The world of stand-up comedy is rife with feuds. There are cases where comics have accused other comics of stealing jokes, as well as conflicts over styles that create tension. Many of these feuds end up on stage, while others take place behind the scenes. Some of the feuds carry on for years and end up bringing other comedians into the conflict. Below are three famous feuds and a brief background on the issue.
Bill Hicks Vs. Denis Leary
Bill Hicks was a stand-up comedian from Boston. Many comedians consider him one of the best stand-ups of his era to not achieve popular success. Denis Leary was also a stand up in Boston and he was friends with Hicks. However, that relationship turned sour after the release of Denis Leary's debut comedy album, which Hicks, as well as many others believed, was way too similar to Hicks material. Leary claimed that there was no plagiarism, it was just a case of the same sort of topics. Sadly, Hicks ended up dying from cancer before he received widespread public acclaim. Leary, on the other hand, went on to star in major motion pictures and had a long-running television show. However, the accusations continued to follow him with many in the comedy world holding a grudge.
Carlos Mencia Vs. Joe Rogan
Carlos Mencia is another comedian who has come under fire for alleged joke theft. The issue was first brought to the attention of the public by fellow comedian Joe Rogan. It was Rogan who wrote a scathing takedown of Mencia and posted it online. Then, in an even more confrontational move, Rogan stepped onto the stage at an L.A. comedy club while Mencia was performing and publicly challenged him on the issue. Other comedians such as George Lopez have also stepped in and accused Mencia of stealing material. Mencia has gone on to claim that he has paid joke writers, and denies the accusation of stealing jokes. The feud has spread quite a bit because of Rogan and Lopez being outspoken while on talk shows such as Howard Stern.
Bill Cosby Vs.Eddie Murphy
This feud is not related to joke theft, but rather related to tone. The story goes back to Eddie Murphy and his stand-up performance in Raw. Eddie Murphy did imitations of Cosby, and let it be known to the public that Cosby wanted Murphy to stick to a less profane act and a more "clean" style, as was Cosby's method. Murphy objected to this and continued to use profanity in his stand-up and even said thatRichardd Pryor had told him to ignore Cosby. However, Cosby claims a different story. He told him his objection was not to the profane language, but more about Murphy's attitude towards other people and the way he was flaunting his wealth, which Cosby believed would create animosity. The feud continued for years with Murphy continuing to mimic Murphy during live performances.
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