The folks at Conan are at the center of a new lawsuit that seems to at least have a bit of DNA related to the new Twitter crackdown on joke thieves. But instead of tweeting jokes out, someone at the show is allegedly taking jokes from online to use for the comedian’s opening monologues.
Robert Alexander Kaseberg filed a complaint in California against Conan and those involved with the show over a number of jokes he alleges were lifted from his personal blog and Twitter account earlier this year. Kaseberg alleges that he attempted to calmly sort this out on more friendly terms with the show’s head writer Mike Sweeney (also listed in the complaint), but was reportedly hit with a lot of anger:
The purpose of my call was not to cause trouble, but to suggest that if I was writing jokes so similar (in fact the exact same) to theirs, I should be contributing jokes to the show.
I swear that was all I wanted.
To my delight, they put my Wednesday 9:30 am call right through to Mike Sweeney, the head writer for “Conan.”
That was the end of the good news.
For what seemed like 15 agonizing minutes, Mike Sweeney, the head writer of “Conan,” angrily and loudly denied those were my jokes. He was furious that I was accusing them of stealing jokes, but most of all he was incensed that I would suggest his writers would have anything to do with my pathetic blog and it’s author, me, a no-name failure.
At one point Mike Sweeney said, after he got my message, he went on my blog and he saw the jokes, but they were not the jokes used for “Conan.”
The entire exchange including an outline of the jokes in question can be found at the blog. They’re your honest, typical type of monologue jokes which Kaseberg alleges were taken word for word by the staff. Here’s a small example:
“A Delta flight from Cleveland to New York took off with only two passengers. And they wrestled for control of the armrest the entire flight.”
That joke, word-for-word, was on Conan’s monologue the next day on January 15.
The Hollywood Reporter reached out to Conaco for a comment on the allegations and responded by saying that the company believes “there is no merit to this lawsuit.”
Andy Richter also gave his own version of a statement on Twitter:
Hard to tell where this will end, but it would seem that we’ve entered a very new realm of the new media landscape. I’m not entirely sure how far a Twitter user can go against someone they allege is stealing their material, but I can see where folks will want it taken seriously. This example also carries a lot of baggage with it outside the initial allegations, so there’s a lot to comb through for the folks at Conan and in the courts. Take a look at the full complaint here.
(Via The Hollywood Reporter)