Like Jim Norton and Patrice O’Neal, Sarah Silverman and Lisa Lampanelli, Daniel Tosh clearly belongs to Comics Without Borders, a cadre of comedians that fearlessly (some scolds may say tastelessly) crosses boundaries to deliver jokes to those in need…of convulsive laughter.
“If I offend anybody tonight, I apologize. It’s not my intention. I’m not going to guess what your personal line of decency is. I cross my own from time to time; it’s how I know I still have one,” Tosh proclaims perfunctorily at the outset of Happy Thoughts, his new album from Comedy Central Records (available on March 8; watch the special Sunday at 9 p.m. on Comedy Central).
Reciting that counterfeit concern (the equivalent of liquor makers’ routine pleas to “drink responsibly…so we can advertise recklessly”) frees Tosh to shamelessly, gleefully, and, forgive us oh NAACP, ACLU and NOW, hysterically be his paradoxically insolent self: the choirboy with the devilish sense of humor.
Onstage in a plain white shirt, gray pullover sweater and charcoal pants, Tosh resembles a seminary student or the banjo-thrumming member of some folksy ’60s singing quartet. But beneath the Gap uniform lies a clever, relentless, remorseless guerrilla who deliberately tosses grenades into crowds and admires the explosion of gasps and probably inappropriate applause his incendiary commentary provokes.
A master of misdirection, Tosh purposely creates unease — with cringes and twinges of guilt in audience members being his payoff.
“I have no problem with illegal immigration in this country,” Tosh announces, jabbing the Right before leveling the Left with this emphatic sucker punch, “except for the fact they don’t serve on jury duty. That’s horseshiiiiiiit. It should be the other way around; they should serve exclusively on jury duty. Yeah, then it finally would be a jury of ones’ own peers. It’s not a stereotype if it’s always true. Yeah, then it becomes law. That joke is called, ‘Latinos Are Criminals.’ That’s just a title, it doesn’t mean anything.”
Yes, Tosh often straddles the line barely separating mockery from misogyny and bigotry, but oh so deftly. He never sounds genuinely hostile or mean. No doubt he mines deep for his jokes, using a backhoe it appears to dig low enough to discover the humor in usually taboo subjects: premature death, poverty, homelessness, domestic abuse, abortion, and, uh, really, rape. A brilliant comic alchemist, Daniel Tosh somehow spins the grim into comedy gold.
We highly suggest you pick up a copy of Happy Thoughts. Just click the link below!