Tosh.N0: Challenging the Hegemonic Humor of Tosh.0

Original Print A“‘Rape jokes are never funny,’ shouted a woman in the audience at a comedy show in Los Angeles in 2012. Daniel Tosh swiveled his body and gazed at her, then looked back at the audience and asked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she got raped by, like, five guys? Like, right now?” Daniel Tosh, the host of Comedy Central’s popular show Tosh.0, frequently toes the line on sexist, racist, classist, and overall exploitative commentary.”
—Ally Nagasawa-Hinck, Ariannis Hines, Jules Feeney, and Njeri Summey (Block 5 2016)

Original Print B“Tosh’s success in the industry can be explained by David Nylund’s assertion that ‘the media industry, therefore, often mobilizes measure around conservative ideologies that have oppressive effects on women, homosexuals and people of color’ (232). Tosh’s jokes often adhere to traditional gender roles, classist attitudes of superiority, racists stereotypes, and narcissism […] The images that advertise Tosh.0 consistently portray Daniel Tosh as a funny, powerful male through conventionalized (normalized) indicators of masculinized body language.”

[NOTE: Due to difficulties with embedding, please click here to view the Tosh.0 clip.]

“While the vast majority of Tosh’s comments on the show are problematic, we focus on three specific examples that highlight his sexist and classist rhetoric. [This clip] illustrates Tosh’s use of assumption-driven, belittling, and problematic humor. When commenting on the YouTube video “Worst Prank Ever,” Tosh remarks on the family in the video’s living space, family structure, and the maternal figure’s appearance through embedded sexist and classist ideologies.”

New Print B“In order to accomplish our counter-hegemonic goals, we re-appropriate his jokes by mimicking their format and timing in a way that flips the power dynamic. By designating Njeri, a Black and Queer woman, as the Tosh.N0 host, we challenge Tosh’s authority and symbolically give power to a marginalized voice.”

“By replacing Tosh’s white male body with two Black female bodies, we invert the concept of ‘whitewashing,’ a phenomena that Lori Kito Lopez claims represents whiteness as ‘both invisible and dominant'(639). In other words, race in white male identities is often unacknowledged. Further, white men are overwhelmingly represented in mainstream media, while women of color are marginalized. The act of photographing Njeri and Ariannis in this way granted their identities true representation.”


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