Apr 18, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
It was Saturday morning, April 14, when I decided I was going to head to The Landmark in Syracuse to catch Daniel Tosh, a comedian who has grown famous because of his web-fueled show Tosh.O.
Tosh isn’t your average comedian. He’s a foul-mouthed, skinny white male who decided he’s allowed to base his stand-up routine on sexism, racism and making fun of all people in general.
On his show, he plays random video clips from the Internet, then makes a gaggle of offensive jokes about whites, blacks, Asians, Jews, Christians, fat people, skinny people and anyone else you can possibly imagine. He usually makes a goofy face, one which is supposed to tell people he’s just joking. Often times I find myself laughing at his antics, but I never really think too deeply about what is really happening.
That all changed when I saw his stand-up routine. I admit, wholeheartedly, that I thought his show was gut-splittingly hilarious, and I nearly wet myself after some of his jokes.
As the show went on, his mouth kept spitting out humor about the poor, about people in comas, about everything that a normal person wouldn’t dare make fun of. Again, I didn’t bat an eye.
I got up to grab a beer, and while walking to the back, I noticed the crowd was nearly 100 percent white. There was no diversity whatsoever; a bunch of white people were sitting around laughing at things about everyone but white people.
When I got back to my seat, Tosh uttered a joke about how people who live through comas shouldn’t be allowed to live when they wake up. I thought, at that point, I was going to run onstage and punch that little twit in the face. You see, a little more than a year ago, my brother was in a bad accident and was in a coma for nearly four months. He survived, but is fighting to return to shape in a rehabilitation hospital, where he goes through intensive therapy.
This joke was in awful taste. After the show I had conversations with people who saw Tosh’s routine. They all agreed that to enjoy his show, you have to take it at face value, otherwise you may get your feelings hurt.
I can promise that had the audience been more diverse, there would have been a terrible reaction, and maybe even some fights. His jokes were just terrible, and I don’t know how a kid from white suburbia thinks it’s alright to say what he does. Because I’m writing this for a newspaper, there is no way I can go into further detail as to exactly what this guy said.
Why is it that we find this to be hilarious? By we, I’m talking about white America, the people who are the majority in this country. There are so many other comedians who are funny but don’t need to be of the highest offensive material to get to that point, yet on Saturday a room chock-full of white people got their kicks by laughing at the less-fortunate, about racism, about sexism and about anti-Semitism.
When I was a teenager, I found all this kind of humor to be the best. I used to make ignorant jokes because I thought: “Hey, I don’t mean what I’m saying, so it’s alright to say it. It’s only a joke!”
Wrong. Instead of making fun of others, we should be figuring out ways to bridge the gaps between the rich and poor. We should definitely not be making jokes or laughing about slavery. And jokes about hitting women? I think you can see where I’m going with this.
Everyone has a unique story, be it good, bad, or rich or poor. The point is, we should embrace these things and strive toward change.
By paying money to see Tosh, I feel as if I have taken a few steps back in the maturation process.
If only I could get the money I spent back I could do something positive with it instead of supporting a loser racist who cares about no one but himself.
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.