Sometimes kids will mimic their favorite stand-up comedians to impress their family in the living room or the friends in the classroom. But in a comedy club, it's never OK to steal another comedian's jokes for the sole intent and purpose of trying to further one's own career. Some joke thieves think they can get away with it if they play only one-nighters in small towns far away from thriving comedy scenes (Exhibit A: this guy last year ripping off Patton Oswalt).
Others think they can get away with it if they pick their jokes from the fruits labored by a deceased stand-up who was good but not famous enough to be known by all audiences. Such as Mitch Mullany, who died three years ago this month.
But Eric Gruber and Carlos Herrera, who host The Mostly Normal Show in the Hollywood Improv's Lab studio, decided to take this joke thief to task in front of a live audience at their show this Wednesday night.
Here is a video showing how the joke thief in question -- who isn't named in the video -- even ripped off the cadence and physical act-outs of several bits straight from Mullany.
My friends in comedy at Shecky Magazine and Comedy Juice both reporting today that comedian Mitch Mullany has died at 39. Shecky put a "rumor" headline on their post today after Mullany's management company declined comment, but comedian Butch Bradley spread the sad news via MySpace this morning and Comedy Juice, which considered Mullany a good friend of their shows in Los Angeles, report it as fact. No cause of death yet. We'll share more when we know more. Mullany appeared as "White Mike" on The Wayan Bros. sitcom, then starred in his own sitcom, Nick Freno: Licensed Teacher, which ran for two seasons (1996-1998) on the WB. In 2003, he hosted the "reality" contest, All American Girl, which aired on ABC.
UPDATE: Variety reported that Mullany died from a diabetic-related stroke. Memorial service planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, June 8 at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
Here are some clips Mullany posted himself last year:
More videos after the jump...