Daniel Tosh: Horribly Funny review

Brandon Friederich

Stand-up comedy is truly an art form. A great comedian is just as talented as a great musician or a painter. And as with any other art form, there are those who rise to the top, and master their trade.

Daniel Tosh is one of those masters. He has one of the darkest and most offensive routines of any comparable popular comic active today, yet his jokes make everyone from teenagers to 60-year-olds cackle, scream, and convulse with laughter.

So how can someone who is constantly pushing the envelope also be so universally accepted? Tosh does it by combining a few different tactics in a unique and truly masterful way.

Tosh goes out of his way to connect with the audience. He says things that make the crowd feel as though he has tweaked his routine specifically for them. For instance, the very first thing out of his mouth was something that connected with Iowa State students.

“As you can see, I am wearing a pink shirt in support of your school. I assume that every once in a while, one of those red shirts gets mixed in with your whites,” Tosh said.

He continued to add little references like this throughout his material, sometimes working them into larger jokes. In a bit he did about terrorism, he mentioned how Ames seems pretty safe, seeing that it is around number 4 million on the terrorist hit list. Connections like this help grab the audience’s attention, and give the impression that he actually cares about being in Ames.

A feature of Tosh’s stand-up that is really unique is how he anticipates the audience’s reaction to a joke, and then comments on that reaction to add to the joke. In one bit, he mentioned the Declaration of Independence.

“It says all men are created equal, but slaves weren’t emancipated until sixty years after that was written, and women weren’t considered equal until sixty years after blacks were freed. How does that work? Am I right ladies,” Tosh asked.

At this point, all of the women started screaming and clapping. He then interrupted them, saying they must not have seen his comedy before, because he makes fun of women all of the time, and that they weren’t going to like where he was going next.

He responded to the audience like this throughout his show, almost as if he is having a conversation with the audience.

Of course, the content of his jokes are what make his stand-up so good. Nothing is off limits for him.

Everyone and everything is fair game. Within his hour-long set, he made people laugh at racial issues, terrorism, pedophilia, women’s rights and abortion.

To some, Tosh may just seem like the biggest jerk ever to get famous. But what is he really getting at? I offer the perspective that in mocking everything, he’s putting everyone on an even playing field. By making fun of virtually everyone, he seems to be saying that we all deserve to be made fun of, because we are all equal.

There are very few people who are bold enough to say the things that Tosh says to their friends in the privacy of their own homes, and even fewer who would dare say those things in public. Tosh gets away with it because he says terrible things without picking on one specific group or one set of issues. In this way, he has done something truly brilliant.