An anonymous story about Tosh.0 host Daniel Tosh making a rape joke at the expense of a female audience member during a recent Laugh Factory set went viral last night, shortly after being posted to Tumblr. The story alleges that Tosh suggested it would be hilarious if this audience member got gang-raped. By this morning the outrage in response to the story — the veracity of which BuzzFeed Shift has not been able to independently confirm — had spawned a slew of angry tweets directed at Tosh.
This afternoon, Tosh apologized for the incident over Twitter — notably with the caveat that the quotes in the Tumblr post had been taken “out of context.”
We reached out to Tosh’s manager and the Laugh Factory for comment and await their response. But anyone who’s paid attention to Tosh’s career knows that he’s been making inappropriate rape (and race) jokes for years. In fact, this is the foundation of the humor of not only his stand-up sets, but also his Tosh.0 show on Comedy Central, the latest episode of which drew the highest ratings of any cable show that night. Take this knife rape joke based on gory YouTube footage of Muammar Q’addafi’s murder:
There was also the skit titled “Lightly Touching Women’s Stomachs While They’re Sitting Down.” Tosh explains the concept: “This is where you sneak up behind women who are sitting and lightly put your hand upon their stomach. Make sure she’s aware that you are in fact feeling a roll.” Then we get some footage of Tosh doing this to women. He encouraged his viewers to upload videos of them trying this fun activity out — and a bunch of dudes actually did.
He can probably get away with even more inappropriate jokes in his stand-up acts that aren’t televised. Here’s a short clip of him making a joke about his sister getting raped in his DVD special Happy Thoughts:
And here’s a clip of him in a television special calling two guys in his front row “fucking idiots” because they’re drunk (what else does one do at a comedy show?). “We’re going to edit you out, you know, like your parents wished they could?” Tosh says into his microphone, before forcing them to switch seats.
But that’s nothing compared to his constant assault on women. Here’s a clip from his show of him insulting women who went to the trouble of sending in tapes so he could compile a bit called “Stuff You Never Want to Hear Guys Say”:
It remains unclear exactly how the rape joke at the Laugh Factory went down (though Tosh’s apology suggests it happened in some form). Sadly, the most surprising thing about this report is that he felt it warranted a “sincere” apology.