Stealing Jokes

There is a bit of a bru ha ha going on.  In a recent episode of Australia Got Talent a guy doing stand up got through to the semi finals.  It came out pretty soon after that some of his material was lifted whole from other comedian, ones as it turned out were more well know than him.

I have covered the concept of Joke copyright before, it is a strange one.  It is surprisingly self-regulating.  I managed to secure and open mic gig in Berlin, Germany.  It went well, thanks for asking, but towards the end of the gig one guy started doing a Sarah Silverman bit, the one about how you can’t smell yourself.  After he said the word “yourself” the whole room went ooh, and you could see on his face he knew he’d been caught out. Though I was at another competition and a guy lifted Bill Hicks word for word, inflection for inflection, even down to saying the word dinosaurs the same way and no one noticed.  However if you want to step up to the professional level no-one seems to able to get away with it, Denis Leary/Bill Hicks non with standing.

There is a big comment thread about how right or wrong it is, I just hopes it gets Aussies thinking about comedy and going out there looking for it, as right now, there’s not much comedy going on because no one is looking for it

Any way here is a blow-by-blow of the copied material.

AGT contestant, Australia’s Got Talent, May 2011
”A few years ago I went and saw Robbie Williams … what I noticed is, Robbie only sings like half a song. (Sings) ‘Come on Australia you know this one,’ (points microphone to audience). I was like ‘Yeah we do Robbie, it was 150 bucks to get in mate, any chance you could sing it for us?’ That’s like me getting up here going ‘Oh gee, a funny thing happened to me on the way here tonight guys. Come on I think you know this one…’ (points microphone to audience).”

Lee Mack, Live at the Apollo, December 2007
”Can someone tell Robbie Williams that this doesn’t constitute entertainment: ‘Come on Glastonbury you know this one,’ (points microphone to audience). ‘Yeah we know it Robbie, it was 150 quid to get in, any chance you could sing it for us?’ I couldn’t get away with that could I, I couldn’t come on here and go ‘Hey, a funny thing happened to me on the way here tonight, come on you know this one…’ (points microphone at audience).

AGT contestant, Australia’s Got Talent, May 2011
”I’ve only got three requirements when it comes to girls. Number one, are you a girl? Number two, have you always been a girl? And number three, if not, can you keep a secret?”

Geoff Keith, posted on Comedy Central in 2007
”I only have three requirements when it comes to girls, ready: One, are you a girl? Have you always been a girl? And if not can you keep a secret?”

*I’m not using the dudes name because I don’t want to improve his google rating

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