Conan O’Brien accused of pilfering punchlines

29 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Conan O’Brien accused of stealing jokes.

Robert Kaseberg, who claims he had previously contributed jokes as a freelance writer to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno for 20 years, says he wrote the jokes on his blog and on Twitter before Conan used them on TV. “A Delta flight this week took off from Cleveland to New York with just two passengers.

Since the dawn of public chat rooms, personal blogs, and social media accounts, stealing work from others and claiming it as your own has been relatively pain-free and easy.A San Diego comedy writer is suing Conan O’Brien in a lawsuit claiming the late-night comedian lifted jokes the author had posted on Twitter and used them as his own. San Diego’s Robert Alexander Kaseberg, a freelance comedy writer who also appears to go by the name Alex Kaseberg, filed a lawsuit earlier this month charging that O’Brien and his “Conan” writers lifted four jokes from his personal blog and Twitter account. With Twitter, being able to steal a clever 140 character joke from a professional comedian or from just about anyone else who uses the service, not only became easier, but much more anonymous. The Brady joke is about the QB’s wish to give his MVP truck to the guy who won the game for the Patriots. (The punch line is that the truck should go to Pete Carroll.) THR has posted the complaint online.

Bots were being created and spit out into the Twittersphere like wildfire, spamming any notable comedic account and earning twice the amount of engagement (followers, retweets) for doing little to no work. Read the full complaint, via The Hollywood Reporter, here and read reactions from O’Brien’s sidekick Andy Richter and some of his famous friends below. In response to the lawsuit, a rep for Conan’s production company told Entertainment Weekly, “We at Conaco firmly believe there is no merit to this lawsuit.” Conan’s co-host, Andy Richter, also tweeted about the controversy, saying, “Oh no we’ve been found out!

Until this past Saturday, when a Twitter user noticed five of her tweets deleted with a message from the service alleging they were removed at the orders of a copyright holder. Ironically enough, the dawning of Twitter hammering down on supposed joke thieves came at the same time as news broke that Conan O’Brien’s late night variety hour, Conan, was being sued for allegedly lifting jokes off a lesser known comedian’s Twitter account. Robert “Alex” Kasberg filed a $600,000 lawsuit against Conan on July 22 after noticing that many of the legendary comic’s monologue jokes bore eerie similarities to his own online material.

And they fought over control of the armrest the entire flight,” and was surprised to hear it repeated back to him almost verbatim that night on the show. So Brady is giving his truck to Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll.” On Feb. 17, Kaseberg wrote: “The Washington Monument is ten inches shorter than previously thought. Conan’s representatives refused to comment on the story, only acknowledging that the lawsuit had no merit, but that didn’t stop Conan’s sidekick, comedian Andy Richter, from chiming in on Twitter. This may not be the end of having to fight for popularity and recognition on a medium so poisoned, and yet indebted, to plagiarism, but comedians like Rob Delaney aren’t too worried. Of course, the monument is blaming the shrinkage on the cold weather.” O’Brien said this in his monologue that night: “Some cities that have streets named after Bruce Jenner are trying to change the streets’ names to Caitlyn Jenner.

He repeated the sentiment in a VICE column, saying, “…if I couldn’t immediately write several more jokes to replace it, then I wasn’t funny, and I had no business calling myself a comedian.” There’s no question that it’s a slippery slope for all parties involved: originators of a joke want it to be known that it’s theirs and Twitter wants to ensure that every user feels safe enough to tweet what they want without the possibility of being plagiarized, but until now, neither have acted upon any formal proceedings to ensure this occurred. But it was a lot more fun to tell people about than to experience.” Kaseberg says in his complaint that he received no compensation, nor did he get screen or writing credits for the jokes.

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