Cranky Comic Says Everyone Is Stealing His Christmas Joke From 2004

We forgave the Grinch for stealing Christmas, but Gary Delaney has no mercy for those who steal his Christmas jokes
Cranky Comic Says Everyone Is Stealing His Christmas Joke From 2004

Most comics naturally have sticks up their butts about other people telling their jokes — Gary Delaney has a whole Christmas tree up there.

Joke-stealing is just about the most serious offense there is in comedy. In fact, the career-killing implications of being labeled a joke thief are usually more damaging than getting outed as a sex pest. Chris D’Elia’s podcast probably wouldn’t still be a part of the manosphere if he was a plagiarist instead of an (alleged) predator. Put simply, there’s no graver insult between comics than copying someone’s homework and passing it off as your own. As such, accusations of joke theft should not be made or taken lightly, no matter how festive the season may be or how holly-decked the halls are.

This Christmas season, English comedian Gary Delaney has some lumps of coal that he’d like to dole out to the joke thieves who he claims have been cribbing his comedy for almost two decades. Earlier this month, Delaney called out the copycats by posting one of his best bits on Twitter with the superlative title of “My Most Stolen Joke by a Mile.”

“I don’t mind people telling me jokes,” Delaney told a fan who copped to reusing the line in his everyday life. “I get annoyed when it’s media firms putting it on Christmas cards, radio, scripts, etc.”

This isn’t the first time Delaney has sparred with joke-thieves either. In 2009, Delaney went after the online joke compendium Sickipedia for allowing users to post his one-liners without accreditation. The comic spent years closely monitoring comedy forums for contraband punchlines before resigning himself to the reality that the internet runs on reposts for which original creators don’t get squat. “Nowadays I just accept that every good joke I write will be stolen, and try not to get angry,” Delaney told Little Atoms. “There's nothing I can do about it.”

As for this specific punchline and its purported plagiarism, the Englishman said, “This particular joke gets repeated more at Xmas than Slade’s ‘Merry Xmas Everybody’ and Noddy describes that song as his pension."

Truthfully, Delaney’s telling of the joke is the first I’ve ever heard of it – I’ve never walked down the Hallmark aisle during December and seen a card wherein an entire tree is shoved up some guy’s arse. But if Delaney’s complaints are founded and the media firms and screenwriters of the world really do steal his joke for financial gain every Christmas, I hope the offenders are quickly caught and Delaney gets his satisfaction — one branch at a time.

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