Comedian Amy Schumer is coming under fire recently for accusations that she lifted jokes from comedians Dave Attell and Dave Chappelle for her latest Netflix special, The Leather Special.
According to Heat Street, Amy Schumer tells a pair of jokes that have some striking resemblances to jokes told by Attell and Chappelle several years prior.
Dave Attell told a joke in a 2003 routine in which he compares blacking out from excess consumption of alcohol as a form of time travel. Attell’s version of the joke is quick and to the point, a zippy one-liner in which the listener is instantly hit with the idea.
“Do you ever black out while drinking, or as I call it time travel,” Attell asks.
Amy Schumer’s version of the joke is being derided by YouTube commenters and others as not only an obvious piece of plagiarism but a far inferior telling of the joke.
“Has anyone ever blacked and been awake when they come out of it,” Schumer asks. “It’s kind of cool cause you’re like a time traveler, and you’re just like, back in your body.”
Humor is in the eye of the beholder, but the general consensus among internet commenters points in the direction that Schumer’s telling of the joke is clumsy and a bit awkward and doesn’t really work. People who don’t like joke stealing would argue it’s irrelevant whether her “version” of the joke is funny or not, as stealing jokes is inherently wrong.
In fact, stand-up comedians take joke stealing very seriously. Carlos Mencia effectively had his fairly successful comedy career ended due to accusations he stole jokes, according to Mental Floss. Joe Rogan famously confronted Mencia on stage to make the bold accusations that Mencia stole jokes from a number of comedians, from George Lopez to Bill Cosby. Mencia, who once had a Comedy Central show called Mind of Mencia, has really never recovered from the accusations that he steals jokes.
Dane Cook has also seen his once illustrious, stadium-filling career impacted by accusations he stole jokes from Louis C.K. It remains to be seen if Amy Schumer will suffer a similar fate as Cook or Mencia.
Amy Schumer is also being accused of stealing a joke from Dave Chappelle during the same set. That particular joke involves some graphic sexual content, and in the video below, Schumer’s jokes and both Attell’s and Chappelle’s are compared side by side. The similarities are very close in both instances. Viewer discretion is advised.
This is not the first time Amy Schumer has been accused of stealing jokes. According to Buzzfeed, Schumer was accused last year of stealing jokes from late comedian Patrice O’Neal, as well as from Wendy Liebman, Tammy Pescatelli, and Kathleen Madigan. Liberman, Pescatelli, and Madigan had a now-deleted Twitter conversation about Schumer’s alleged joke-stealing in which they discussed similarities between some of Schumer’s jokes and their own. Pescatelli tweeted disbelief that someone who claims to be a feminist would steal jokes from other women.
“What has always been amazing to me is that she claims to be a feminist and yet only steals from other female comedians,” Pescatelli tweeted.
Perhaps stealing jokes from Attell and Chappelle is Amy Schumer’s response to that point of criticism.
The Leather Special has received overwhelmingly negative reviews online. According to Fox Business Insider, Schumer has blamed the negative reviews on “Alt-Right trolls.” While some of the reviews do seem to to be attacks on Schumer’s feminism or her other political leanings, there are also reviews that mention her alleged joke stealing or that focus on what the reviewers believe to be a lack of funny material in her set.
Amy’s Schumer’s detractors will no doubt capitalize on her alleged habit of stealing jokes by using it as another point on which to attack the comedian. Her fans may decide to stick up for her, but due to some striking similarities between the material in question, they will likely receive heavy push-back from those who feel she’s a joke thief.
[Featured Image by Theo Wargo/Getty Images]