Recently in the comedy world a large debate was sparked over an incident featuring well known comedian Daniel Tosh.
For those who aren’t aware an audience member was offended by Daniel Tosh making a joke about rape. The audience member then blogged about her experience. In the blog she claims that when she interjected saying “I don’t find rape funny!” Tosh responded by encouraging the audience to rape her.
This incited a lot of online debate over what is and isn’t ‘fair game’ in comedy, and also on the responsibility of comics. One such discussion was published on comedy website Bon Vivant.
Whilst most of my views are published in that discussion here is a quick re-cap. I have seen too many amazing acts do taboo subjects in a clever way to rule any subject as off limits to comedy. In fact the best examples create discussion and humanise topics that we may be afraid of.
Secondly, heckling is stupid. If people are enjoying a show and you are not it’s not your place to ruin it for everyone else. If you disagree, leave quietly. If you are really passionate in your disapproval voice your complaint to the venue or comic after the show.
Lastly and where this issue gets really controversial is his response. Whilst it’s all good and well to say ‘it was only a joke’ it was a joke she clearly didn’t get, so the reply was out of hand, to the point of victimising her. At the end of the day a stage and a microphone doesn’t stop you from being a bully.