PLAGIARISM – By Davin Rosenblatt

This is the definition of it: noun:
plagiarism; plural noun: plagiarisms
  1. the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.
On Monday night Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention. In her speech she used some lines that were identical to the speech Michelle Obama gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2008. Here is the video of both speeches presented side by side.
As somebody who creates original content I take plagiarism very seriously. In the past it was something I had in common with the vast majority of my comedic peers. The only ones who thought it was ok to take another performer or writer’s work were those who stole material. The comedy community knew who those thieves were even if the general public did not. Carlos Mencia was a known joke thief.   Here is a video clip of fellow comedian Joe Rogan confronting him.   Joe Rogan was celebrated by his peers after this.
However, times are a changing. I am blown away at how many right leaning comedians are just willing to excuse the plagiarism of a portion of this speech.  They say it does not matter. Even say well Michelle didn’t write the joke so who cares like that takes away the act of plagiarizing. Keep in mind these are the same comics that kvetch about other comics taking their jokes, other comics doing hack material, and other comics being unoriginal. It would seem stealing is only wrong if it suits their needs or they can cast aspersions on somebody they don’t have a rooting interest in.  I can no longer take their complaints about joke thieves seriously. As a matter of fact I really can’t take them seriously. Either you stand for something or you don’t. Morals and values are not supposed to be things that bend in the wind.
Comedians are notoriously short sighted. So much so that their behavior routinely costs them work and money. Don’t think people aren’t watching as you condone the unauthorized use of intellectual property. Don’t be upset when an amateur thinks it is ok to do your joke at an open mic. Don’t get perturbed when a professional comedian takes your best joke and adds it into their set. Don’t start whining when somebody buys your CD and studies your act and passes it off  as their own. Don’t start ranting and raving when you are opening for the comedian that has 45 minutes of other people’s jokes and is killing with it. Don’t get depressed when a comic uses your jokes on their television special without your permission and when you do those same jokes the audience thinks you are the one that stole the jokes. No, you have lost that right. You are as immoral as the ones who stole the joke because you knew better but condoned this behavior. You could have said I like this candidate and I support this candidate but I can’t support plagiarism. It is wrong. You did not. You pretended it was fine. People are watching.

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