A well-known comedian has apologized for aiming a rape joke at a woman who was in the audience during a recent stand-up performance at a Los Angeles comedy club, The Huffington Post reports.
Daniel Tosh, who’s best known for his “Tosh.0” TV show, apologized after a detailed account of the incident at the Laugh Factory was posted on Tumblr.
Tosh issued a series of tweets about the situation, including one that reads: “all the out of context misquotes aside, i’d like to sincerely apologize.”
He also issued a post calling the audience member a heckler: “the point i was making before i was heckled is there are awful things in the world but you can still make jokes about them. #deadbabies”
The Tumblr post, titled “So a Girl Walks into a Comedy Club ….,” contains an apparent first-person account by the audience member, which includes this passage:
“So Tosh then starts making some very generalizing, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny, how can a rape joke not be funny, rape is hilarious, etc. I don’t know why he was so repetitive about it but I felt provoked because I, for one, DON’T find them funny and never have. So I didnt appreciate Daniel Tosh (or anyone!) telling me I should find them funny. So I yelled out, ‘Actually, rape jokes are never funny!’ …
“After I called out to him, Tosh paused for a moment. Then, he says, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, 5 guys right now? Like right now? What if a bunch of guys just raped her …’ and I, completely stunned and finding it hard to process what was happening but knowing i needed to get out of there, immediately nudged my friend, who was also completely stunned, and we high-tailed it out of there. It was humiliating, of course, especially as the audience guffawed in response to Tosh, their eyes following us as we made our way out of there. I didn’t hear the rest of what he said about me.”
The account of the incident has been picked up by a number of blogs and websites, prompting both the apology by Tosh and a response by the owner of the Laugh Factory, who came out in support of Tosh.
The Huffington Post reports: “Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada, who claims to have been present the night of Tosh’s show, has told Buzzfeed that the comedian’s exchange with the offended audience member didn’t happen the way she described.
“According to Masada, Tosh didn’t make a joke about the woman getting raped and the topic arose when the comedian asked the audience what they wanted to talk about and someone said ‘rape.’ He says that this is when the woman called out to Tosh, and that he responded like so:
"’Daniel came in, and he said, “Well it sounds like she’s been raped by five guys” — something like that. I really didn’t hear properly.’"
Masada also said the audience member remained for Tosh’s full set and did not complain at the time.