Comedy plagiarism accusations! They’re always so much fun and never make the accuser look like a petty, self-aggrandizing jackass. The latest has sketch troupe Last Call Cleveland accusing Conan O’Brien of ripping off their dueling stand-ups bit a couple of weeks ago when Jon Dore and Rory Scovel performed a very similar act. The problem? Conan had nothing to do with that bit, and it’s actually pretty different than Last Call’s.
I mean, if a single standup had performed on Conan and someone accused them of ripping them off, you would go after them, not Conan, right? The fact that this wasn’t a normal standup routine doesn’t make it any less the product of the guys who are guests on the show.
So, this is Dore and Scovel’s bit. And they’ve been performing it for a while now. I know they performed it at a CollegeHumor Live show at the UCB Theatre in NYC last year at the very least. It looks like Last Call Cleveland has been performing this similar bit since 2008 or so, so it’s certainly not out of the question that they were performing it first. But really, what makes more sense: established standups Dore and Scovel saw the bit and ripped it off wholesale, or they came up with the idea independently? It’s not the most complex concept in the world, with the humor coming more from the execution than the idea itself.
And the video they posted accusing “Conan” of plagiarism uses editing to hide the fact that their version of the bit is actually pretty different than Core and Scovel’s. In this full, unedited video of their routine from 2008 shows that their two comedians essentially do the same routine at the same time. The setup is the same, but the actual performance and punchline isn’t.
So, did Conan rip them off? No. Did Dore and Scovel rip them off? I suppose it’s possible, but probably not. In any case, don’t expect to get your demand for a spot on Conan filled anytime soon, Last Call Cleveland.