True Stories I Made Up

by: Daniel Tosh

Take the rapid wit of Dane Cook and trade his hyper-cockiness for dry wickedness and you've got Daniel Tosh, which is by all means a compliment. Tosh matches Cook's ability to spit wry crassness, but he's more absurd and complex. Much of his material hits two to three seconds after the fact, partly because it takes awhile to unravel and partly because of the "I can't believe he just said that" factor. The title True Stories I Made Up is the least witty thing about this package, but it references a core routine, "Fictitious Disorder," that will one day be thought of as trademark Tosh. The comedian explains how living in denial is easier than reality on the track, and goes off on a long series of made-up stories that connect. It's the brilliant, standup equivalent of a Rube Goldberg machine, but Tosh's less obtuse, blunter, edgier, and crueler side is just as funny. Suggesting athletes should be pumped with steroids because he has a high-def TV and wants his sports like his video games ("Who cares if you die at 40, you hate life after sports anyway. I'm doing you a favor") or drawing comparisons between the Abu Ghraib prison and the world of baby photographer Anne Geddes is sick and downright startling when delivered so casually by the comedian. In a lot of ways he juggles and alienates the audience in an Andy Kaufman style but without breaking the rules of standup. It's exciting and subversive and you only need to gauge the audience reaction captured on the disc to see how effective it is. At first they are quiet, probably creeped out, but by the end of the disc they're guffawing. The bonus DVD from his 2002 Comedy Central special is less interesting, either because Tosh hasn't matured his act to the sharpness of the audio portion or because the network's censors shaved off the more risky and rewarding material. It's a letdown, but the audio portion of the set is one sick, twisted, and hilarious stunner of a debut. ~ David Jeffries

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