Rob Delaney Has What Should Be the Final Word on Joke Plagiarism
I had the good fortune some years ago to have a joke stolen from me and performed on TV by a comic I knew. At first I was upset, but then I realized that, poor etiquette aside, the guy was funny and he would’ve been on TV with or without my joke. I also realized that if I couldn’t immediately write several more jokes to replace it, then I wasn’t funny, and I had no business calling myself a comedian. So I forced myself to make a mental adjustment and decide that the guy had done me a giant favor. And he had. I became much less precious about material. Of course I’d be “proud” of a good joke, but I knew to thicken my skin and just produce. My silent motto when I began to encounter joke theft on Twitter was “Go ahead and take ‘em, motherfucker. Here come five more.” My goal as a comedian became to be a Delta Force Operator of humor that you could throw in an empty room with nothing and I could make something funny and kill people with it. This remains my goal.
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
Update: Delaney clarifies on his Tumblr:
Obviously if you steal jokes, you’re a cunt. I was just saying that I’m not going to hunt down joke thieves; I’m going to write more jokes instead. You can choose where to put your energy. I don’t want to be a joke accountant or cop, I just want to write them. It doesn’t mean joke theft isn’t patently wrong.