Moment of Observation: Why Tosh.0 Sucks

There are a great many reasons to not like Tosh.0.  I need only one.

http://tosh.comedycentral.com/segments/video-breakdown/uncensored—video-breakdown—kid-breaks-arm

HA HA!  HA HA!  HA HA!  HA HA!  Did you GET IT??  Do you SEE WHY THAT WAS SO OMFG FUNNY??!?!?!?

Because quite frankly, I don’t.

What is it about this clip that’s theoretically funny?  Is it the…fact that a chubby kid is outside playing?  Because I was thinking, hooray for this kid for engaging in a more active lifestyle if even just for a short time, for doing something more than sitting in front of the TV with his X-Box and a soda, and that it was really too, too bad that he ended up getting hurt, and I hope that doesn’t turn him away at a young age from getting outside and moving around.

Or is it the actual broken arm?  Was it funny to see a bend in the forearm, where no bend should be?  I have also sort of spectacularly broken a bone–my leg–in a very public setting.  And while I do admit thinking it was academically interesting to see my ankle bent sideways, that was the last thought I had before I started to go into shock and the paramedics did everything in their power to keep me conscious.  It hurts.  A lot.  And chances are good that since he’s young and his bones are resilient he’ll only have suffered a simple break to fix and after a few weeks in a cast he’ll be right as rain, but maybe he’ll need surgery.  I mean, that arm is really broken.  Which extra-sucks.  We don’t know, since there’s certainly no caring or follow-up on how he’s doing.

Or was it Daniel Tosh‘s comedic stylings?  Was it his witty repartee as he discussed the incident?  Was it when he said (and I quote), “Something tells me today’s not the day he stops getting teased and finally wins the respect of his peers.”

No, Daniel.  Apparently, it’s not the day he stops getting teased, especially by you.  Here’s the thing: if you saw a 36-year-old man standing over a 12-year-old boy who had clearly hurt himself, saying this stuff?  You’d think he’s an asshole.  What makes this any different?  What makes his words less hurtful?  Do you think that kid hasn’t seen this yet?  Do you think his classmates haven’t given him shit about his fifteen minutes of unsavory fame thanks to Daniel “I have no fucking empathy and pick on little kids” Tosh?  He claims to suffer from social anxiety which, according to the Mayo Clinic, involves

Socially anxious? Or just a twat?

  • Intense fear of interacting with strangers
  • Fear of situations in which you may be judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing or humiliating yourself
  • Fear that others will notice that you look anxious
  • Anxiety that disrupts your daily routine, work, school or other activities
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Difficulty making eye contact
  • Difficulty talking
Interesting, though any “intense fear” one may have of interacting with strangers is certainly alleviated when you’re the king of your own one-man show.  Apparently, he counters his social anxiety with a heaping dose of narcissistic personality disorder, which brings:
  • Believing that you’re better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
Emphasis mine.
Believe me when I say that I know comedy isn’t pretty.  It isn’t safe, it isn’t for the weak.  It’s great at turning the tables on a power

George Carlin, ever the iconoclastic coot

structure (hence the power of political satire), and highlighting the imbalance or weird logic in a situation.  George Carlin says, “It’s the duty of the comedian to find where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.”  But he generally crossed the line to poke at the power structure–he poked fun at censorship with the seven dirty words you can’t say, and went after things like religion and airport security.  What he didn’t go after?  A little kid who hurt himself.  And it’s not like you can’t make fun of injuries.  Jerry Seinfeld had a bit that went:

“Now they show you how detergents take out bloodstains–a pretty violent image there.  I think if you’ve got a T-shirt with a bloodstain all over it, maybe laundry isn’t your biggest problem.”  From Made You Laugh, p. 106.

Jerry Seinfeld, keeping the bloodstains in perspective

What Seinfeld doesn’t say, what Carlin doesn’t say, what anyone with a secure sense of self and a grasp of legitimate comedy doesn’t say, is, “Uh-oh!  I hope it’s not his ice-cream sundae-eating arm.  Do yourself a favor, get a black cast so it’s not so obvious when nobody signs it.”  The kid is already at the low end of the power structure, so why kick him when he’s down?  Why imply that he’s friendless and unhappy?  I have to reiterate, if he said this to the kid, to his face, when he went down, most non-sociopaths would think he was an asshole.  Is it the ONLY way Tosh can think to try and make himself feel like a bigstrong man?  Because that seems like he’s projecting the boy’s (supposed) weaknesses in order to camouflage his own insecurities,  to me. I hope that kid find where you live and poops in your mailbox, Danny.  It’s not funny, but you’ve got it coming.

We all laugh at the slapstick schtick where the guy slips on the banana peel.  It’s funny to see someone go ass-over-teakettle, bouncing along on their butt, belly-flopping into a pool, getting hit in the cookie by a two-year-old with a wiffleball bat…but it’s only truly funny if he or she gets back up and walks away.  Because the power structure you’re able to poke fun at there are external forces that could go beyond your control.  You COULD be hurt by a belly-flop or a slip on the banana peel of life, but since you’re not, HOORAY!  But when they go down and stay down?  When they are literally on the ground, broken?  Not funny, and shame on you for laughing.  (And shame on you, Comedy Central, for giving him some air time.) Daniel Tosh says he’s going to end his career on his 38th birthday; with clips like this in his repertoire, I will greet that day with champagne and chocolate.  As far as I’m concerned, his career is a blight on an already bleak television landscape, and he can’t retire soon enough.
Here’s a link to Comedy Central’s feedback page.  I’m sending them the link to this blog.  Will it matter?  Probably not, but what the hell.
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22 responses to Moment of Observation: Why Tosh.0 Sucks

  1. JP

    Ahhh, George Carlin…dude, you are missed.
    The great Charlie Chaplin would agree with your point about comedy and the structures of power, saying long ago (I paraphrase): It’s funny when you kick the aristocratic lady in the butt, but not when you kick the woman who scrubs the floors.

    So this Tosh guy: what a tool. You would think all of the attention given lately to a number of teenagers who have committed suicide because of misery inflicted upon them by their peers might give him pause. But you would be wrong.

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Well you see, that’s the thing that makes comedy so scary to the power structure. It inverts what’s “normal”; the aristocratic lady gets a kick, the belly-flopper defies traditional wisdom about how not to enter a pool because s/he isn’t really hurt. The little kid in Home Alone gets the best of the wily robbers. But Tosh just engages in a snark attack–there’s no power structure to invert, he just bites what’s in front of him, and that poor kid has a REALLY broken arm. Again, shame on him, and all involved who brought this clip to light.

  2. Burton C. Bell

    Unfortunately, Tosh’s show is geared toward the mob, which is full of obnoxious, self centered, unsympathetic individuals; generally of low intelligence. This is the state of the boob tube, where ANYONE can have their own “reality” show.
    I have have seen a couple of of his episodes, and granted, there were a couple of chuckles that lured me in, but I did take quick notice what an asshole this guy is, and he acts like a spoiled brat to boot.

    On another note, a couple of the signs of social anxiety and NPD pointed toward me… :(

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      I know it aims at the mob and that it’s set for the lowest common denominator, but someone’s gotta speak up for this poor kid. I mean seriously. What a buffoon. I saw about five minutes of his show once and knew I hated it and his entire premise–and have even seen Michael McKean discuss how unfunny and mean-spirited Tosh is, and if anyone knows from funny, it’s Michael McKean.

      As for your self-diagnosis…I’m leaving that one alone… ;)

    • Garzilla

      I’m reasonably sure at least a couple of the signs of both can apply to anyone and everyone. If they didn’t… well, the population of Private, Idaho continues to grow.

  3. JP

    So I got out of the boat and…what gets to me? Everything you’ve already discussed. The sociopathy of a man who laughs at a child whose face is twisting up like that in fear and pain. But especially the fat-shaming. Because when people are heavy, it’s o-so-hilarious when skinny people make fun of them, just for existing, amirite?!!!

    It would still be wrong, although perhaps funny, if there were any wit or cleverness on display (we’ve all laughed at something we shouldn’t if the punch line was good). But all Tosh is doing is the equivalent of: (pointing) “OMG, FAAAAAAT! You are so FAT! FAT*FAT*FAT*FAT*FAT! Hey, FATTY, have I mentioned you are FAT?”

    Seriously, poor kid. Like he doesn’t already have enough grief.

    I think we need to start a countdown to that 38th birthday.

  4. Amy

    Best part of this? Supplying link to Comedy Central Feedback…and boy did I give them some feedback.

  5. We all know his “humor” is in bad taste (this is the first I have heard of the 15-minute of famer). The better question is why people eat this kind of stuff up. I think the programmers know that whether you are the type to ridicule the kid or Tosh in your mind as you’re watching, it’s a win-win for them. Tosh very likely knows this too. They’re playing on our willingness to watch anything that helps us paint ourselves as better than most of those other A-holes/dweebs/immorals/etc. out there. I think that’s why we eat it up, and why I’ll never pay attention to it, nor will I take the time to heap disdain on Tosh.

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      I don’t watch his show at all, but my nephew posted this clip on Facebook and after I watched it I wasn’t about to not swing back. Picking on that little kid. Shame on him. Disdain is the least of what he deserves.

  6. Steve

    Funny, tonight I had my very first exposure to Tosh.0 and within five minutes I was appalled. So I Googled “Toch.0 sucks” and landed here. And suddenly I was not alone! Thanks!

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      Thanks! Glad to know you’re a sane person who has a healthily developed sense of comedy (or not!). You’re not alone, and Tosh.0 sucks.

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  8. I have all his episodes downloaded, and watched them the first time round. What I noticed is that he has absolutely no idea of other cultures and talks like he has any idea… where are your parents from a-hole. If he was ever brave enough to traveled outside Florida or California he might know that he is hated as much as.. how did he say it… ‘Afghanistan’. Get your head out of your new condo dude… nobody thinks you’re funny.

    • beyondpaisley – Author

      You’ve got more patience than me. I tried to watch him when the show first came out–a show making fun of the internets? I thought it would be like “Talk Soup”, only…internettier–because there’s SO MUCH COMEDY inherent on the internet that mining it would have to be easy, right?

      Only, no.

      What we got was this. I’m glad you see it. His vision is narrow, he’s mean, it’s like giving a show to that dick in middle school who makes fun of everyone who even vaguely coasts outside his concept of “cool” and then hides behind the phrase, “What? I’m just joking!”. Asshole.

      Thanks for your feedback! Sorry about all that time Tosh-watching.

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