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Comedy is all relative

March 2nd, 2007

Joe was flipping channels the other night and saw that Sarah Silverman’s Jesus is Magic was coming on Showtime, so he DVR’d it for me. I figured since my only experience seeing her stand-up act was a short bit on the most recent Comic Relief, I’d give it a chance. In fact, I watched the entire thing even though I barely laughed. I was right: she likes to say things for shock value. She’s in love with herself too. And she sure loves to sing, which was actually the highlight of the show. I still like her show on Comedy Central much better, however. The song she sang about doodie in the eye in a recent episode was pretty damn funny. But that’s me: I like dick and fart jokes.

Comedians are a weird lot. Depending on the format they can either be hilarious or not so funny. Take Dave Chappelle for instance. On stage? Not funny. In movies? Funny. In his Comedy Central show? Pretty funny. Dane Cook is another one. On stage? Funny. In movies? Not so much. Although Carlos Mencia is a rarity as I find him funny both on stage and on his show, Mind of Mencia.

Speaking of Mencia and Cook, have you read all the controversy about them stealing other comics’ material? I’ve listened to different bits of theirs compared to the comics they allegedly stole from, and I have to admit, it does seem like a legitimate claim. On the other hand, is it really so shocking that one comedian will inadvertently pick up an idea from another? Isn’t that what they do? Study other comedians to hone their craft?

One of the accusations against Carlos Mencia was that he stole his joke about the wall they want to build at the U.S. and Mexico border from George Lopez. But hey, this is something that was in the news, and most people, non-comedians even, probably said the same thing: “who do you think they are going to get to build the wall?” Is that really stolen? You be the judge.

I’m not saying Mencia or Cook is innocent, I’m just saying there are only so many things to crack jokes about and you’re bound to have similar bits. And here’s some food for thought: if they are truly stealing some kick-ass material, then how come those comedians they are stealing from aren’t making the big bucks like they are? That’s because they have something those other guys lack – stage presence, charisma, and impeccable timing. As I compared a few jokes from both Dane Cook and Louis C.K., whom Dane has been accused of stealing from, I couldn’t help by remark to Joe, “Wow, this stuff really does sound alike, but Dane does it sooo much better”.

Sure, it doesn’t make it right, but that’s show business. Just kidding; it’s still wrong, but oh well. ;)

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  1. March 3rd, 2007 at 02:23 | #1

    Personally, I like Sarah Silverman (I keep forgetting to watch her Comedy Central show!). Dane Cook…can’t stand him. I don’t know why, but he grates on me. Who knows about the stealing material stuff. Most ideas aren’t really that original. Like you said, anyone could have come up with something about a U.S./Mexico wall.

  2. March 3rd, 2007 at 12:05 | #2

    I have to wonder if they don’t hear things years earlier then somehow think it is their own idea when they write the joke. I just don’t find either of those men to be stupid enough to think they could be huge stars with plagiarized stuff. Then again, I like to believe in people ;).

    I cannot STAND Sarah Silverman. I have no idea why other than probably the reason most others like her. It is so funny how comedy is subjective.

    Wayne Brady on The Chappelle Show? That was a classic!

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