The other day, it had been pointed out that E! had allegedly stolen a bit from the MTV show Nikki & Sara LIVE. The bit that was started in season one centered around co-hosts Nikki Glaser and Sara Schaefer working the red carpet at the MTV Movie Awards, delightfully spoofing entertainment news personalities’ tendencies to try to get touchy feely and chummy with every passing celebrity. The pair played a secret game to see who could sneak in the most celeb touches and even got Steve Carell to join in on the fun.
Well the E! network must have loved this bit a little too much, seeing as they’ve turned around and self-parodied themselves in the exact same manner. Check out and compare the clips. Do you think E! stole their bit from NSL?
That looks like a resounding “hell yes.” They even used the same sound effects!
It’s odd is that E! is taking a bit that was making fun of their own people, but it’s not overly surprising to see them embrace this. The network’s most successful scripted shows, The Soup and Chelsea Lately, take a lot of their material from E!’s own pitiful news and reality programming. E! has always had no shame in their game… but this is a different kind of shameful. Joke theft is disrespectful in itself, but as Nikki & Sara LIVE was canceled in November, it comes across like even more of a slap in the face.
Now… whenever joke theft is an issue, there are always some people who will say: “Hey, be flattered they found your joke funny enough to rip off…”
There is nothing flattering about having someone else blatantly steal and benefit/profit off of something you’ve put time and effort into, all while trying to pass it off as an original thought. That’s like saying, “you should be flattered your identity was stolen. Of all the wallets in the world, that guy chose to steal yours!”
What irks me in particular about this, is that it is E! doing the joke theft of all people/channels/thingys. E!, a network largely responsible (or at least hugely enabling) this seemingly never ending trash reality TV trend. It’s a polished TMZ that spends every hour delivering gossipy slime about celebrities and invents celebrities out of the shallow, talentless, and mega rich of LA or out of their own dull TV “personalities” (an ironic title). They don’t create creative, artistic content. E! personalities are not comedians, nor actors, nor quality entertainers. All they do is suck up to hip celebrities, speculate about their sex lives, and make fun of their clothes behind their back. Essentially, they get paid to be ninth grade girls.
More so, this embracement of the train wreck philosophy of “it’s so bad you have to watch” programming is what makes it harder for real writers and entertainers to sell and keep original scripted shows afloat. Networks have so little patience with scripted TV of late, and opt to quickly dump them in favor of the cheap reality bull that’s ruining TV. A struggle that is only made worse when what little quality scripted material that reaches the air can be effortlessly stolen. It’s an insult to injury (make that slap no.2).
Whoo boy… let’s wrap up. Joke theft is unacceptable and shouldn’t be condoned is the theme here (was that clear?). Many do not see joke theft as a big deal, and let’s be honest, it’s not the worse thing that can happen by far. Of course this isn’t Glaser and Schaefer’s only joke, and nobody survives or is “made” from a single joke. Their show had many highs (watch their spoof commercial for “Celebrite” perfume and any of their “Fun, Fun, Real” segments) and both comedians are very successful in other medium’s of comedy. But still, in any other profession, passing off another’s work as your own is wrong. Plagiarism can get you kicked out of college, and get people fired from their jobs. And simply put, it’s just a total dick move. Is it too much to ask for a little decorum?
Not to mention, it’s not just Schaefer and Glaser that’s being disrespected here. There’s an entire crew that worked on this segment; writers, producers, editors, etc. These people are not the center of attention but still are very much responsible for creating content. Unfortunately for them, only those who read the credits or are big enough TV nerds to care about the off screen talent know about these behind the scenes efforts. It’s not fair to them either. So strike three… or slap three, I forget what currency I’ve been working in.
E! has yet to comment on the issue. It’s not like the damage can be undone, but a simple apology feels fitting… for everything. Joke theft, the Kardashians, Rich Kids of Who Gives A S***, etc. I mean, somebody should apologize for those… but can settle on just this.