Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Conan Probably Ripped Off a Last Call Cleveland Sketch

Posted By on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 11:15 AM

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At least it certainly looks that way. [Ed. note: As the AV club commenters have pointed out, it doesn't seem like this was a sketch written by Conan or his writers but by Jon Dore, a comedian who was appearing on the show. Some have vouched that Dore has been doing this bit for years.]

Last Call Cleveland posted a tidy compilation video showing their performance of a longtime crowd-favorite sketch about double booking comedians alongside clips from a recent episode of Conan with almost, no... basically, no... exactly the same sketch. Not so coincidentally, Mike Polk and Last Call Cleveland performed the sketch in L.A. three times when they were in California a month ago. Or coincidentally, depending on your view.

The tongue-in-cheek YouTube description from LCC: "Conan O'Brien was gracious enough to allow one of our most popular and beloved live sketches to be performed on his highly rated television show by people who aren't us."

After the jump, Mike Polk talks about how this happens, how he feels (spoiler: he doesn't), and some other stuff he sent over email.

This has happened pretty frequently. We've had remarkably similar versions of our stuff featured against our will on other web sites, SNL and, to a less honorable extent, MAD TV. And no doubt it's often a coincidence but it's also possible that somebody has seen it somewhere or another. We have a bunch of stuff on the web and we perform at sketch festivals all over the country including New York and L.A., and the room is always full of writers from shows like these. I do think it's possible that at times these writers just get lazy and decide to hack something from these no names from Cleveland because what are they going to do about it? And they're right. We really have no leverage. And the bummer is, as soon as they do it, it's no longer ours. They did it on a bigger stage so it's their now.

There was one time that it was so egregious that I actually sued and won a settlement. That was for this.

It was actually written as an essay that Last Call just threw up as a performance piece to fill time. But luckily we had a dated version of it on youtube that proved we did it first, so before they could try to make some terrible movie they were trying to get together, they had to settle with me.

Other times, it's more subtle. But I wouldn't be surprised if someone saw the dueling stand up thing. We did it in three different shows a couple of months ago out in L.A. including a show on The Comedy Central Stage, so I think it's pretty feasible.

But what are you going to do?

I do wish that they would have elected to take one of our myriad terrible sketches, rather that that one, which is quite good and fun. And I do think that our guys performed it far better. They really had their timing down and it always did well for us.

And as far as your question about how it leaves me feeling, I stopped feeling years ago. Now I just react.

We're trying to figure out if there is some way we can cash in on it, not monetarily obviously, but as far as getting a little attention for it. And I think that this tiny article on a local Cleveland 'Zine blog is just the kickstart we needed.

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