Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Plagiarism

During a recent conversation with my new partner in crime, Rachel, I found out that "Studio 60" is more biographical than I thought. Remember the line in the pilot that stuck out like a sore thumb? The one where Matthew Perry's character calls Pat Robertson a bigot and chastizes his Christian ex-girlfriend for going on the "700 Club" to promote her album?

Well, "Studio 60" creator Aaron Sorkin didn't have to search far for this idea. Just last year, his Christian ex-girlfriend Kristin Chenoweth went on the "700 Club" to promote her album. Sorkin is no stranger to taking real events and recycling them into his work. So was this past week's episode, "Plagiarism," a shot at SNL for their recent indiscretions? For those not in the know, here's a brief rundown. First there was the "Peyote" short on SNL that felt awfully similar to Improv Everywhere's "Suicide Jumper" bit. Then there was the controversy over a joke Dane Cook delivered in his SNL monologue last year that sounded very similar to an old Demetri Martin joke. With Sorkin's track record, I wouldn't be surprised if last week's episode was "ripped from the headlines," as Law and Order would say.

And speaking of plagiarism, am I the first person to call out Stephen Colbert and "The Colbert Report" on ripping off "Freak Show," a show from their own network?
Here's how the premiere episode of "Freak Show" (10/04/06) began:
"In 1972, President Richard Nixon, Augusto Pinochet, Henry Kissinger, and Adolph Hitler met aboard Kissinger's yacht, the Wet Dream II."
And here's what Stephen Colbert said to Jon Stewart during the last segment of Monday night's "The Daily Show" (10/09/06):
Colbert: "Here's a little bit of Columbus trivia, Jon, did you know he originally set out with four ships?"
Stewart: "The Nina, the Pinta, the Santa Maria..."
Colbert: "And the Wet Dream II."

Hmmm... using Colbert's own terminology, I would say I just NAILED IT.

I don't know who wrote this, but I do know that "Colbert Report" writer Laura Krafft is friends with the "Freak Show" guys. She may or may not have been involved in writing this segment. If she wasn't, I'm left to assume someone else who's even less affiliated with "Freak Show" wrote it. But even if this mystery writer was given permission to use this, COME ON. Doesn't the "Colbert Report" recycle jokes enough already? Don't get me wrong. I appreciate the man's brilliance. I was even able to appreciate it in person last winter (that's me on the far left with the green hat, about to high-five Stephen). But if I hear him use the "I have black friends" joke one more time (which itself is strangely similar to blackpeopleloveus.com), I'm going to jump off a plagiarized ledge.

4 Comments:

At 10/11/06, 7:20 PM, Anonymous Scotty-Rob said...

The Repor is my favorite show on television right now. Even if you do occasionally catch Steve with jokes that are similar to jokes that have been used in the past, just look at the multitudes of other jokes that he uses that are original and are extremely hilarious and very entertaining. The man does a new show almost every night and still manages to please over and over again through jokes originated from him and his staff, so cut him a little slack P-HAT.

Who would have thought any show could ever top the Daily Show?? Just wish I could have been in that crowd high fiving Steven right after you.

--Scotty-Rob

 
At 10/11/06, 11:25 PM, Anonymous Katie said...

Plagiarized ledge!

 
At 10/12/06, 10:31 PM, Blogger Mer said...

Insightful and thought provoking. I think Colbert would be proud, you high-fiving hippie!

 
At 4/9/07, 3:44 PM, Blogger inside track1 said...

i''m pretty sure it's the daily show writers who write the conversations between jon and stephen, not the colbert writers. also, there are certain jokes in comedy that are givens, meaning there's a joke in the fact they're using that joke because everyone uses it. calling a boat the wet dream 2 is a given. i've seen that joke several times over the years. don't know about the other plagiarize things.

 

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