Posts tagged as Joke Stealing

Russell Peters Played a Late April Fools' "Prank" on Everyone by Calling Trevor Noah a Joke Thief

Trevor Noah has been at the center of much internet backlash since Comedy Central hired him as the next Daily Show host last week, but the latest controversy surrounding Noah has turned out to be a "prank" by Canadian comic Russell Peters. Peters made headlines yesterday when he raised some serious joke theft accusations against Noah on a Singapore TV show: "He’s also a thief, but that’s irrelevant," Peters told the interviewer. When pressed for specifics, Peters didn't provide any examples of stolen jokes and kept the accusation vague: "He’s stolen material from David Kau, he’s stolen material from myself. You know, [...]

'SNL,' the Groundlings, and the Parallel Thinking Excuse

Members of Los Angeles' famed Groundlings theater company have made headlines by accusing SNL of lifting their sketch during last weekend's Sarah Silverman episode. The piece in question, "River Sisters," featured Silverman, Cecily Strong, and Sasheer Zamata as a Tina Turner tribute act performing "Proud Mary" on a crummy river cruise, which many have noticed bears a strong resemblance to a sketch that has been running at the Groundlings for several weeks, with Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland as identically-dressed Tina Turner lookalikes, similarly bemoaning their careers to the song (except in a casino). Groundlings teacher Ian Gary claimed that SNL writers have plagiarized "many, many" of the theater's bits in the past, with victims too [...]

So a Corporation Has Stolen Your Joke

In my fulltime job as Humor Editor for Groupon, I’m confronted daily by how difficult it can be to make a large company’s social media presence seem funny and engaging, especially to a broad demographic that might not all share the same sense of humor. It’s a brave new world out there for marketing departments trying to develop an “internetty” sense of humor on the fly, and even a casual glance reveals more misses than hits.

Despite technically getting paid to write jokes—a complete travesty that would have lead any other culture in the history of the world to put me to death by now for being a waste [...]

Is This the Most Plagiarized Joke of All Time?

A few years ago I was flipping through Twitter and saw this joke:

Those first two guys who thought Superman was a bird or a plane, what were they so excited about?

Weeks later I was at an open mic and I heard a comic tell the same joke on stage. I couldn’t figure out why it felt like I had heard that particular comic’s material before, even though I knew I had never seen him perform. Eventually I remembered the tweet. I cared for about a day and then decided not to anymore. If I were to start worrying about every open mic comic who steals material I’d drive [...]

'THR' Explains Why Jokes Aren't Always Covered by the Copyright Act

THR ran an interesting guest column over the weekend called "Why It's So Hard to Get the Law to Protect a Good Joke" that explores intellectual rights and the Copyright Act in the context of joke theft accusations between comedians, pointing out the craft of comedy as some of the most difficult material to protect due to its always-evolving nature. From the article:

Although comedians may start with a written work — a script — the performance of the work rarely occurs without deviation. As a result, copyright may not issue because the work of authorship is not "fixed" in the manner necessary to establish a basis for [...]

Who Cares About Joke Stealing?

Unpopular Opinions is a new weekly column in which a writer takes a stand against popular opinion, whether it's asserting the true merit of a supposedly guilty pleasure or dissenting against the universally lauded.

Joke “stealing” is not a new phenomenon. Hell, Milton Berle basically made a career out of it, earning himself the nickname, “The Thief of a Bad Gag.” With the rise of the Internet and cellphone cameras, however, it seems like fans have started to care more. But how did something that used to only be a comedy community matter give birth to a legion of joke vigilantes?

Let’s start with a couple examples.

Example [...]

Marvin Gaye, Robin Thicke, and Why Nobody Cares About Stolen Jokes

On Tuesday a jury in Los Angeles found Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams guilty of copyright infringement and ordered them to pay $7.3 million for copying elements of Marvin Gaye’s 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” for Thicke’s 2013 hit “Blurred Lines.” Quickly after this story broke, there was a flurry of speculation about what this means for music — does it establish an overly tight interpretation of what it means to copy a song? Does it eliminate the grey area between referencing or being influenced by a previous artist and claiming their ideas as your own?

The whole thing made me think of this [...]

Did E! Rip Off 'Nikki and Sara Live'?

Earlier today, Nikki Glaser sent a sad tweet out to her followers: "So, @ENews blatantly stole a bit from my old MTV show. It feels really shitty." Glaser included a clip from Nikki and Sara Live, the 2013 talk show she co-hosted with Sara Schaefer, in which a counter dings every time the ladies touch a celebrity on the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards. It's a move they dubbed the "gentle arm touch" to make fun of E!'s annoying need to get buddy-buddy with famous people, but it seems like E! may have hijacked this bit for their own gain. So did E! blatantly steal this [...]

Australia's Got Talent, Rampant Joke Thievery

Everyone's a comedian, particularly if they're actively stealing material from other, real comedians. Following a solid performance on Australia's Got Talent, Jordan Paris received "an enormous amount of exposure" once it became obvious he was regurgitating material he'd "borrowed," i.e. bold-face stole, from comedians Lee Mack and Geoff Keith. Having made it to the semifinals before the scandalousness broke, Paris made a profoundly misguided attempt to laugh off his theft by making his final set entirely about his joke-stealing. It is incredibly painful to watch. That being said, when he starts singing, "I Started A Joke," doesn't it sort of transcend his crime and transform into a work [...]