New Zealand food company Aunt Betty’s apologizes for stealing Mitch Hedberg rice joke

Over the weekend, comedians caught a New Zealand food company in the act of pilfering a joke from the late Mitch Hedberg about race, and attributing it to its own company.

Aunt Betty’s apologized today, admitting to stealing the joke: “Rice is really great if you’re hungry and want 2,000 of something.”

The company previously had attributed to “Aunt Betty,” where on its home page, it claims “her enthusiasm and wit were legendary.”

Today? Not so much.

Aunt Betty’s posted an apology on Facebook, writing: “It has come to light that we made a big mistake on some recent packaging & unknowingly used a quote from a well-known & loved comedian. This lovely joke, we now know, was from the late Mitch Hedberg and we thank him for this. We intend to remove this from the packaging going forward and we apologise for any offence caused ‪#‎JokesArentFree‬

Here’s Hedberg telling the joke as part of his performance on a 2004 Gala at Montreal’s Just For Laughs festival (the rice joke happens 35 seconds into the clip):

And here’s Aunt Betty’s apology today:

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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