Over the past week, comedian Amy Schumer has been dealing with some pretty serious allegations of joke theft. Several other stand-up comedians, all of whom she has opened for at comedy clubs, stepped forward on Twitter to accuse her of lifting their material. The comedians quickly deleted the tweets and tried to minimize it, but once you let a cat out of a bag…
Now several other examples have surfaced. Here’s a handy compilation of the material in question, bookended by Schumer proclaiming her innocence to fellow comic Jim Norton. (Watch it while you can, because Viacom has had at least one similar video taken down for copyright infringement. Fair Use? What’s that?)
WARNING: ADULT LANGUAGE AND SO FORTH
(Video compiled by Brandon Farley)
Seems pretty similar to me. And in several cases, it’s not just the premise of the joke, but specific pieces of the joke in the same order. Sure, maybe she and Patrice O’Neal just heard about similar bizarre and humiliating sex acts. But those two specific examples, in the same order?
Of course, Schumer has writers on her show, and it’s possible that they’re the ones she’ll throw under the bus. It still doesn’t explain the rapidly expanding list of examples in her stand-up act.
Schumer’s defenders insist it’s “parallel thinking.” In other words, two different comedians can come up with the exact same joke independently. That does happen. It’s just weird that she always seems to be the one who thinks of a joke after somebody else did.
Hey, here’s another crazy thing: Did you know that Amy Schumer is an unrepentant kleptomaniac?
When you were young, you had a whole unusual fondness for shoplifting, didn’t you?
Is it unusual? Actually, I think it’s pretty typical of white girls.
Well, doing some shoplifting may be typical. But it sounds like you did a bit more than that.
Yes. I started just with my girlfriends—we would steal a bathing suit or some makeup or I don’t know—and then I just got more serious about it. It became grand larceny when I was in college. I just discovered this department store where you could just take whatever and then return it for cash—no tags, no receipt, nothing. You know, thousands of dollars. It was exciting. It was the adrenaline—the actual act of getting away with it. It wasn’t about the money, even though the money was nice. And I didn’t feel bad about it—it was this huge corporation. You know, I never stole from people. I never stole from a little store.
Schumer says she probably stole $100,000 worth of stuff before she finally got arrested for it. Y’know, just typical white-girl hijinks.
She says she regrets it now, not because she realizes it was wrong, but because getting caught really sucked. And she describes the compulsion to steal as a “physical longing,” before insisting she’s totally over it now.
She said the same thing to Marc Maron just last month:
“I had no shame. I had no shame about it.”
It’s good to have family in high places when you get busted for grand larceny, as she told Emma Kat Richardson at Laughspin back in 2011:
I was really surprised to read that your uncle is Chuck Schumer, the senior senator from New York. Being a CNN and MSNBC junkie, his is a name I was immediately familiar with.
Where does it say that he’s my uncle? Does it say that on Wikipedia?
Quite a few places, actually.
He’s my dad’s cousin. I definitely grew up knowing him – not knowing that it mattered that he was in politics, and not really dealing with it at all. The first time it came up was when my sister and I were arrested for shoplifting. We were arrested for grand larceny, and [the cops] were like, ‘You’re lucky you have this last name.’ And they pleaded it down, to like disturbing the peace or something. I really thought that shit was off the record, until I was on Last Comic [Standing] and they asked me if I had an arrests, and I was like, “Eh, not really.” They have real lawyers – it’s like General Electric – and they knew everything I’d stolen.
“Eh, not really.”
In summary: Amy Schumer stole a bunch of stuff, got busted, and lied about it because she thought it would hurt her career. Her famous name got her out of trouble, or at least minimized it. And her only regret is that she got caught.
But it’s completely different this time, you guys!