Season 2 Ep #10: Who’s Laughing Now? The IP of Comedy
How do comedians protect their jokes or their delivery style? This week IP Goes Pop! goes to the comedy club to find the line between creative freedom and stolen (or borrowed) laughs. Join Volpe Koenig Shareholders and hosts Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue as they welcome Volpe Koenig alum and comedy fan Aneesh Mehta, Senior Corporate Counsel for Experiences and Devices at Microsoft.
Michael, Joe, and Aneesh reminisce about comedy shows they have attended, and look at the legal protections a comedian may have, or not have, in performing a joke or an entire routine. From common themes, such as food, marriage, and having kids, to unique topics and styles, IP Goes Pop! stands up for the intellectual property behind the laughs and looks at the ways audience and comedian expectations have shifted over time.
2:17 Setting the table
7:33 With a limited number of themes, what content can you protect in comedy?
- Scenes a faire - cannot protect stock characters, common themes, or tropes as long as something original is done with them
10:18 Content - Joke Stealing vs. Borrowing vs. Copyright Infringement
17:24 Controversies in Comedy
- Bill Hicks & Dennis Leary - “I love smoking” bits
- Joe Rogan & Carlos Mencia - call out at the Comedy Store
- Hecklers vs. Patrice O'Neal Live!
26:30 Rapid Fire Comedians
- Mitch Hedberg
- Demetri Martin
28:00 Delivery/Comedy Styles - Can you copyright it? Can you steal it?
- Amy Schumer & Wendy Liebman
- Seinfeld & 90s era comedy
- Jerry Seinfeld Comedian
- Seinfeld, Farewell Special
- Anger Comics - Sam Kinison, Lewis Black
- Storyteller Comics - Patrice O’Neal, Patton Oswald, David Cross
- Unique Delivery Comics - Maria Bamford, Ellen DeGeneres
34:15 Covering Bits Used to be Normal
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon
- Comedy “cover bands”- Bob Newhart - one sided telephone call to Abraham Lincoln
35:03 Shift in audience expectations in comedy with pace of new media
- Steve Martin - King Tut era
37:05 Final Thoughts