Daniel Tosh holding his own chest

Daniel Tosh

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Daniel Tosh is a stand-up comedian and host of the Comedy Central Internet humor television show Tosh.0. While the television series has been a commercial success, many of Tosh's jokes have been criticized for being racist, homophobic and misogynistic, including an incident involving a rape joke in July of 2012.

Online History

Tosh.0 premiered on June 5th, 2009, in which Tosh highlights various humorous Internet video clips while standing next to a television set in front of a green screen. The second act of the show is known as "Web Redemption", featuring various Internet celebrities who have starred in viral videos. The following stars have appeared in Web Redemption segments:

  • Tron Guy – Daniel sends the Tron Guy into the computerized world that inspired him in the first place.
  • Nintendo 64 Kid – Daniel tries to get the now grown-up Nintendo 64 Kid to say thank you to an even bigger gift.
  • Latarian Milton Daniel and Latarian perform various activities of neighborhood mischief.
  • What What in the Butt – In the first "Web Remix," Daniel invites Samwell to do an unplugged version of his song with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
  • World of Warcraft Freakout – In the first "Web Investigation," Daniel interrogates the WoW Freakout Kid and tries to get him to admit that the premise behind his ultra-popular video is false.
  • Double Rainbow – Daniel takes Paul Vasquez on a "Web Retreat," following a quadruple rainbow all the way to West Hollywood.
  • I Like Turtles – During the redemption, Jonathan Ware, the I Like Turtles kid, reveals that he had just seen a turtle exhibit at the county fair, and had turtles on his mind during the now famous interview.
  • Boom Goes the Dynamite – Brian Collin provides commentary to the Tosh.0 Staffer Basketball Game as part of his Redemption. He sets off an explosive-laden vest at the end.
  • Eli Porter – Eli performs his now famous rap at Arizona State University as part of Tosh's College Invasion. Featuring singer Skylar Grey and the ASU Drumline.
  • Epic Beard Man was featured in a second season episode. Daniel invited the two belligerents in the video for a "Web Rematch" on his show, but this has not yet come to fruition.


Tosh is known for his edgy and sometimes offensive humor that has been criticized as being racist, ableist, transphobic and misogynistic. On February 17th, 2010, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation[14] published a blog post criticizing Tosh for being transphobic when he insulted a seven-foot-tall model by saying she had male anatomy (shown below). On September 2nd, 2010, the Straight Dope Forums[13] member Little Nemo submitted a thread titled "Daniel Tosh and Racist Jokes", which questioned why Tosh was able to make racist jokes without any public outrage.

Rape Joke Controversy

On July 9th, 2012, a post titled "So a Girl Walks into a Comedy Club…." was published on the Cookies For Breakfast[3] Tumblr blog, which recounted a story told by the author's female friend about an experience at one of Tosh's stand-up performances. The story claimed that during the performance at the Laugh Factory comedy club, Tosh began making statements that rape jokes were funny, to which the woman shouted, "Actually, rape jokes are never funny!" In response, Tosh reportedly said, "Wouldn't it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her?", causing the woman to flee the theater out of fear for her own safety. Within three days, the post received over 24,000 notes. On July 10th, Tosh apologized via his official Twitter account, but claimed he had been misquoted and was merely trying to illustrate that any topic can be joked about.

The same day, the apology was reported by Jezebel[4], Gawker[8], BoingBoing</a.[9], The Huffington Post[5] and Mashable.[7] The viral content site BuzzFeed[6] published a post titled "Comedy Club Owner Says Daniel Tosh Incident Has Been Misunderstood", which included a statement by the Laugh Factory owner Jaime Masada claiming that audience member's account was inaccurate:

Masada says Tosh asked the audience, "What you guys want to talk about?" After someone in the front said "rape," a woman in the audience started screaming, "No, rape is painful, don’t talk about it." Then, Masada says, "Daniel came in, and he said, 'Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys' -- something like that. I really didn’t hear properly."

On July 10th, comedian Louis C.K. sent Tosh a public tweet praising his show for making him laugh.

On July 11th, the controversy was approached by the hosts of the morning talk show The View, in which Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Whoopi Goldberg defended the practice of telling rape jokes. The same day, comedians Patton Oswalt and Dane Cook commented on the subject via Twitter.

On July 12th, The Onion[10] published a satirical post titled "Daniel Tosh Chuckles Through Own Violent Rape." The same day, Jezebel[11] published an article titled "How to Make a Rape Joke", which included several YouTube videos of jokes involving rape that had been deemed inoffensive by the author. The Austin, Texas culture blog Culture Map[12] published an article titled "The Best Response We've Heard to Daniel Tosh's Misquoted Rape Jokes", which asked readers to imagine a world in which the practice of severing men's penises was a common occurrence and the butt of stand-up comedy jokes. Also on July 12th, YouTuber TheAmazingAtheist uploaded a video titled "Tumblr Feminists", which criticized the vilification of Tosh as a result of the Tumblr post for being pro censorship.

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