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Friday Vid Picks: Rogan vs. Mencia

Funny thing about working the online video beat — sometimes you find content in the strangest of ways. Scanning my feeds, I spotted this article in Techdirt, “Carlos Mencia Claims Copyright Infringement On Comedian Who Accuses Mencia Of Stealing Jokes.” Personally, I’m not a fan of Mencia, but stand up comedy meets the copyright and plagiarism debate? It’s the perfect NewTeeVee storm! (Caution: Language in following video definitely not safe for work.)

Turns out that the clip in question came from Rogan’s personal vlog, Joeshow. Which is up 21,000% on Alexa today [JPG]. And it has since spawned a debate in the comedy community over just what does, and what doesn’t, constitute ‘stealing’ material.

The next place I saw the debate turn up was in a click from the Mikey Show on San Diego KIOZ radio. Somebody slapped some graphics on the audio and uploaded it to YouTube, which is video enough for me. In it, Mikey gets Mencia on the phone, and Mencia proceeds to use a joke which everyone had heard before.

Comedy Store owner Mitzi Shore gave Ned Holness his stage name “Carlos Mencia.” She’s now banned Rogan from the Comedy Store. Her son Pauly Shore sat down with Woody of San Francisco’s KITS, where they discuss the YouTube clip, where Pauly drops the “Carlos Men-Steal-ia” nickname.

Comedian Booby Lee, who appears in the original feud video, sat down to explain that he’s never accused Mencia of theft, and goes into the details of his history with Ari Shaffir, another comedian who claimes to have material stolen by Mencia and appears in the original clip.

Which brings us to the following clip put together comedy blogger Dead Frog showing the recent history of the “Who’s going to build the fence?” bit. After Mencia told the joke in a Comedy Central special, it has since been performed by D.L. Hughley (who figured into a joke stealing plot on Studio 60) and George Lopez, who himself has apparently accused Mencia of theft.

For more commentary, check out “Mind of Mencia” writer Irwin Handelman’s account of the fracas, as well as Magic Smoke’s “Blog Battle” between Rogan and Mencia. Somehow, I’ve found that seeing how comedy sausage is made is way funnier than either Rogan or Mencia.