TV / Video

Comedians rally to bring infamous joke thief Josh Ostrovsky to comedy justice

Let’s not bury the lede before we bury the joke thief.

Comedy Central tells The Comic’s Comic today that the cable network never OK’d a pilot for Josh Ostrovsky — aka @FATJEW on Twitter, but more egregiously @thefatjewish on Instagram — and cut ties with the joke thief months ago. Before this month’s rallying cry from the comedy community turned into an uproar over CAA signing Ostrovsky as a client.

“We had a script deal that didn’t proceed to pilot and we currently have nothing in development with Josh Ostrovsky,” Comedy Central spokespeople told The Comic’s Comic.

As for agents at CAA? Their agreement to rep Ostrovsky only hit the trades on Thursday, via The Hollywood Reporter, which whipped up anger among comedians both famous and not-yet-famous, hundreds of whom have seen Ostrovsky steal their funny Tweets and attract millions of followers to his own Instagram account for them. CAA hasn’t commented since.

Comedians have made multiple variations of Ostrovsky’s character names trending topics on Twitter and Facebook all weekend long. And Twitter already has proven it can provide some help in cracking down on joke thieves such as @FATJEW.

Of course, that doesn’t do much to him where he’s at his most powerful: Instagram.

That’s where he has the most fans. That’s where he posts the jokes and memes of others but not before cropping out the attribution. That’s where the attention of major corporations and TV networks has come his way, offering him money for that audience he cultivated on the work of others.

When The New York Post profiled “The Fat Jew” in June 2014, the 30-year-old had “nearly half a million followers” on Instagram. By January 2015, when he was on Bloomberg TV, he had 911,000 Instagram followers. Never forget!

How’d he do it? “One. You need to be awesome,” he joked. “Two, you need to post awesome stuff that people want to see…and you know what? That might just be it!”

And now he has 5.7 million Instagram followers. FAILING UP, FATJEW! Last week’s article in The Hollywood Reporter curiously still listed his age at 30. So he’s a joke thief who doesn’t age, either?!?!

By now, he’s appearing on a Showtime series, 3 a.m.:

And he has a book coming out in October via Grand Central Publishing, “Money Pizza Respect.” Two out of three can still be bad.

Even if CAA drops him, he’s not the only problem. Which reminds me: Fuck Jerry.

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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