“I love you!” an enthused female audience member screamed out during a lull in Daniel Tosh’s Friday set at Eisenhower Auditorium.
“I have little to no feelings toward you,” he responded without hesitation. “Maybe you shouldn’t put yourself out there so quickly.”
Saying Daniel Tosh doesn’t worry about the things you and I do really doesn’t do his personality justice. It’s hard to capture the genius of the blunt nature of his comedy without his unapologetic, yet somehow endearing delivery. But it’s just not his on-stage persona – the guy really just doesn’t care about the same things many of today’s popular comics do.
He doesn’t sell merchandise after shows. He doesn’t care whether you pay for his albums or pirate them illegally. He refuses to do “classic” bits by request. He doesn’t think twice about making light of a little girl being struck by a car on his street.
In print, some of this sounds reprehensible – and understandably so. But Tosh is so damn funny you can’t help but forgive him.
“Just once, I wish I’d hear a sportscaster say, ‘Wow, black people are FAST.'”
It’s almost as if your id is on stage and saying every little politically incorrect thing you wish you’d never thought. At the same time, his comedy doesn’t come off as ignorant, but perversely enlightened. Of course, that’s only if you understand that when he says he’d buy a t-shirt from urban outfitters that read “I <3 Abortions,” he’s kidding.
During a set that ran easily over and hour and fifteen minutes, Tosh took no prisoners. During the first half of the set, which was mostly based on current events, he called Maggie Gyllenhal a “monster,” Fergie “fugly,” and made the case for Michael Phelps’ participation in the Special Olympics based on the swimmer’s facial features.
While this segment may have been the highlight for those who hadn’t seen Tosh’s comedy before, well-versed followers likely enjoyed the latter third of the show. The last 20 minutes of the show worked as a stream-of-consciousness, impulse-driven showcase, during which Tosh walked through an entire row of the audience, stood on a stool to reach the highest possible point of the mic stand, and rattled off one-shot jokes like, “I want to play Pictionary with the guy from the UPS commercials,” and “I will not date a girl from China. Because that’s a big red flag.”
Tosh may have taken a few minutes to warm up and segue between major bits, but overall the show was superb considering the ticket price (Free? Thanks, Student Programming Association!). Despite the incendiary nature of his material, it never felt narrow or exclusionary. While it may not have been the best entertainment for the easily offended, his comedy certainly resonated with the student-heavy crowd.
In my opinion, SPA’s selection of Daniel Tosh was nothing short of a slam-dunk. Within two months of bringing Bo Burnham to Happy Valley, the organization has made Spring 2009 a great semester for fans of blue comedy.