Conan O'Brien explains why he settled the joke theft lawsuit that's been plaguing him for years

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/05/10/conan-obrien-explains-why-he.html

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Editorial cartoonists have the same issue (same joke idea from looking at the same news) and called it Yahtzee when it happens.

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He mostly seems to be explaining why it would be a disastrous legal precedent for him to settle.

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You’ve got it backwards as settlement doesn’t create precedent and can’t be used by future litigants. If it went to trial and he lost, that would create a disastrous precedent.

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Precedent in the sense of “now all I have to do is write lots of stupid jokes on twitter, then when I get lucky sue Conan O’Brien and get a quick settlement”.

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William Barr looks like a toad with a gluten allergy

I get more of a “Chief Wiggum with diabetes” vibe, but I see where he’s coming from.

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One thing that struck me from that documentary Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop is that he came across as a pretty unfunny and actually kind of mean person in real life. Granted, the documentary was made during a pretty frustrating point in his career so maybe he’s chilled out since then.

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I find him funny, but even in his scripted stuff I do get the impression that he’s not a particularly nice person.

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I’m sure we’ve witnessed this ourselves here on boingboing-- we come up with a wisecrack about the linked story only to see someone else already posted the same joke. Prior to the internet we might’ve made this joke in private and gotten laughs out of friends and moved on, but now we put it on the web and lay claim to it.

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For awhile I was going to a lot of local comedy shows and knew one of the regular comedians so I normally got invited to join the group for drinks afterward. Most of them are like rhinos with high defenses and a crazy ability to dish high damage with no restraint, some would call it mean.

I do recall one girl that was never mean. After one show, I was walking to my car and she was behind the club crying, no wailing, while her boyfriend held her. I’m talking the kind of soul shaking cry one experiences after their new born baby dies in their arms. I messaged my buddy inside who was MCing the show that he should check on her.

He was like: Why is she crying? She had a great set?
I replied, I don’t know but I’m worried about her safety.

Anyway, comedy is about the strangest world I have been in. Far stranger than my time with burlesque people, or strippers or the private dungeon my friend ran for a few years.

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What else is there for normal people to do for relaxation? :wink:

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Burning man kept me busy for 8 years. :wink:

For the last 4 years exploring the Philippines has kept me busy. The more remote and less people the better.

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I mean that’s what most of modern comedy is - some sarcastic asshole making jokes at someone else’s expense. It’s not surprising that people who rise to the top of that industry are mean spirited pricks a huge percentage of the time.

People get surprised to learn that someone like Jerry Seinfeld is a dick in real life and I always think, what part of his comedy ever gave you the idea that he was anything other than a total jerk? Have you seen even a single episode of Seinfeld?

I used to have an acerbic wit - humor as a defense and all that.
Eventually I could see more clearly what I was doing and had a change of heart.
Now I aim for the 4 gates before I speak:
Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?
Is it funny?
Seems I’ve gotten quieter in my old age.

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I’m sure we’ve witnessed this ourselves here on boingboing-- we come up with a wisecrack about the linked story only to see someone else already posted the same joke. Prior to the internet we might’ve made this joke in private and gotten laughs out of friends and moved on, but now we put it on the web and lay claim to it.

ETA: @generic_name beat me to it :wink:

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images

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If you want to watch a documentary about a bunch of really tedious people, check out Comedian:

With the sole exception of Chris Rock, who seems like a genuinely interesting person who would actually be fun to drink beers with.

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Another weird aspect of copyright law.

And if I could sue them for it, I would.

I try and stick to a simpler rule: punch up not down.

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