10.5.13

Brian Regan Ruined My Life

The face of evil
When I was a freshman in college, Brian Regan destroyed my confidence.

I was a bright eyed youngster with great hair who thought the world was entirely open to me. Then, all of that came crashing down thanks to a comedian I had never heard of who was at the top of his game.

I'll never forget how it went down: I was walking with my THEN best friend Zack (just kidding nothing's changed and we get breakfast together every Wednesday) when I told a story about my older brother Nathan. Nathan gets scattered at times and often says the wrong thing, especially in social situations. It's hysterical.

As I'm telling this surely HILARIOUS story about Nathan, Zack isn't laughing. Perhaps something is wrong with Zack? Maybe his dog died, or he got hit on the head and is suffering from NFL player syndrome. Cause this story is GOLD. But as I finished my story, Zack looked at me and said something that I will never forget:

"Oh, like that Brian Regan bit about saying 'You too' to people when you're not supposed to?"

I was furious. Without meaning to, I had apparently quoted Brian's segment nearly word for word, having never heard it before. Regan had somehow infiltrated my life and stolen this sure-to-be-classic tale from me and become famous from it and I would never see such glory. I was devastated, so I unleashed my fury upon Zack and they still haven't found the body.

Again, just kidding. He's fine, and here's a photo of us very clearly getting along.
I was pretty upset for a while, swearing off of friendship and comedians. I held onto a lot of cynicism because it was unfair that somebody would ever have a similar idea to one I had. I felt this way until this week. Because this week was when a funny guy named Sammy Rhodes came under severe attack.

If you don't know, Sammy is a minister who tweets a lot and doesn't get paid to tweet but now has several thousand followers because he's funny. But other Twitter people firmly believe him to be stealing jokes and have started harassing him relentlessly, including creating Tumblr pages calling him Borrowing Sam.

Okay I stand corrected THIS is the face of evil
The issue has turned into the Frost/Nixon of people who don't actually know what Frost/Nixon was. Some of the evidence on the Tumblr does seem pretty damning, and Sammy has openly said he is influenced by other Twitter people he likes. Those often aren't the Twitter people accusing him of plagiarism, though. Along with that, most of the jokes he is "stealing" were from years before he tweeted and often from people he doesn't follow. When people who wrote similar tweets pointed it out to him, he deleted the tweets and apologized. So a lot of evidence on both sides.

Is he a devious joke thief, the Pink Panther of Twitter? Or is comedy, like the Ancient Greeks claimed, cyclical, with jokes being repeated in a natural rotation?

You can come to your own conclusion about it (I think he's innocent) but one thing seems clear: it's hard to defend the people who wish he would die or are glad his daughter has special needs. It's just Twitter, and Sammy has always been pretty open about what is really important. And it's also important to note that the situation doesn't excuse people being jerks. Twitter isn't that important. Especially since nobody is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to follow @ProdigalSam. And if somebody is, I'm sorry and your life is miserable.

I was a jerk to Brian Regan over something stupid. People were jerks to Sammy Rhodes over something stupid. Ultimately, cyclical humor isn't important. Not being a jerk is.

If Sammy reads this (doubtful), just remember the truly important things. If Brian Regan reads this (not a chance), just know I'm sorry for being a jerk.

And if comedy works the way I think it does, than somebody already wrote this exact post about two years ago and I've never seen it I SWEAR.

3 comments:

  1. I'll give Borrowing Sammy this: He's turning rough draft of jokes into pithy jabs.

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  2. Look how far your beard has come.

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  3. If stealing humor is a crime, my blog would have but shut down years ago. 3 years, to be precise.

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