Tosh.TheDeclineofWesternCivilization

In a recent conversation surveying the landscape of current comedy clip-based shows (The Soup, The Onion SportsDome), David Simon Cowell mentioned that he enjoys the show Tosh.0 on Comedy Central. Not in an “oh my God, you have to check out this amazing can’t-miss laugh-fest over here” way — more like in a “this show is kind of funny” way. Even so, I was surprised, as based on the little bits of Daniel Tosh that I had seen online, he seemed like a milquetoast version of Dane Cook trying desperately to be Joel McHale. But because of the respect I have for my partner, I checked out some episodes of Tosh.0.

Big mistake.

This may be confirmation bias at work (it’s not), but I hated Daniel Tosh and his show much more than I had thought possible. He’s an empty vessel in a hipster cardigan, and his show is a bully pulpit mocking the easiest targets in our society. Worse than that: it’s just not funny. As we all know, funny forgives a lot. And there’s a lot here that needs forgiveness and doesn’t succeed in finding it.

Things That Are Wrong With Daniel Tosh

The Name of His Show

No duh.

His Self-Satisfied Smirk

His Targets

There’s a fine line between what Tosh.0 does and what The Soup does. (For the purposes of this discussion, we’re pretending Web Soup with Chris Hardwick doesn’t exist.) Both play clips of (often unintentionally) funny moments, and then a smirking host makes a wisecrack or two at the video subject’s expense. Yet somehow the two shows feel worlds apart.

And it’s not as if the reality show boozemonsters that The Soup eviscerates are dignified; it’s just that the lack of dignity that pervades everything about Tosh.0 is so all-encompassing that you feel like you’ve bathed in slime after watching. Making fun of people who do dumb things on YouTube is now officially the lowest form of comedy. It’s ten million steps down from watching guys get kicked in the groin on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Making fun of these people is like making fun of the kid at school with Down Syndrome — it’s just dickish. Granted, the majority of these targets uploaded the videos themselves as a desperate attention grab, but that somehow makes it all even more unseemly.

I’ve never had more respect for Joel McHale than after watching Daniel Tosh do his thing. That McHale can mock stupid people for a half hour every single week and still come out likable is a monumentally impressive feat.

His Clothes

His Twitter Feed

It’s not easy to be funny on Twitter. Anyone who’s following us on Twitter knows that. But it takes real effort to be as consistently unfunny as Tosh is on his feed. Some of his recent bon mots:

  • has anyone ever died of diarrhea? thank you peruvian restaurant for putting me on a surprise cleanse.
  • it may be too late for some of you guys, but you do need to perfect both styles of masterbation [sic]: dry and lubricated
  • the trick to running a marathon is to run super fast so you dont have to run as long. FACT!
  • “real housewives” you keep pretending that you have meaningful careers and ill pretend that you are more than just housewives.

Man. Where can I catch this guy’s act live?

His Jokes

As I said earlier, if Tosh were funny, he wouldn’t seem like such a terrible person. But the fact that he’s desperately trying to be funny and falling flat on his face magnifies his plentiful flaws.

His punchlines are always the most obvious possible choice of the infinite number of possible ways to end a given joke:

  • [a video plays of a terrible weatherman] Tosh: “We don’t need weatherman in California because there’s only one kind of weather here: nice.”
  • Tosh: “Unbreakable. Just like the bond between Levi and Bristol.”

And the jokes themselves are often rooted in cruelty instead of humor. Some examples:

  • [a video plays of an old person dancing] Tosh: (singing) “Hey Oldie, it’s your birthday/We’re gonna party because you’re probably gonna die real soon”
  • [a video plays of an one-legged man dancing with a partner] Tosh: “And one and one and one and one and one and one and….”

The jokes are often sexist (comparing a women’s breasts to weather balloons) and homophobic (using “gay” as a pejorative term consistently). And did I mention trite? (A Chris Farley van-down-by-the-river impression)

His Persona

Fratty sexist douche. Redundant, I know.

His “Wackiness”

Tosh.0 is an abortion of a TV show. In watching several episodes, there was never any threat I might laugh. (But it’s a man in a dress! That’s funny! Always!) This program is “comedy” only in the sense that the irreversible decline of our society is hilarious. Watching Tosh.0 is somehow more depressing than staying up all night, drinking by yourself, and watching the same five or six YouTube videos over and over again.

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8 Comments

Filed under Television Has AIDS, The Dilemma

8 responses to “Tosh.TheDeclineofWesternCivilization

  1. Pingback: The Top 12 PCHA Comments of 2013 | Pop Culture Has AIDS

  2. Tosh.0 is the best show on comedy central you people don’t know shit!

  3. Shane moline

    You are probably the dumbest person I have come across. Obviously Daniel tosh’ humor flys completely over your tiny, dull, close-minded head. If you maybe watched more than one episode of tosh.0 you would see that he I a genius who has no boundaries and will shit on anyone and I mean ANYONE. No one is safe when it comes to him. Show me a comedian who has the balls to do that. Besides that his wardrobe is a joke. He wears those clothes sarcastically you douche bag. And lastly if you actually took a second to think about the context of his jokes instead if hating him so much and ignoring them, you would find he is pretty goddamn intelligent making spot on references to everything. If he’s as not funny as you claim, why did he have more viewers than any show on Comedy Central history?

  4. Joe Bob

    I love The Soup. Tosh.0 is very crude. I never watch it with my parents around. With that said, hands down, it’s the funniest show on TV. The teen scene loves it. Funnier than The Soup.

  5. Pingback: The Top 12 PCHA Comments of the Year | Pop Culture Has AIDS

  6. seattle loc

    Yeah and tosh is the one with the tv show on comedy central and you are a lonely old man living with your mom in her basement sippin on that hateraide. If you dont like or think it’s an “abortion to television” then dont watch it.

  7. Riley

    sweet article…not. it looks like you really have a lot of fans who read your articles. CONGRATS! Everybody has their own taste in comedy, and comparing your style with Daniel’s it looks like he’s got you beat by a few…..million. too bad your glory days of writing in your high school newspaper are over, because you obviously don’t have the the talent or skills to get a real job

  8. All I can say is thank you.

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