Murphy Row: Corinthians 2016 (an Exercise in Plagiarism)

I did it, I did what no comedian should ever do. I stole from another comedian. Nothing more shameful or frowned upon exists in the community of comedians than stealing a joke. Yet every other week there is one comedian pointing the finger at another claiming “You stole my joke, you hack!”

A true joke stealer stands out like hearing an english proper noun in a sentence spoken in fluent spanish. The greater community of comedians  identifies  the culprit  and  effectively shuns them  as though their skin were falling off with leprosy. What gets sticky is when two comedians earnestly believe they wrote an original joke, yet find themselves both performing decidedly unoriginal material.

Being a group of people who take fastidious notes about their jokes, and constantly record themselves performing material, one comedian will be able to prove that he or she wrote the joke first implying that the other stole the joke. The other, not wanting to be labeled a joke stealer, will continue to deny that he or she knowingly stole the joke and suggest the two comics simply wrote similar jokes independently of one another. While it is possible for two people to come up with the same premise and arrive at the same punchline since there are only so many original ideas about Tinder, I believe there is another possible method for accidental joke stealing.

Comedians see an incredible amount of stand-up comedy in pursuit of their own goals. They see so much that it is literally impossible to remember it all. Short of a salient memory, there is something deep in the inactive synapses of the brain that remembers. Most joke stealing occurs this way, a funny idea pops in the head of a comedian and immediately it fits in the structure of a joke he or she doesn’t remember hearing. As the comic wrestles with the idea and tries to write the joke, the joke the comic heard in the past comes back to mind mistakenly as an original idea. It helps to understand that the best jokes often come fully formed in a flash of brilliance. It becomes hard to tell the difference between a brilliantly original idea, from a brilliant joke recalled without the memory of hearing it originally.

In this manner I stole my idea for the following post from a fellow writer for Drinkers with Writing Problems. To make matters worse, of the 10 people writing for drinkers I stole the idea from one of two other comedians in the group.

I had a funny idea and wanted to include it in a post. The idea was this, “anyone who truly loves you knows your Chipotle order by heart.”

I found this one simple thought entertaining enough that I wanted to extrapolate an entire blog post from it. I thought this idea would be a humorous substitution for the common passage from Corinthians that is read at too many weddings. I thought I should rewrite the classic Bible passage to reflect more modern times and include this Chipotle musing. Unfortunately for me the only reason I was creative enough to come up with such an entertaining idea is because I had already read that post not two months prior.
Luckily I have a college education, so I know it is only plagiarism if you fail to cite your sources. So I offer you Corinthians 2016, inspired by Conor Cawley.

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not watch ahead in Netflix, it does not post unflattering pictures, it does not concern itself with the number of likes. It does not unfollow.

Love does not talk shit in the comments, share attacking and hurtful posts, or relish in epic fails, but tags other people to spread the love of positive engagement. Love is not savage. Love does not switch to all caps easily, nor does it save a file of haters. Love does not delight with trolling, but rejoices with those woke AF.

Love always protects and never texts while driving. Love always trusts, and shares it’s streaming passwords. Love always hopes like it’s still ’08. Love always perseveres like Superhero movies at the box office.

Love never fails. It responds to your texts in a reasonable amount of time and remembers your Chipotle order by heart. Love knows all the spoilers and doesn’t post any of them.

Where there are YouTube stars, they will fade away. When there are hit songs, they will become oldies. Where there is Wikipedia, the entries will be updated. When I was a child I posted as a child with disregard for the repercussions, not seeing my true impact on the people around me. When I became a man I let go of frivolous posting and only shared what represented my true nature, letting go of my need to pose as cooler than I really am.

We see ourselves through the front facing camera, but through love we drop the screen and see ourselves in the eyes of those who bear our love.


  1. “When I was a child I posted as a child with disregard for the repercussions, not seeing my true impact on the people around me. When I became a man I let go of frivolous posting and only shared what represented my true nature, letting go of my need to pose as cooler than I really am.”
    -It’s better than the original, man.

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