Comedian busted in front of a live audience for stealing stand-up routines from the late Mitch Mullany

Sometimes kids will mimic their favorite stand-up comedians to impress their family in the living room or the friends in the classroom. But in a comedy club, it's never OK to steal another comedian's jokes for the sole intent and purpose of trying to further one's own career. Some joke thieves think they can get away with it if they play only one-nighters in small towns far away from thriving comedy scenes (Exhibit A: this guy last year ripping off Patton Oswalt).

Others think they can get away with it if they pick their jokes from the fruits labored by a deceased stand-up who was good but not famous enough to be known by all audiences. Such as Mitch Mullany, who died three years ago this month.

But Eric Gruber and Carlos Herrera, who host The Mostly Normal Show in the Hollywood Improv's Lab studio, decided to take this joke thief to task in front of a live audience at their show this Wednesday night.

Here is a video showing how the joke thief in question — who isn't named in the video — even ripped off the cadence and physical act-outs of several bits straight from Mullany.

When called out on it, at one point, he says while they're trying to play the video: "Obviously, I've seen it." This video also includes several comments from other stand-up comedians about joke-stealing. Roll it.


And in this second video, one comic chases the thief down the street and confronts him with a profanity-laced tirade, while the thief calmly claims that he "wrote the material." 


Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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17 thoughts on “Comedian busted in front of a live audience for stealing stand-up routines from the late Mitch Mullany

  1. Wow. Usually when someone steals jokes, they do it confidently, knowing the jokes work. His delivery was still awkward.

  2. as awful as it was…that chris neff guy is almost as unlikable. fuck them both

  3. I’d say that the clowns in this video are as equally guilty of theft as they stole Mullanys legacy trying to get attention for themselves. Did any of them actually know Mitch or give a shit about him? The confrontation of Garrett should have been done by those close to Mullany. Now Mitch Mullany’s material and legacy will now forever be assosciated with shitty editing, and some hack calling a thief a “souless cunt.” Garrett stole from Mullany at shitty open mics around los angeles. These clowns highjacked his material again for their own purposes first by doing a half ass job blindsiding him in front of an equally blindsided audience, then publishing a half-assed video to youtube. “I hope you die of aids”? what a showboating hack! Garrett got what he deserved, the question is will Eric Gruber and Chris Neff?

  4. AG, the problem is that the thief was told 4 months ago by one of Mitch’s closest friends at a show to stop it and 4 months later he’s not only doing the jokes word for word still but motion for motion. I also will say he wasn’t doing these jokes at shitty open mics as this was a nearly sold out show at The Hollywood Improv Lab and he(joke thief)as also done these exact jokes at packed bringer shows at The Comedy Store so it’s not just open mics and even if it were what does that have to do with anything? Stealing is stealing and it’s wrong no matter if it’s in front of 3 open micers or a packed club.

  5. the thief got what he deserved. but Mitch didn’t deserve to have this drawn out so publicly and in such bad taste. dont you get it? this is how people who didnt know mitch are going to remember him. That is not fair.

  6. AG, you’re out of your mind.
    Mullany’s legacy? Confrontation done by those close to Mullany? You’re not making sense. This was about outing a joke thief, this wasn’t about Mitch Mullany.
    “This is how people who didn’t know Mitch are going to remember him…” — No, it’s not. It will make them wonder who Mitch was, and likely be lured into his comedy. But even if that were the case, so what? Better to be remembered for this than for nothing at all.
    You’ve said too many very silly things for me to respond to each one. You’re just a silly person.

  7. I used to remember Mitch for his sitcom, and his role on the Waynes Brothers, but now all I think of is this. I can only take solace in my Waynes Brothers DVD collection.

  8. speaking as a friend of Mitch’s who’s not out on the LA scene much anymore, I’m glad these guys did this.

  9. To hijack an entire act like that – it borders on mental illness. That’s not just joke stealing; it’s identity theft!

  10. This was unnecessarily humiliating and done for the glorification of the “protectors.” Should have been handled better and in a way that was dignified for the decedent’s memory and not advertised like this.
    The hack running after him reminds me of the little bully bodyslammed by that 16 year old in Australia. A little natty pest.

  11. Dagwood, I completely disagree with you that the video was done for the glorification of it’s “protectors”. I get no glory out of being in this but am mearly sick of people talking about how wrong stealing is BUT they do NOTHING about it. This clown was told several times in private by some of Mitch’s friends on the scene to stop and he chose to keep doing Mitch’s jokes almost daring people to confront him. Add to the equation that he treated people like shit on the LA scene and the guy had very few supporters and or friends. People may think the execution of the video was too aggressive but given the fact that he was warned privately how would you have handled it differently? Instead of people going back and forth on what is right or wrong about the video tell me what would you have done instead?

  12. Clearly, something had to be done. The word needed to be disseminated to the community and the clubs. Could it have been another way, I don’t know.
    But, I think the second video of Chris running after the guy is really the pile on that was not fruitful. The damage was done – as President Obama said, there was no reason to spike the football.

  13. I can’t speak for Chris but if you know Chris that’s why people love him as he says what’s on his mind and doesn’t really care if people like it or not. If the joke thief had not been told politely I might add by some of Mitch’s friends that people were onto him I could see how this looked like an ambush but he was told at least twice that I know too stop. Publicly outing him like this to me was the last and more importantly to me appropriate way to ensure he stop.

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