"When you lift a joke I have written, you steal from me. It is as good as stealing my wallet, my watch, laptop or just a robbery at my home.”

Stand-up comedian accuses The Kapil Sharma Show of copying a joke hes performed for 3 yearsAbijit Ganguly (L); Kapil Sharma (R). Photos via Facebook
Social Plagiarism Monday, April 24, 2017 - 16:27

After the controversy over comedian Sunil Grover’s abrupt departure from the Kapil Sharma show last month, the show is making news again, and not for a good reason. A stand-up comic, Abijit Ganguly, has accused the show of lifting and plagiarising his joke and using it in their 100th episode.

Abijit says in a post on Facebook that a video of him performing the joke in question was released about two weeks ago and “got a decent amount of traction”. He also claimed that he had been performing this particular joke for three years now.

“I have been doing this bit for over three years now and most people who have ever been to my show in the last three, would have heard this. And modesty aside, many have told me that this was one of their favourite jokes,” Abijit writes.

He says that he was informed by a friend about the alleged plagiarism on Sunday night, where Kiku Sharda, one of the comedians had attempted to perform the joke in The Kapil Sharma Show. 

While acknowledging that it is possible for two people to come up with the same thing, Abijit says that Kiku used the same examples as he did while performing, leading him to believe that it had indeed been lifted from his stand-up act.

The joke in question is one where Abijit talks about how many of India’s fast bowlers–including Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh–have elder siblings. Performed in a sketch about ‘Having an elder brother’, Abijit then delivers the punch: “Do you realise how weird it is that India’s bowling strength depends on the fact that elder brothers never let younger brothers ever bat?”

In the Kapil Sharma Show, Kiku asks a woman cricketer, who is also a fast bowler and a guest on the show, if she has an elder brother. He then goes on to say that she’s a fast bowler because elder siblings never let the younger ones bat, and also uses Kapil Dev’s example to substantiate.

Abhijit provides links to both videos in his post. In the first, Abijit's performance, he tells the joke at 3:08. In the second video, which is The Kapil Sharma Show's 100th episode, you can see Kuki retelling something similar at 52:15.

While the authenticity of Abijit’s claims is yet to be established, he makes an important point about the general tendency of people to lift something funny or witty they read somewhere, and pass it off as their own.

Abijit writes in his post:

“A stand-up bit takes a lot of effort to write and fine-tune. As comedians, we strive for originality and after having made all the effort in coming out with a unique observation and building a joke around it, when something like this happens it just deflates you.

We comedians make a living from our self-written jokes. It’s what I depend on to run my house. When you lift a joke I have written, you steal from me. It is as good as stealing my wallet, my watch, laptop or just a goddam robbery at my home.”

He ends by saying this sort of plagiarism is not okay because now that the joke had been said on national television, it might appear that Abijit was stealing it each time he performed it.

“I am feeling angry, and helpless. I just hope there can be enough noise around this, so that it doesn’t happen anymore with anyone else,” he said.

Read the full post here:

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