Which comics are accused of joke theft?

Why might observers label one social actor’s questionable act a norm violation even as they seem to excuse similar behavior by others? To answer this question, I use participant-observer data on Los Angeles stand-up comics to explore the phenomenon of joke theft. Informal, community-based systems govern the property rights pertaining to jokes. Most instances of possible joke theft are ambiguous owing to the potential for simultaneous and coincidental discovery. I find that accusations are not strongly coupled to jokes’ similarity, and enforcement depends mainly on the extent to which insiders view the comic in question as being authentic to the community. Comics who are oriented toward external rewards, have a track record of anti-social behavior, and exhibit lackluster on-stage craft are vulnerable to joke theft accusations even in borderline cases because those inauthentic characteristics are typical of transgressors. Vulnerability is greatest for comics who enjoy commercial success despite low peer esteem. Authenticity protects comics because it reflects community-based status, which yields halo effects while encouraging relationships predicated on respect. In exploring accusations of joke theft and their outcomes, this study illustrates how norms function more as framing devices than as hard-and-fast rules, and how authenticity shapes their enforcement.

That is from “No Laughter among Thieves: Authenticity and the Enforcement of Community Norms in Stand-Up Comedy,” by Patrick Reilly, from the American Sociological Review.

For the pointer I thank Siddharth Muthukrishnan.


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I conceive this site has very good indited content posts.

If you want funny, ask a sociologist.

LOL. Yet another sociology paper to carefully and scientifically confirm the obvious.

the most insane thing to people in the 90s was if an action movie trailer showed people shooting each other and beating each others’ asses and then the narration said something like “yeah, they need counseling” or “it’s a different type of family bonding”

This is the troll by the way.

If you don't want funny, ask a conservative. So few right wing comedians these days or ever for that matter.

In academia, publications leave a paper trail so outright theft of ideas is relatively rare. But what does often happen is a paper will be ignored, and several years later a better-known (authentic to the community?) economist will publish a similar result and will get notice and even acclaim.

Then somebody will point out that that acclaimed result had been previously published. Then the question is, how does the community react?

I'm thinking of how the Hausman Test came to be more often called the Wu-Hausman Test. I have not been following the literature, nowadays wikipedia calls it the Durbin-Wu-Hausman Test so I presume that Durbin had made some crucial contribution years or decades earlier.

But it's not as if Durbin was obscure or unknown so I'm surprised that his name was a late addition to the test. Maybe it took that long for econometricians to be aware of whatever his contribution was?

When I was taking macro classes it seemed like the Baumol Model of Money Demand was at that moment getting renamed the Baumol-Tobin Model. Tobin was about as far from obscure as one can get in economics, so again I'm surprised that it took awhile for his recognition to come and his name to get added to the model.

I imagine that there are cases where the first discoverer never does get their name added to the model, witness how hard it has been for paleontologists to convince the public that the dinosaur should be called apatosaurus, not brontosaurus. I can't think of specific examples off the top of my head, probably because that first discoverer was not well-known or connected so I have never heard their name.

Since 99.99% of academics are lefties, I suggest that they accept the same deal that they want forced on pharmaceutical companies.

If you've authored a brilliant analysis of some long-struggled-with problem, it immediately becomes a Public Good, and is free to all who might benefit from it. Much like a disease-curing pill. Anyone who wishes to copy your work and disperse it further in the world can do so for free, and should be thanked for doing so, given all the Good it is doing.

There need not be any lasting linkage between this Good and your name; it is the Good that is important. And you will be paid a standard annual salary regardless.

Who's up for it? Do I smell a Mercatus Center grant for advancing this idea?

You do realize that the scenario you described in which you are attempting to own the libs is in fact how academia operates, correct?

Well, realizing stuff is kind of foreign to ol' TPM here.

No connection between publishing cited papers, respected papers and tenure and salary? That's how "academia works"?

I looked up Durbin Wu-Hausman and realized that I, like most spreadsheet geeks, were using D:Wu-Ha without even knowing it. Unfortunately, I can't go back to annotate all those informal models. "A genius is one who states the obvious..."

It is Straussian, and it was all to deliver this key phrase:

"inauthentic characteristics are typical of transgressors"

this is the poopy syllogy the sociology dept tracked all over
our new durable and easy to clean vinyl flooring
we are down on our hands and knees

inauthentic characteristics are typical of transgressors

we didn't steal the joke
we self identified the joke

Comics artists must walk a fine line. Take Michelle Goldberg's who perhaps dictates leftist chauvinism best. She laces an unknown, evolving situation with an op-ed titled F-Bombs and Real Bombs, an op-ed about wright violence. She does not use the word "fringe" once. in 2007, 30,000 American men and women underwent 15 month tours inside Iraqi cities, killing 40,000 evil men and women. And yes, civilians. I'm going to place them in the right wing bucket. How can those people allow the NYT to include Trump in the today's headlines? Robert de Niro is not a leading democratic figure. He's an actor. What does "Trump's Critics" have anything to do with it? It's not how the political system works. It's O-ring disaster stuff.

You ever walk down a street and you cant name one tree? That's like reading a Paul Krugman article--corruption, hate, etc., you come out a little sadder but none the wiser. It seems to be his occupational deformation, that he can't fathom that is pollution, idiot! Not global warming. The fishing industry is 3 billion dollars, in Ohio, because of the EPA. Has he written anything about that? But he'll abuse any news story. He can't fathom that Mitch McConell never once equated Obamacare with the Opiod Epidemic. With increased Gang violence. No, for every American service that commits suicide (right-wing violence) there are many, many more that overdose, that are homeless (Left-wing violence). It exemplifies the worst American proclivity...to buy Britney Spears, to buy Christina Aguilara, to buy Edward Sheeran. To sell out.

Looking at you Amy Schumer, Carlos Mencia,.

in other words, the people who get accused of stealing jokes are people who don't signal alliegance to the in-group. it has nothing to do with whether they actually stole jokes or not.


and that's why you gotta lotta pseudonims

Looks more like populist comedians who are cater less to the social elite and critical opinion are more vulnerable than those who simply are independent minded.

In other news: Patriot Bikers are en route from St. Louis to the border to fend off the caravan when the Left won't! Take a moment to think about that!

I love how strong and muscular those slim brown men from across the border just are. Come and mow my lawn, baby!

I'm a cuck for all seasons!

Thats all well and good. Now explain how baseball decides when to enforce pitcher’s cheating.

I read somewhere that comedians traditionally pay each other $50 for taking their jokes.

I got a $50 check in the mail from a comedian once. A few years later, my wife was watching him on TV, and said, "Hey, he used your joke." He did, but then he topped my moderately amusing punchline with a second, much funnier punchline of his own.

This all seemed pretty reasonable to me.

I'd be curious to know if similar stuff happens in academia, wherein people who don't fit in politically are more likely to be accused of plagiarism.

It's actually a great little study since it demonstrates how "structural" systems of bias can reinforce themselves in all sorts of situations, not just involving race. If conservatives are more likely to be accused of plagiarism or fudging data than liberals, then that sort of allows liberals to manufacture a track record of allegations that discredits a conservative, which then justifies preventing them from rising in academia. Similar to the way that a track record of minor arrests justifies keeping black men out of the job market and giving them harsher sentences when convicted. Meanwhile when liberals (white people) fudge data or plagiarize (commit minor offenses), they are more likely to be ignored (given a warning), instead of building up a track record that can be used against them as transgressors. Really, the parallels are nearly exact.

I'd guess not; the downside of claiming a Conservative stole your ideas, to most academic -studies Liberals, is it implies having ideas a Conservative would find appealing. And in the hard sciences, maths and philosophy I doubt it is much influenced by politics.

Maybe they all need to learn how to write a joke that can't be stolen: https://youtu.be/0YE9Kthyaco

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