A List of Times I Stole Other People's Jokes
Joke thievery is comedy's deadliest sin. The mere accusation can be a career destroyer. In the spirit of full disclosure, here are all the times I can remember stealing jokes.
- •My friend Mike had a great anecdote about seeing "Child's Play 2" in a movie theater where an eight-year-old girl said to her mother, "Mama, I loooooove Chucky." Totally stole this anecdote as my own and told it onstage for years.The first time I showed Mike a tape of my standup, I forgot this bit was in the set. I braced myself for his reaction. He didn't say anything. I pretended it didn't happen, all the while dying of embarrassment.
- •George Lopez was hosting the Emmys. He asked me to write jokes for him. When he introduced "The Amazing Race," I told him to say, "That's what I call white people."A few nights later, at an open mic comedy show, I overheard Zach Galifianakis telling friends: "George Lopez stole my 'Amazing Race' joke on the Emmys!" In a flash, it hit me - I'd heard Zach tell that joke, like, 50 times. The fact that I didn't realize that while pitching it to Lopez was completely insane. I was too embarrassed to apologize to Zach, but I should have.
- •A celebrity paid me to write jokes for his Twitter feed. I was in a writer's room when my friend Travis made an "Inception" joke. I immediately sent it to the celeb - uncredited. 30 minutes later, another writer checking his phone announced, "Travis - this celebrity just stole your Inception joke!"I was mortified. I came clean to Travis, came clean to the celebrity and offered to buy Travis dinner as an apology. He just laughed about it. I love Travis.
- •In junior high, I put on a dress and performed Dana Carvey's entire Church Lady bit in the school cafeteria. A girl asked if I came up with the whole thing, and I said yes.When I told my Catholic friend Noel what I had done, he told me - without a hint of Church Lady-related irony - that I would go to Hell for lying. I stressed over it for quite a while.