Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
September 9, 2007.
“I don’t have a
girlfriend in every city in the country,” Daniel Tosh explains.
some people think: why shouldn’t he? He’s young. He’s single. He’s a hip
and happening stand-up comedian. The women must be lining up, right?
“When somebody brings
that up, it’s such a ridiculous statement when you think of how many cities
there are,” Tosh continues, a little frustrated. “Even if you had a
girlfriend in every state, you’re still talking about 50 girlfriends. That
doesn’t even sound appealing to me.”
He’s right. That
sounds like too much work. He would have to keep names straight, keep
stories straight and buy tons of gifts. It would be a logistical
“I mean, if we could
do it by region,” he acknowledges, perhaps enjoying the idea of a midwestern
girl, an eastern girl, a Cali girl and a southern
girl… “Five or six [quality women]. That’s way more understandable.”
much for all those fantasies people have of a romantic life on the road for
the stand-up comedians. Tosh is the first to acknowledge it’s much more
sedate than most people expect.
“Typical road comics,” Tosh admits, “we just go into Barnes & Noble and sit
down and read books and never purchase them.”
that Daniel Tosh is what anyone can call a typical road comic (well, no one
can except for himself). Riding the wave of stand-up coolness for over a
decade now, Tosh has had two specials on Comedy Central, released two CDs
and two DVDs – the most recent being the sarcastic, surreal and very funny
a long way from his early years, growing up in Florida as the son of a
“Don’t keep the reins too tight on your son or he’ll grow up to be a comic,”
Tosh says. “The lesson I think every parent could learn.”
was in that environment that the seeds of his comic future took root. As a
marketing major at The University of Central Florida it became a passion,
with Tosh hitting as many open-mike nights and comedy clubs as he could get
built a following; even getting enough of a name that he had the opportunity
to host a local TV show. “That was just me interviewing hot girls on the
beach and making fun of them,” Tosh says. “It worked well.”
what does his preacher dad think of Tosh’s act, which is very funny but can
occasionally get a little racy?
“He’s no longer a preacher,” Tosh says. “His days were numbered. He’s very
supportive. He digs the whole thing. He turns a blind eye to a lot of my
antics. And he gets it. He’s known me for a pretty long time. I’m
an idiot… and a pretty sarcastic one. So, he can handle it. Now he runs
the calendar section of the MySpace page and my website. He feels like he’s
a show biz father.”
Tosh finally decided to
take his show on the road and has spent over a decade playing gigs in smoky
comedy joints as the buzz grew. In 2001, he got the chance to play Late
Show with David Letterman. Since then he’s made the rounds of the talk
shows. He also was a regular on VH1’s snarky talking heads news series
Best Week Ever – an experience that he candidly admits he hated. “I did
their first year that show was on. That wasn’t my world. For $500.00 an
episode, I was like… this is like slavery for television. I’m not doing
experiences led to a fruitful relationship with Comedy Central (“Bravo said
no.” he laughs.) The cable network aired Tosh’s first half-hour special in
2003, and then released his first CD and DVD True Stories I Made Up
in 2005. In 2007, his hour-long standup special Completely Serious
was also released on CD and DVD.
I started standup comedy in the mid-90s, it was kind of a dead time of
stand-up comedy. Everybody said the comedy boom had passed – whatever that
meant. You know, the heydays of coke and Sam Kinison. But I did come along
at a great time for television. Comedy Central was just getting flushed
out. I grew up with the channel. I am their demographics. It was an easy
fit with them. I really like them. That’s not say that one day I wouldn’t
love to do an HBO special, but I pretty much say whatever I want on Comedy
Central. They usually edit it out, but most people when they hear beep
know what ‘fuck’ sounds like.”
loves performing and tries to do more than a show a day for the year.
However, seniority has its privileges and he has established himself enough
as a comic that he can do it on his own terms.
live on the beach in Hermosa Beach, California,” Tosh says. “My days of
killing myself on the road are kind of behind me. I still do just as many
shows now, but when I’m home, I live three blocks away from the Comedy &
Magic Club, which is a big comedy club in Hermosa Beach. I can usually just
go down, walk in and they’ll put me on every show. I’ll just go up and work
on some new material. Then I usually head up to Hollywood at night and do
the Improv and a handful of other clubs in LA. When I’m home, I kind of
just bounce around between the clubs at night. That's not roadwork and it’s
not tiresome at all. I enjoy it, trying to work on new jokes. I’m only
going onstage for maybe 10-20 minutes at a time.”
Still, when he’s not hanging at Hermosa Beach, he has a ravenous following
on campuses all over the country; playing gigs in university towns all
over. He does have a theory as to why college students have embraced him
and why they relate to him.
“Probably because I
date them,” Tosh acknowledges.
of course that isn’t true. He can’t date all college students…
do have a woman preference. That’s my type,” Tosh admits.
However, besides his pro-woman stance, maybe it goes even a
“Probably because I
still dress like an idiot and dress like a college kid,” Tosh says. “I
don’t say they can relate to it. I don’t know if anybody can relate to half
the stupid things I’m saying. But, I’m not up there talking about my wife
and kids. Maybe because I don’t have them; but I don’t know if that is ever
really the style of comedy that I like. There are so many great stand-ups
out there, but I’ve kind of always had a very casual style about doing
stand-up that it didn’t really feel as traditional as the older stand-up
was. It just went over really well with the college kids. This guy is just
talking. It’s not so cheeseball.”
Another reason that he goes over so well is that Tosh also has an admittedly
pathological need to keep his material fresh. He refuses to be that guy who
won’t let go of a joke long after it has lost any meaning.
don’t think anything is beneath me or above me. I’m not going to have an
hour on anything. Right now I’ve got Michael Vick jokes. But, when it runs
it’s course, I’m not the guy that’s like: No, but I really want to hang on
to this monologue…”
Like – for example – Jay Leno doing gags about the judge at the OJ trial,
years after the story’s sell-by date?
“I forgot about Ito,” Tosh admits, the wheels turning in his head. “Now it
might be retro.”
Which brings up references. Tosh enjoyed peppering his act with quirky
subjects like jobs, race, religion, reading The Kite Runner or
Googling Asian ass porn. (“I’m not sure [what that
is],” he admits. “I’ve never actually searched it. That’s the beauty of my
style of comedy. I don’t have to live it to write it.”)
It's just something that the audience can recognize and react to.
like to imbed your act with a lot of references that the joke itself will go
over for everybody, but there might be parts of the joke that just a handful
of people get,” he says. “I kind of enjoy doing that in the set. I mean,
if you watch a Dennis Miller show, I don’t even know if Dennis Miller gets
[most of his references.] So, I’ve never really wanted to do that in my
show. I wouldn’t even be capable of doing that. But, I definitely like to
do things that starts to single out a handful of people. It makes it fun.
A lot of my jokes, while they’re not biographical at all, people who know me
kind of know where jokes came from. There is a lot of hidden meaning behind
stuff – which is kind of fun to do as well.”
Maybe it’s simpler than all that. It is just hugely important to him that
his comedy stays fluid and unexpected. Tosh acknowledges that maybe he
doesn’t need to turn the material over as fast as he does for the actual
live performances. However, he does – and that is the way he feels most
“Just for my own sanity – I can’t stand saying the same stuff over and
over,” Tosh says. “Like, when I’m at shows and people are screaming out
jokes that they want to hear. If I’ve done 45 minutes already, I don’t have
a problem doing some personal requests for the audience. But it is a
bizarre world where people want to hear jokes where they know how they’re
going to end.”
And sanity is a trait that Tosh has – in spades. There is always a bit of
misconception that comedians can use humor to mask other, darker emotions.
“I guess we’re not all completely suicidal,” he says, just a touch
sarcastically. Daniel Tosh has heard all of stories about stand-ups being
angry or unhappy or trying to find validation – and he doesn’t buy it for a
“Most of my comic
friends are complete pussycats,” Tosh says. “I always like to self-analyze
myself. I can over-analyze all the little things that make me go insane and
can set me off. [But] the major things in life, I’m very good with just
going with the flow. Then again, I do live on the beach in California.”
us Let us know what you
Return to the features page.