed for work.
It’s between Punchline Magazine and Perez, all day long. And I find it appropriate that there’s a lot less jizz on your site.

Sadly, I’m usually checking a lot sports websites and trying to find a great spread on a game where I can lose a lot of money and get very angry. Besides YouTube and Break.com and everything else, I don’t know. I don’t frequent porn, which I’m told from a lot of the writers is very odd. I’m not familiar with nearly enough porn that’s out there.

And why is that?
I don’t know. I guess I should. I guess I just didn’t know. I prefer the old school stuff, like magazines. But I had no idea baseball bats can be used for all sorts of fun stuff. Thanks, Belladonna.

Do you ever get sick of talking about yourself during interviews?
Yes, of course. It’s completely obnoxious. But I guess it beats talking to my friends about their problems. God, is that draining.

How would you describe the state of the national stand-up comedy scene?
It’s strong. When people ask me who I think is funny, I start thinking of people— and the list goes forever. And I’m really aware that there’s tons of new people out there that I’ve never listened to simply because, as you know, listening to bad stand-up can ruin it for the one gem you find. But I know there’s people out there that are incredible. So no, why wouldn’t it be strong? The clubs are good. It seems like there’s plenty of places to perform. I’m happy with the scene.

Are there solid plans to follow up your first hour special, Completely Serious, with another?
I’ll be touring and hopefully I’ll have a new hour special this year. Hopefully, I actually get off my ass and film it. I was supposed to do it last year, and I just bailed. It’ll be surely recorded by the end of this year. How quick it airs, I assume depends on my popularity over at Comedy Central. I don’t know where I should film it. Where would you like me to film it?

Jokes.com
Daniel Tosh – The Troops
dians.comedycentral.com

I would like you to film it in New York City since that’s where I am.
I would like to do it in New York but the problem with New York and filming a special there is that it’s crazy expensive. The Teamsters and unions and renting a theater it’s just so, so expensive. And it’s almost not worth it to attempt it.

How about the Trocadero in Philly?
I don’t know. I’m too scared that Philly will have a sports game that night and the team will be good out of nowhere and next thing I know, attendance is none.

You have some options.
Well, keep it in the back of your mind. And if you think of someplace like, ‘Hey, no one has done a special here and this might be cool.’ I’m all for stealing your idea.

For more info on Daniel, check out danieltosh.com. To submit videos to Tosh.0, check out the show’s official site.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor in chief of Laughspin. He launched Punchline Magazine in 2005 (which became Laughspin in the summer of 2011) with childhood friend Bill Bergmann. Dylan lives in northern New Jersey with his wife and two sons. He hopes the Shire is real.