...or, as some people on the internet call it, joke thievery.
  1. In 2010 I tweeted a joke: Window shoppers are buy curious.
    Not the exact words, but something like that.
  2. FoD retweeted it.
    Back when you had to copy and paste a tweet and put RT w/the @ username in front of it.
  3. I started getting a lot of @ replies.
    That this was a joke from Arrested Development.
  4. The twist?
    I didn't watch Arrested Development up until this point (I subsequently got all 3 seasons at Amoeba for $15 and watched them all in 2011)
  5. I didn't delete the tweet.
    Because I didn't feel I did anything wrong. Luckily, more people found it funny, not that many people were coming after me for this. But I was self conscious for about a week.
  6. One week later
    I learned the rapid nature of Twitter's cycle first hand. No one cared. I also felt so inspired that I came up with a similar joke to a critically acclaimed sitcom. It validated me a year and a half into stand-up.
  7. Comedians, writers, and creatives in general are not joke thieves.
    Parallel thinking happens all the time. Two Truman Capote movies were made at the same time, as were Observe & Report and Paul Blart. Chances are, your idea is out there being spoken in someone else's own unique voice.
  8. If they beat you to the punch, go make some more stuff, since you had one really good idea, you definitely have a million more.