Daniel Tosh, “Happy Thoughts” (CD/DVD)
At this point in his career, Daniel Tosh has two different personas in the public's eye. To strangers, he's a clever stand-up comedian with observations on modern life and current events. To Comedy Central viewers -- particularly boys-to-men in their teens and 20s, he's the guy they look to to rip into the idiots who embarrass themselves on the Internet. Really they're the same comedian, except the latter's persona has made it easier for the former, delivering ready-made material to built-in audiences of young viewers.
With a rakish grin, Tosh often is smiling while making fun of you and himself at the same time.
On "Happy Thoughts," his first full CD/DVD since 2007's "Completely Serious," Tosh now has a larger audience than ever ready and willing to pay attention to him.
The 57-minute CD version doesn't even bother titling its numbered tracks until the 11th and final track, which Tosh called "Please Kill Me." The DVD version recorded the same show from San Francisco, and adds an 11-minute "encore" of assorted outtakes from the performance, a "day in the life" doc, as well as the performances from his opening acts Jasper Redd and Matt Fulchiron. At one point in the outtakes, Tosh says, "You know what's great about this special? I don't have to do these jokes anymore!" You feel like Tosh reveals a bit more of his real self in the outtakes than during the special itself, as he breaks from the material, repeatedly resorts to self-deprecation and even walks right up the aisles of the audience and riffs perfectly along the way out the back door.
But back to the show, proper. Tosh warns both the live and at-home audience: "If you have ever seen me perform before, I am not good live." He kids. He kids.
He's also kidding when he's offending everybody and everyone, saying that he crosses the line to know that he still has one. Here's an early joke in the set, in which he suggests a solution for illegal immigration, and thereby crosses that proverbial line. Roll it.
Ring of truth award to the closing line of that bit on his younger girlfriend: "She's one opinion away from being replaced." Pause. "I can say that. I have a television show."
Here's another routine in which Tosh decides to give "the real speech" at a high school graduation.
To Tosh, it really boils down to keeping it real, as it were. When it comes to athletes delaying retirement, he takes their side to the extreme. If baseball purists want to put asterisks next to certain records, Tosh has reasons to put them next to all of the other records. The Founding Fathers were full of hooey. The Winter Olympics shows us which country has the most rich white kids. Parents who won't tell their daughters they're not beautiful. Deleted scenes are deleted from movies for a reason, and alternate endings on DVDs really should be alternate. Everyone's a target. As he says, "By the way, these aren't my beliefs. It's my observations on the world I live in. If it changes, I'll adjust the material accordingly."
"Happy Thoughts" may not seem so happy, but it delivers with a mix of topical pop culture riffs with observational material, which should hold you until Tosh puts out the next disc in a few years.
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