A few days ago I was a bit taken aback when another blogger posted a joke that had appeared in a post of mine, which they had been kind enough to “like”.
Copycat, I thought. Then again the joke wasn’t mine.
In my post I optimistically invited readers to identify the original joke-teller. No one took up the invitation but I posted the solutions. In other posts where I have retold a joke, I have tried to credit the comedian I heard tell the joke.
Inadvertently I have stumbled upon a major area of concern to many comedians in the Internet age. Before television, comedians would build up an act with which they could tour the country safe in the knowledge that their act would be fresh and new to each new audience. One appearance on the telly and that act was used up.
Now thanks to social media a comedians new joke can be all over the Internet before the laughter has died down. It can’t be much fun to be heckled by having your punchlines called out before you can finish. Worse still, it is, apparently, common practice for the most well known comedians to employ gag writers. Where do these gag writers get their ideas from? By stealing them from less well known comedians, who then get accused of plagiarising their own material. This happened to Milton Jones at the start of his career. He describes it in his book ‘Where do comedians go when they die: Journey of a Stand-Up’.
This article from the Independent (link at the bottom ) dates back a few years, but contains more details, including the problems Gary Delaney faced when he complained.
This blog promises to only use jokes that have been on Dave* and to credit the comedian who performed the joke. Original material by this blogger will be easily identified by being less funny.
*for non-UK readers Dave is a cable/satellite channel famed for showing old repeats (reruns). The same is true for UK readers, but you will have understood the reference.**
**Incidently, in case Dave’s lawyers are reading this, I should point out that Dave produces many new shows too, including my favourite Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Good-ish.