Joe Rogan Blasts Robin Williams for Stealing Jokes

‘There’s always instances of Robin going on a talk show and doing your bit’
Joe Rogan Blasts Robin Williams for Stealing Jokes

It’s not the first time Robin Williams has been accused of borrowing a punchline, but Joe Rogan put the legendary comic on blast this week nonetheless. On his Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Rogan refused to cut the late comedian any slack when guest Harland Williams (no relation) suggested that Robin was possibly “just so spontaneous, he would just like puke (other comics’ jokes) out.”  

Rogan believes those borrowed bits were no accident: “I think (Robin) wanted to kill more than he wanted to be ethical at any cost.” 

Harland Williams had always heard stories that Robin Williams was “that guy” — in other words, a joke thief. Rogan confirmed that he’d heard a lot of those same stories. 

“Part of that manic sort of style is this constant need to have a bit about anything that you’re talking about ever,” Rogan said. “Killing was more important, filling that hole inside of him was more important than anything. So he would just do other people’s stuff.”

Other comics let Robin know that they were angry. “(Sam) Kinison got mad at him,” claimed Rogan. “If you ask any of those comics from back then, there’s always instances of Robin going on a talk show and doing your bit.”

Robin Williams is far from the first or last comic to steal a joke. Material theft is “a weird thing that people do, where they try to pawn off other people’s bits as their own,” Rogan explained. “It’s a vampire thing because you’re around all these creative people and you’re just stealing a little bit from this guy and a little bit from that guy.”

Did Rogan ever “put a guy up against a wall?” Harland wanted to know. (According to Dave Itzkoff’s biography Robin, that’s exactly what happened back at the Comedy Store in 1979. “One unnamed performer was said to have thrown Robin against a wall and ordered him to pay him $300 for the parts of his routine he believed had been lifted, a shakedown that Robin supposedly agreed to.”)

Rogan famously confronted Carlos Mencia over joke crimes but claims he’s never resorted to violence since a verbal threat works just as well. “Hey man, don’t do my fucking material anymore,” is Rogan’s standard warning. “You know that’s my material.” But Rogan figures offending comics still do the bits behind his back “unless you want to hurt them.”

In the end, karma is the ultimate cop. “The thing about those people, they always get caught. And when they get caught, everything after that sucks,” Rogan said. “What you see is an initial special or a few things they do that are really funny and then you see this massive drop-off. It all goes away, and it becomes almost like a person doing an impression of the original successful person. They have no creativity, and now they’re exposed.”


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