A reader named Chase turned me on to this. Earlier this week at the 2008 Grammys, George Lopez did a joke that seemed very familiar to fans of Dave Chappelle. The joke revolves around how a minority candidate can protect themselves from assassination. Here’s the video:
It looks pretty similar and Dave Chappelle definitely did it first. But, considering the race for the Democratic nomination, I can see an argument could be made that this is a joke that any comic could observe. It is in the realm of current events now.
The extra wrinkle on this is that George Lopez has been an outspoken critic of Carlos Mencia, who Lopez once accused of lifting nearly 13 minutes of his material for Mencia’s HBO Comedy Half Hour. He even went to the extent of having a physical confrontation with Mencia at Los Angeles’ Laugh Factory. (Though Lopez made the accusation, no comparison video between their material has ever been made.) If you’re accusing other comics, you probably should be very aware of where your material might intersect with another comic, particularly a prominent one like Chappelle.
I think also should be noted that we can’t be sure this was Lopez’s material. The Grammys were allowed to use WGA writers and perhaps one of them scripted this line. I think this is unlikely - Lopez is a good comic and can easily bring in his own material. But it’s still possible that someone else scripted the line for Lopez.
So what do you think? Is this joke stealing? Or just a current events joke?