10 Comedian Beefs That Aren't For The Undercard
Funny people get mad too. Here are five times your favorite comics took off the gloves and mixed it up.
Marc Maron vs. Jon Stewart
By his own admission, this one’s on Marc Maron. The two comics came up at about the same time back in the 90s, with Stewart finding more early mainstream success. A jealous Maron would heckle Stewart from the stage:
Oh, there he is, Jon Stewart from MTV. How does that feel, you sell-out f***?
“Jon always represented to me why I was failing,” admits Maron. “I’m a smart Jewish guy, we’re about the same age, and yet… He knew where he wanted to go and how to align himself, whereas I always saw agents and managers as the enemies – the suits. So when I’d see him, I’d act like he was personally destroying me.”
And yet! Stewart would still invite Maron on his pre-Daily Show programs, only to get more abuse. “Oh, so you’re the big shot, huh? Mr Big Guy?” Finally, Stewart found Maron backstage at an event and announced that he’d had enough, refusing to talk to him anymore.
As Maron got older, he realized he was being the jerk. “When you’re a bitter person or a jealous person, you’re going to have that one dude – he represents everything you could have been.”
Maron has tried to book Stewart for a public apology on his WTF podcast, but Stewart turned him down. “He called me back – and he doesn’t call people – and he’s like, ‘hey… I don’t know if you remember, you know, what a dick you were to me back in the day…there’s no love here, man.’”
Bobcat Goldthwait vs. Jerry Seinfeld
Bobcat got this one going back in the day, appearing on Arsenio to declare Seinfeld was “the devil” and a “spooky, weird Scientologist guy banging teenage girls.” Well, that will get a feud started.
Jerry’s still mad about it, going off in an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee to comic Bridget Everett. “If you’re funny, you win. If you’re not funny, you don’t,” Seinfeld spews. “And (Bobcat's) not funny. That’s why he had to do that stupid f***ing voice. Because you have no f***ing act!”
(Everett then had to uncomfortably explain that she and Bobcat are friends.)
Bobcat found the whole thing “so weird” since so many years have passed. “I thought he and I were OK, believe it or not, because his manager’s a really sweet guy and I see him a lot,” he says. “I probably was close to even apologizing to him. And then he went crazy.”
Why is Jerry still holding a grudge? Bobcat admits there might be other reasons. “Look, when you go on a talk show and you write in a Sharpie on your T-shirt “Kill Seinfeld,” which I did do on NBC, that’s kind of a dick move.”
Anthony Jeselnik vs. Leslie Jones
Per Jeselnik, this feud started way back in the day when he refused to give up stage time at the Comedy Store when Jones asked for it.
Jones must have a long memory. When Jeselnik was headlining at another L.A. club last year, “a comic” who Jeselnik didn't name showed up unannounced and asked to go onstage for a few minutes before his set. (Reddit users at the show confirm that the comic in question was Jones.)
“Within five minutes, I understand what has happened to me,” Jeselnik said on his Jeselnik and Rosenthal Vanity Project podcast. “They are going to go as long as they can, strictly to f*** with me, strictly to big-time me.”
Then Jones started in with some crowd work -- not doing her material, just wasting time on stage with some “So, where you from?”s. Finally, Jeselnik learned that Jones was unwilling to “introduce you with enthusiasm,” meaning another comic would have to go on after Jones.
Jeselnik gave up at that point, returning his paycheck to the comedy club and heading home. Point: Jones.
Louis C.K. vs. Pete Davidson
Louis C.K./Comedy Central
So, Louis C.K. tried to get me fired from SNL my first year, and this is that story.
And that’s how Pete kicked off his Netflix comedy special, Pete Davidson: Alive From New York. First, he sets the stage for the tale. "At the time, Louis C.K. was, like, a very well-respected comedian,” he says. “Like … at the time."
According to Pete, Louis was offended by Davidson’s pot smoking during the week he hosted SNL. At least Pete thinks that’s how it went down -- he admits that he was indeed high. "This is a me issue, for sure," he remembers.
As Pete’s routine continues, Louis complains to producer Lorne Michaels, who calls Davidson into his office in the same way the assistant vice principal summons the student who set off a cherry bomb in his locker. Pete was freaked and defensive, reasoning SNL was dumb for even hiring him in the first place. Now the show would have to admit its mistake and fire him as well.
But Michaels didn’t take it all that seriously. (As you may have heard, a cast member or two may have smoked a joint over the years.) Davidson interpreted the look in Lorne’s eyes to say: "I'm sorry we're having this conversation, but, like, Louis told on you." That’s a lot to get from someone’s eyes, but that was Pete’s take on the sitch.
Davidson’s bit ends by relating how he felt when women’s allegations against Louis C.K. came out. "I didn't want it to happen," Davidson says, "but if it was gonna happen to anybody, I'm glad it was him."
What’s Louis’s take on all of this? We only have a cryptic tweet as evidence.
Bill Hicks vs. Denis Leary
Tiger Aspect Productions/HBO
This feud couldn’t be more simple to explain. Hicks was pissed that Denis Leary lifted his act for Leary’s No Cure for Cancer special.
The two men had been friends for years, but the friendship ended abruptly when No Cure was released. Hicks was used to comics “borrowing” lines or attitudes, but according to Hicks biography American Scream: The Bill Hicks Story, “this was different. Leary had, practically line for line, taken huge chunks of Bill's act and recorded it.”
Hicks wasn’t shy about calling out the joke theft, telling the press: "I have a scoop for you. I stole his act. I camouflaged it with punchlines, and to really throw people off, I did it before he did.”
For his part, Leary denies the allegations, saying maybe they took the same approach to a subject but their acts were different.
Hicks never got the chance to finish the argument, ironically dying of pancreatic cancer a year after Leary’s special dropped.
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Top image: Louis C.K./Comedy Central