There’s been a lot going around recently about Amy Schumer allegedly stealing jokes from other comedians, with videos like this one popping up all over the internet, comparing material from both her stand-up and Inside Amy Schumer against sources it was supposedly lifted from. Yes, some of the instances are more of a stretch than others, but when laid all out, it certainly doesn’t look good for the popular comedian.
In an episode of his podcast the Joe Rogan Experience this week, Joe Rogan talks with Hannibal Buress about the scandal (or “talks to,” because Buress seems reluctant to delve too much into the topic, later admitting that Schumer is a close friend of his) and of everything that’s been said, Rogan really seems to put things into perspective. While not denying that any wrongdoing seems to have taken place, Rogan makes the excellent point that when one particular entertainer is being scrutinized to the level Schumer is, of course there are going to be things that come out. And being that the most egregious examples of plagiarism seem to come from her Comedy Central series, he wonders how much blame her writers are to shoulder in all of this.
Rogan says that “at the very least, there’s an originality problem.” While Kathleen Madigan’s concept of having someone slap food out of your mouth is not in itself original (and was done on The Flintstones before either woman used it), the fact that it was coupled back-to-back with Madigan’s other bit about exercising in your sleep is certainly problematic.
Not that plagiarism or joke theft is ever acceptable, Rogan points out that the problem is more widespread than most people realize, citing back to the ’90s when In Living Color writers had to be kicked out of The Comedy Store for stealing material from stand-up comedians. He even goes so far to claim that even NBC was once guilty of it, citing a comedian friend who had a pending development deal with the network, only to have one of his bits about muffin tops later turn up on Seinfeld.
Regardless of where you sit on the issue, the whole thing is worth a listen to hear from the perspective of two comedians. The clip above has been edited down to the relevant parts, but you can watch the full interview below:
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