I’ve just started reading Mark Watson’s book Crap at the Environment (more on him later; he is GREAT), and I came upon a quote that pretty much sums up stand-up:
I can’t afford to have boring topics in my repertoire – not when my entire career, like the career of any comic, is basically a desperate struggle to persuade as many as possible to love me.
Now on to the topic of the day…
Joke plagiarism. Not a pretty topic, but one I figured I’d bring up after finding this article yesterday, entitled ‘Is There Ever a Justification for Joke Stealing?’ My opinion: no. If you did plagiarize a joke, there’s a good chance it’s not your fault; apologize, take the joke out of your set, and move on. No need for any fuss.
Not surprisingly, as this article from last year states, plagiarism is much more of a problem for one-liner comedians like Jimmy Carr and Gary Delaney (you should follow Gary on Twitter). One-liners are really easy to repeat and repost, especially to Twitter. Delaney in particular has had problems with his jokes being reposted without attribution on Sickipedia, a website that collates funny stuff and is supposedly a forum for budding comedians. He contacted the website and asked them (very reasonably) to take down his jokes. Their response was less than gentlemanly, to which I can only say: why are people such jerks?? (…And this whole attribution thing reminds me of yesterday’s kerfuffle when a magazine editor said that the Internet is public domain. DUH.)