Comedy writer sues Conan O’Brien over a Super Bowl MVP joke

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After Tom Brady won his last two Super Bowl MVP awards, he said other players on the Patriots really deserved it, and the truck that goes with the honor. This year, that resulted in Patriots running back James White being given a truck on Conan O’Brien’s show. But now O’Brien is facing a lawsuit over a joke he told about Brady and his MVP awards.

Alex Kaseberg, a comedy writer, is suing O’Brien because a joke O’Brien told on his show about Brady offering the MVP truck to Malcolm Butler two years ago closely resembled a joke Kasebert published on his personal website. The butt of that joke was Seahawks coach Pete Carroll for the Seahawks’ decision to throw a pass on the 1-yard line, which Butler intercepted to seal the Patriots’ win.

On February 3, 2015, Kaseberg posted this on his website, according to the Hollywood Reporter: “Tom Brady said he wants to give his MVP truck to the man who won the game for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, Pete Carroll.”

That night, O’Brien said this on his show: “Tom Brady said he wants to give the truck that he was given as Super Bowl MVP . . . to the guy who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots. . . . So Brady’s giving his truck to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.”

A judge ruled that O’Brien and his employer, Time Warner, will have to go before a jury to determine whether they violated Kaseberg’s copyright with that joke and two others O’Brien told.

73 responses to “Comedy writer sues Conan O’Brien over a Super Bowl MVP joke

  1. Funny. I’m pretty sure 75 percent of my coworkers made that same joke that Monday. Pretty common thing say.

  2. “A priest, a rabbi, and Tom Brady walk into a bar…”

    What?…you wanna sue me?

    Bring it on, bro!

  3. Good luck with that. Somebody on Twitter probably came up with it even before this guy published it.

    That joke was pretty low hanging fruit. Let’s try this out. Pretend for a minute that they still gave out the truck as part of the MVP award after the most recent Super Bowl: “Tom Brady said he wants to give the truck he was awarded as Super Bowl MVP to the man who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, [insert name here].”

    Everybody was thinking, “Kyle Shanahan”, right?

  4. Typically I’m all for the little guy fighting against “the man” and coming out on top…..but Kaseberg seems like he’s got a serious case of the sour grapes. It’s an ok joke. Everybody was saying it after the game; all you had to do was subout Pete Carol for Russel Wilson, the Offensive Coordinator, Beast Mode’ inability to score on the goal line that year and you would likely get a complimentary/decent laugh out of it.

  5. Really???
    Must not be a great writer…even I thought of that joke on my own …Along with probably millions of others ppl. It’s not even that funny!

  6. No money. Not funny enough. It was Darrell Bevell who made the call.

  7. There were three jokes? Okay, let’s see. *With a roll of bills in hand*
    That’s $50 each. Come back when you some more. Nice doing work with ya.

  8. What’s the point? What are the damages? What happened to face to face conversation not cowardly lawsuits? There are legitimate court cases that are waiting because of garbage like this.

  9. It would be a bad precedent if this guy won his suit since these are basically ironic statement that anyone can (and probably did) say not actual jokes. Basically this guy is trying to say that sarcastic comments he posted on twitter are copy written material even though they probably weren’t original when he used them either. This is up there with when those two guys on youtube went around trying to copyright the word “react” and wanted to sue anyone who saw a thing and then said something about it because they invented doing that in their minds.

  10. Comedians have been stealing each other’s jokes since the beginning of time.

    Milton Berle (people who are old like me know who that is) once said, “That joke was so funny I almost dropped my pencil”.

    Bring on the lawyers! SMH

  11. “…closely resembled a joke Kasebert published on his personal website”
    =========================

    So if he wins if some else makes a joke you said on Twitter , you can sue? This in itself seems like a joke.

  12. Don’t know if I’d be suing over THAT joke.

    It’s pretty obvious by style and wit that “comedy” writer is actually m.florio.

  13. Just like when I submitted that cartoon to the New Yorker with the pig at the complaint window saying, “I wish I were taller.” Who woukd,have guessed?

  14. Never heard of this guy but there’s no way he thinks he’s the only one so clever to come up with that line.

    This is about getting some publicity and/or a small money grab opportunity.

  15. Kaseberg isn’t the only one who said that. I specifically remember seeing at least one or two people here on PFT make the same comment in an article about the truck.

  16. Why did Tom Brady give his truck to James White?

    To get to the other side…

    Thank you, everyone…try the veal.

  17. starrfavrerodgers says:
    May 19, 2017 5:59 AM

    Good luck with that. Somebody on Twitter probably came up with it even before this guy published it.

    ————————

    Yeah, I’d be surprised if somebody *didn’t* post this on Twitter within an hour of the game ending. Would be so funny if some random Twitter dude sued the hack comedy writer.

  18. How many times have we all read a headline here and had a humorous response pop into your head only to click on it and find a version of it already in the comments?

  19. It was a common joke 15 minutes after the Super Bowl and not even and original sports joke. And honestly, not that funny or original.

  20. Sucks for Conan. Not like he comes up with his own jokes at this point in his career. If somebody stole that joke, it was some scrub staff writer.

  21. if it was theft I doubt if it was Conan but rather one of Conan’s writers that copied. But it’s also more than likely that joke was made by many people.

  22. if it was theft I doubt if it was Conan but rather one of Conan’s writers that copied. But it’s also more than likely that joke was made by many people.

  23. man, good thing the PFT commenters haven’t started suing each other.. this place is like a recycling plant for low-grade troll humor

  24. Two findings needed for copyright infringement — access and similarity.

    Good luck proving access to this guy’s bloggo obscuro.

  25. Really Kaseberg? What time did you post that on Feb3 – because Brady said it on radio in the morning and a lot of press didn’t print it until mid afternoon, by which time you could have got your “joke” from the thousands of commenters on sites like PFT, or social media, or heard it in every sports bar that lunch time.

    So expect a class-action against you should you win – because we now know you can sue even if your joke is mundane, banal and so obvious that half the world thought of it too.

  26. I have a legitimate case for you; why doesn’t the guy who created “Altered Beast” sue Marshawn Lynch every time Beast Mode is used on one of his stupid hats or shirts? I mean, Marshawn Lynch didn’t even come up with it as a football term or nickname on his own… one of the sportcenter guys came up with it.

  27. Wouldn’t this clown have to prove Conan or a member of his staff actually read his stupid blog and stole the material? I would say there is no way he wins (because I told that joke myself the night of the SB only I used the OC name instead of the HC) but with the way some courts have made some head scratching conclusions it is a toss-up.

  28. thelastwordyaheard says:
    May 19, 2017 9:28 AM
    man, good thing the PFT commenters haven’t started suing each other.. this place is like a recycling plant for low-grade troll humor
    ———————–
    Especially Patriots fans – how many times, on articles that have nothing to do with the Patriots, have we had to read comments from them like, “Goodell will suspend Brady for four games over this”, or “the NFL will take away the Patriots first-round draft pick over this.” Get some original material.

  29. In one of the GTA games there was a commercial on the radio, “This is America. You can sue for anything…and probably win…or at least get a settlement. Brad Paisley had a song, “High Life,” talking about people who just try to get over making frivolous lawsuits. This is nonsense.

  30. Sorry, loser Alex Kaseberg. That joke was too common the day after that Super Bowl. How does anyone know YOU didn’t “borrow” it from someone/somewhere else? Hmm???

    I’ll bet O’Brien’s attorney will dig up dozens of Tweets from common schlubs who wrote the same/similar thing BEFORE you posted your precious post. You’ll lose, and will most likely have to pay court costs and defense attorney fees.

  31. bordner says:
    May 19, 2017 10:02 AM
    thelastwordyaheard says:
    May 19, 2017 9:28 AM
    man, good thing the PFT commenters haven’t started suing each other.. this place is like a recycling plant for low-grade troll humor
    ———————–
    Especially Patriots fans – how many times, on articles that have nothing to do with the Patriots, have we had to read comments from them like, “Goodell will suspend Brady for four games over this”, or “the NFL will take away the Patriots first-round draft pick over this.” Get some original material.

    Yeah, because all those deflate jokes were so cutting edge.

    One thing you can count on, after all the garbage Pats fans had to put up with over framegate, you can bet the ranch that this will never go away. And rightfully so. As ye sow…. you know rest.

  32. I hope the writer guy wins, just so we could find what the damages are for stealing a joke. I’d say the joke is worth about 3 dollars and 63 cents at best. This particular joke wasn’t that funny nor accurate. It lacked creativity. Everyone on the planet made that Superbowl MVP joke, except Seattle’s OC was the real butt of it.

  33. Just like when I submitted that cartoon to the New Yorker with the pig at the complaint window saying, “I wish I were taller.” Who woukd,have guessed?

    ______—————-

    IT’S A ZIGGY!

  34. It’s called parallel thinking, Alex. To have intellectual property rights on something I’m pretty sure it has to be NON-obvious.

    Putting the property rights aside though… should Conan really be held personally accountable for this?

    That joke was likely pitched to him by a member I think it is unreasonable to suspect that Conan: (A) knew that someone posted the same joke on a personal website that same day and didn’t care, or (B) was negligent for not knowing this.

    If anything Alex should be going after TBS. I still disagree with the principle behind this lawsuit, but it might make for a better case.

  35. I’m a comedian and comedy writer who’s ultra-sensitive to copyright issues (I’ve had some of my work legitimately stolen) and even I think this is ridiculous. Who the heck didn’t think of that joke after the game?

  36. A) It’s not very original and was probably said and published on social media many times before it made it onto this guy’s website. B) You have to prove damages even if something was taken from you. Did he somehow lose money as a result? Did Conan make any extra money as a result? Both of those would likely be difficult to prove.

  37. lol
    People were literally saying the exact same thing seconds after the MVP was announced.

    How could that be”HIS” joke? He probably stole it from seven different people at the Super Bowl party he was at

  38. Still trying to figure out what this has to do with James White? Did we really need to muddle things up like that in the opening paragraph?

  39. whatjusthapped says:
    May 19, 2017 8:29 AM

    If the guy needs money that bad, why doesn’t he just move to Minnesota where the jokes write themselves.
    ———————————–
    That’s okay, joke all you want. We don’t want you here anyway.

  40. Total money grab. The content of the joke is not protectable, not unique and not original. Also, given its obviousness, was independently created by thousands. Shame on the comedian. His case is ripe for summary judgment.

    Your trial attorney

  41. snowflake society

    ___________

    Agreed. And its especially keenly applicable to fans of teams that are beaten by the Patriots when those snowflake fans then whine, cry, and bellyache about a puff of air in a football instead of dealing with the result like adults.

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