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July 19, 2007

Mencia: The Most Orignal Comedic Mind In The Universe

Mid-level comic/UFC ringside announcer (that's a weird combo) Joe Rogan has been on a tear about Carlos Mencia's notorious joke stealing.

In case you haven't seen him confront Mencia about this -- with other comics coming forward to say, "Yeah, you stole that bit from me" -- here it is. Worth watching.

Well, this is going to give Joe Rogan a stroke.

A very well done parody of David Blaine's street magic schtick, linked here, on Hot Air, everywhere:

And, in the sequel, note that one of his freakiest tricks is apparating (sp? I got that from Harry Potter) the dude's orange soda into the other dude's mouth.

Those videos have been viewed eight million times each. They are not obscure.

Now for Carlos Mencia's very original sketch.

Notice any... similarities?

Incidentally, Carlos Mencia's a real dick. He got Rogan blackballed from the Comedy Store in LA and got his agent to dump him. (They shared an agent, or at least an agency; the Gersh Agency dumped Rogan on Mencia's demand. A few comics left in solidarity, including Louis CK and Nick "Gay Robot" Swarsden.)

Now, okay, Rogan was kind of threatening Mencia's career, I guess. But you're really not supposed to steal material as a comic, are you? Maybe Rogan was making too big of a deal of this, but now Mencia's basically using his leverage (this hack has leverage? The mind boggles) to destroy Rogan's career.

Asshole move, man.

Maybe if you could write your own fucking jokes this unpleasantness could have been avoided.

Maybe Rogan Could Get Cosby's Juice On His Side: I noted this earlier, but man, this is one of the most ridiculous swipes ever. Bill Cosby's Himself concert film was famous at the time, and still is. Revived his popularity as a stand-up and entertainer -- and, unless my memory is wrong, the strength of Himself is what landed him the Cosby Show deal.

And this is one of Cosby's more famous bits from that show, though, actually, they're all pretty famous.

Mencia swiped it almost verbatim, down to some of Cosby's cadences and repetitions.

Is he just retarded? Is he like a serial killer who just wants to be caught?

Thanks to z ryan for reminding me of that.

Been Caught Stealin': More good stuff under the fold.


Mencia was on a morning-zoo type radio show making his case against Rogan's complaints. As soon as he goes off the air, the DJs say one of the jokes he dropped during his interview was, in fact, swiped from other DJs. Then says he'll never have Mencia on the air again for swiping a joke while claiming he doesn't swipe jokes.

S told me this goes on all the time, and told me to google "Robin Williams joke thief."

I'm glad I did. I hate Robin Williams, so nothing makes me happier than to learn that Williams was such a notorious, and despised, thief that comedy clubs would flash their warning lights when Williams walked in to alert comedians to embargo any material they wanted to keep their own.

More on Williams' reputation as a plagiarist here, as told by the comedians he worked with stole material and therefore money from.

Also named as bigtime thief in that first article is Dane Cook, largely based on his alleged swiping of three Louis CK bits on a single Dane Cook album. This light-content warning audio puts the bits side by side for comparison, and I have to say I'm not really sold. It's one thing to use the same general premise for a bit -- like naming you kids weird names -- and another thing to use the same actual jokes in riffing out that premise. I'm not really sure Cook's stuff is that similar to Louis CK's, but your mileage may vary. In any event, Cook seems to have a longer rap sheet than that; other people accuse him of stealing, too.

Denis Leary is accused of stealing the attitude and tone of Bill Hicks, but I think that's crap. Bill Hicks was overrated, has cultish fans who claim everything he did was great and innovative, and, um, I don't think someone can patent being acerbic.

Even the article admits the charge is pretty murky -- and besides that, Hicks was accused by Kinnison of stealing his attitude and tone.

One big theft accusation I'm surprised wasn't mentioned -- Paul Reiser, I think, long hated Jerry Seinfeld for supposedly swiping the basics of his act (odd observations, being Jewish, whatever). Again, I don't know if one can lay claim to the idea of discussing trivial matters and making wry observations about them. Maybe Seinfeld did emulate Reiser in this approach, but it just doesn't seem the sort of thing one can claim as "protected" by the comedian's code of ethics.

At any rate, thanks for the tip, S. But it doesn't convince me very much. First, comedians who steal material are hated, and it's not common enough to actually be accepted.

As A Palette-Cleanser: Some material that definitely wasn't ripped off. Skip to the second one if you're not lovin' the first one. The second one's better, but they're actually sequential and I like them both.

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posted by Ace at 10:42 PM

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