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Tosh, performing in Tampa, climbing comedic ladder


Published:   |   Updated: June 26, 2013 at 03:50 PM

Daniel Tosh isn't quiet, but his rise up the comedic ladder has been a bit under the radar.

The star of Comedy Central's "Tosh. 0," who will perform two sold-out shows Thursday at the Straz Center, is making serious headway courtesy of his comedy. Last summer he impressed while performing at an Atlantic City casino.

The ubiquitous Howie Mandel cracked wise at the same gambling house (the Borgata) that night.

Guess which stand-up played before 6,000 enthusiastic fans?

It wasn't Mandel, who has greater credits and name recognition than Tosh. The veteran actor and game show host delivered his zany brand of humor at the casino's cozy club while Tosh captivated fans with his unpredictable, colorful and often politically incorrect comedy at the SRO hall.

"I'm just out there working as hard as I can," Tosh said. "I'll play to whatever audience comes out. Things have gone really well for me. It's all good."

The charismatic Tosh, 38, is humble and soft-spoken while chatting, but he has presence to burn on the big stage.

Part of Tosh's appeal is that he often pushes the envelope.

"People have to remember that I'm a comedian," Tosh said. "I'm just joking."

Tosh, who grew up in Titusville and went to the University of Central Florida, is fast on his feet whether on stage or on "Tosh. 0," where he goofs on Internet clips.

"What's great about the Internet is that the material never ends," Tosh said. "There's always something to have fun with."

The imaginative Tosh, who lives in Los Angeles, doesn't have to look far for material since anything is fodder for him. Gambling is a fun topic for Tosh, who admits that he has a penchant for laying down bets. Fortunately most of his shows are in cities without casinos.

"It's always a risk for me (playing casinos) because I have some issues when it comes to betting," Tosh admitted. "I have a love/hate relationship with Las Vegas. One of my most vivid memories is lying on my back on the sidewalk when I was 24. I blew every penny I had gambling there. I'll bet anything. I lost $15,000 (once). It was the perfect storm of bad cards. I love to gamble."

Tosh has a lot more to lose a decade after his disastrous night in Vegas. "It's true," Tosh said. "But I've always been a risk-taker."

If he weren't, odds are that Tosh never would have become a stand-up comic, which is a challenging gig with no security.

"The odds certainly aren't in your favor as a stand-up comic," Tosh said. "You're definitely taking a chance there, but on the other hand, I don't know what else I'm qualified to do."

Well, Tosh, who has been part of some films, most notably "The Love Guru," can act.

"Acting is fine, but I like stand-up since I don't have to wait around for eight hours to shoot a scene," Tosh said. "I'm a stand-up at heart. It's cool because I'm doing exactly what I want to do. How many people can say that?"

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