Man oh man, the internet loves a great yarn. So quick to pick up on a story that’s potentially controversial and run with it like it’s gospel.
That very thing happened to Amy Schumer this afternoon when a video clip surfaced that shows her performing her closing bit from her HBO special, Live At The Apollo this weekend. Intertwined with a bit that the late, great Patrice O’Neal performed at a Just For Laughs festival a few years back. In the clip, Schumer talks about what we’ve heard called “bedroom moves” or “bags of tricks.” They are a series of funny ideas that any kid who grew up on a United States playground heard since childhood – The Dirty Sanchez, The Cleveland Steamer, The Blumpkin, The Rusty Trombone, The Angry Pirate, The Hot Carl. Countless definitions of sexual slang that men tell teach other they “totally know a guy” that performed one of them on some unsuspecting woman. Just perform a search on Urban Dictionary and you’ll lose hours reading about all of them.
Schumer’s joke on the premise was a twist on such slang terms and how the female perspective is never explored. Patrice O’Neal’s version of those jokes are to find the funniest, dirtiest ones he’s heard of. Or to tell them in a totally inappropriate situation. The similarities of what Patrice and Amy do is that they just happen to use the same two types of tropes to prove their point and make the joke. However, since Patrice used said premises on camera first, the internet justice squad is crying foul. These ideas have existed for years and can’t be attributed to to O’Neal, or anyone for that matter. But how each comedian utilizes them is what sets them apart. Hackey, perhaps. But to title it thievery, you’re essentially giving Patrice O’Neal credit for creating the Hot Carl.
While the legacy of Patrice O’Neal should be admired and protected, to say that he’s being ripped off in this case is more a kneejerk reaction by people claiming they have him in their best interest. It’s a bit misguided and frankly, ignorant to the history of jokes. While it’s absolutely true that Patrice has been stolen from in the past, this isn’t a Kane Carter situation.
Comedian friends of both Patrice and Amy (Dante Nero, Colin Quinn, and Jim Norton) and even Patrice’s longtime girlfriend are already stating similar things this article does. Hell, even the video in question states that O’Neal and Schumer worked together in the past. There’s also a better than average chance the circles these comedians rolled in would’ve at some point mocked these types of tropes while hanging out.
Commenters on the video in question even pointed out they’ve seen Amy work out this joke in front of audiences asking them what they’ve heard and had those same premises thrown out from the crowd. The point is, the premise for these jokes are out there in the wild, long before they were mentioned by Patrice O’Neal. While people are getting hung up on the first part of Schumer’s bit, they’re forgetting that there’s an entire second part of the joke that’s her take on the subject.
In a nutshell, Amy Schumer didn’t rip off these jokes. No matter how loud you say it, it doesn’t make it any more true.