Amy Schumer’s spectacular journey to prominence hasn’t been without controversy. After several charges of joke-stealing surfaced on Twitter, the comedian, who is riding high on the success of last year’s cinematic blockbuster Trainwreck, has been compelled to defend herself.
A video circulating online compares gags made by Schumer in her stand-up, show, and other work to tapes of other comedians making similar jokes years ago. In the video, Patrice O’Neal, Tammy Pescatelli, Kathleen Madigan, and Wendy Liebman are compared to Schumer’s stuff.
Schumer categorically disputed the allegations on SiriusXM’s Jim Norton Advice Show.
“I wanted to come and talked to you about (the accusations) and clear my name, because I would never ever do that and I never have,” she said. She also said that she is “literally going to take a polygraph test and put it on my show this season.”
Schumer also stated that she has never seen the material from the other comedians she was compared to. She claims the parallels are due to similar thought rather than copying.
“I have to come up with so much material for my TV show, (Trainwreck), stand-up, and I’m so careful,” she said. “None of these things had ever reached me… and I just would never do that. That would be so stupid for me to do that!”
Madigan, Liebman, and Pescatelli removed tweets implying Schumer copied their jokes hours after Pop Goes the News broke the story.
Schumer addressed similar charges last year when comedy reviewer Sean L McCarthy brought up the resemblance of a sequence of sexually graphic jokes also performed by O’Neal. “I have never seen that Patrice bit, but I will watch today. I love and miss him,” she wrote on Twitter.
Wendy Liebman endorsed Schumer on Twitter, calling the gags “parallel thinking.”
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, she also backed up the tweet, “I’m a huge Amy Schumer fan. She’s always been generous telling the press that I’m one of her influences. And she’s been so nice to me in person. So I want to believe that someone sold her my joke.”
“But if not, I’ve written jokes that I found out later were similar to jokes written by Phyllis Diller (‘My Grandmother said the secret to a successful marriage is don’t go to sleep angry. She’s been awake since 1936’), Margaret Smith (‘It’s that time of the month — rent’) and Steve Martin (‘My boyfriend put me on a pedestal — so he could look up my skirt’). And I’m sure there are more. I get it — there are only so many ideas. I doubt she intentionally took it but I wanted to at least claim what was originally mine.”