Canadian butcher shop steals vegan joke from comedian Myq Kaplan (Update)

By | December 31, 2013 at 4:20 pm | 8 comments | Audio/Video, feature slider, News | Tags: ,

Most stand-up comedians would be psyched when a joke of theirs goes viral on Twitter and is on the front page of Reddit. Myq Kaplan’s joke about vegans has become a hit on the Internet. Buzzfeed’s tweet about it has over 600 retweets and a photo of the joke on Imgur has over 600,000 views. It has over 13,000 upvotes on reddit! The problem is: the posts don’t give any credit to Kaplan performing the joke. All of the stories are about a photo of a sign in a butcher shop’s window in West Vancouver, Canada.

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Joke theft is a common worry amongst talented comedians whose bits may not yet be as recognizable like jokes from Jerry Seinfeld or Chris Rock. Kaplan, a New York City-based comedian who was a semi-finalist on Last Comic Standing and has released two well-reviewed solo comedy albums, performed the joke on Conan back in 2012. “The problem I have is that the story for everywhere that’s reporting/blogging/discussing it is, ‘Look, a butcher shop made a joke about vegans,’ and not, ‘Look, a butcher shop took a joke about vegans from a vegan,’” he told Laughspin.

As fans of Kaplan’s stand-up noticed the theft, comments began to surface from users of various social media sites crediting the comedian for the joke and shaming the shop for not doing so itself. The Windsor Meat Co. has since removed the joke from its Facebook page, posting, “Wow everyone needs to relax. The sign was a joke from a Vegan comedian that we found funny. Now everyone stop fighting and lets [sic] settle this all over a nice steak dinner…” They have still yet to say the name of that comedian and give credit where credit is due. When I reached out on Facebook to the company saying it would have been proper to credit Kaplan, they responded by saying they didn’t know who it was at the time. Instead of taking a moment to research the video they saw (or just not use someone’s joke without permission altogether), they went ahead and plagiarized, treating the comic like an unpaid advertising copywriter. A lesson to businesses: we know you’re not very funny. Pay the funny people to take care of your witty signs. Or at least throw their Twitter handle at the bottom.

See Myq Kaplan’s Conan set with his other vegan jokes below!

UPDATE: The Windsor Meat Co. has issued an apology to Myq Kaplan via their Facebook page yesterday after posts appeared about their plagiarism. “Apologies for not crediting talented comedian Myq Kaplan for the vegan joke we used on the sign,” they posted. “Although we were unaware of who the comedian was initially the bit made us laugh and we wanted to share it with our customers…not crediting the comedian when we found out his name was a mistake.”

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About the Author

Billy Procida

Billy is a stand-up comedian in New York City. Every week he sits down with a chick he's hooked up with to talk about sex, dating, and sexuality on The Manwhore Podcast: A Sex-Positive Quest for Love. Follow Billy on Twitter: @TheBillyProcida

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  • http://www.laughfrodisiac.com/ Laughfrodisiac

    Kind of just proves that butchers are idiots

    • Lana

      …would of been more relevant if they used the “name backwards – Lana” joke for a butcher

  • Pingback: Canadian butcher shop steals vegan joke from comedian Myq Kaplan – Laughspin « Standup Comedy Zone

  • Jason Wayne

    Jesus Christ will everyone calm down about joke thievery in the non-comedy world? It’s starting seem unattractively bitter. They’re not doing your act around the country, filming a special, taking credit from you while you’re called a hack for doing your own original material.
    They’re just normal people who wanted to make a person laugh, and like most normal people they often talk about what someone else was doing or saying.
    Which by the way. How many comedians get their material from observing these normal people and taking what they said or did and doing it on stage for laughter?

    Just relax. Take it as a compliment, a stranger liked your joke so much they told people they know. They’re a fan, and suddenly they feel hate from the comedy world for reasons they don’t understand.

    Comedians need to ask themselves. Do you do comedy to make people laugh, or to get credit for being oh so cleverer, funnier, and more observant than everyone. Personally, I think comedy is meant to help people, not show them up. At the end of the day, if you’re angry people are laughing at something, are you really the defender of comedy you claim to be?

  • Rob Close

    “Instead of taking a moment to research the video they saw…” How do you know they saw the joke on a video? I read this joke on Reddit over a year ago – and saw no attribution there then. It’s not like they were selling the joke – seriously, lighten up.

    • unfriended

      The business said on Facebook that they saw the video.

  • MrWorms

    Treating comedians like unpaid copywriters is definitely horrible, but it’s not like they used his joke in a national advertising campaign. The only reason anybody outside of West Vancouver even knows about this is because it went viral. It would have been better if they had credited him, obviously, but the thing was written on a chalkboard in a local business.