Comedy star Amy Schumer is vehemently denying claims that she stole jokes from several other comedians - including Wendy Liebman, Tammy Pescatelli, Kathleen Madigan and the late Patrice O'Neal.
The accusations against the Emmy-winning comedian surfaced on Twitter over the weekend, prompted by a tweet from Liebman that said she was "done with social media" thanks in part to "Amy Schumer doing 1 of my best jokes on her HBO special."
It didn't take long for other comedians to weigh in. Comic Chuck Martin suggested that Liebman and Madigan "should talk" - implying that Schumer had stolen jokes from both women. Pescatelli tweeted a link to a joke she made in a Comedy Central special in 2006, about how women dress their men to be unappealing to other ladies: "Men, if we love you, we dress you for other women ... that's why we dress you stupid." She then compared this to a similar joke in Schumer's hit movie Trainwreck, wherein Schumer's character talks to her sister about her husband: "You dress him like that so no one else wants to have sex with him?"
The Twitterverse soon jumped on the bandwagon, and other comparisons began to circulate. There was a series of jokes from Patrice O'Neal's stand-up, featuring X-rated descriptions of various sex positions - some of which were very similar to those used by Schumer in her HBO stand-up special last year.
And there was the joke that started it all, a decades-old bit by Liebman about dating: "I'm pretty old fashioned. I like it when the guy pays ... for sex." And Schumer, from her stand-up last year: "I am very old school. I think the guy should always pay on the first date ... for sex."
Schumer moved fast on Twitter to deny the accusations. She then appeared on Sirius XM's Jim Norton Advice Show, where she emphatically reiterated that she had never stolen another comic's jokes: "I would never, ever do that, and I never have." She added that she was "literally going to take a polygraph test" to prove her innocence.
On my life, I have never and would never steal a joke.— Amy Schumer (@amyschumer) January 20, 2016
Schumer expressed admiration for Madigan, Liebman and O'Neal, and insisted that she had never seen any of the original material she was accused of stealing: "I have to come up with so much material - the TV show, this movie, stand-up, and I'm so careful. And none of these things had ever reached me."
She said she was on good terms with Madigan and Liebman, and suspected that Pescatelli was the one with a problem: "Both Kathleen and Wendy believe me, they know me, and they don't believe that I would do that," she said. "I think this is Tammy trying to get something going."
Schumer and Norton both noted that it wouldn't be a wise move to steal the work of comedians she has publicly praised. "I just would never do that," she said. "That would be so stupid for me to do that."
On Wednesday, Liebman tweeted a clarification of the comment that started the fracas:
"I never said @amyschumer stole my joke. I just said it was the same. It's possible we both wrote it. I just wanted you to know I wrote it 1st."
I never said @amyschumer stole my joke.I just said it was the same.It's possible we both wrote it.I just wanted you to know I wrote it 1st.— Wendy Liebman (@WendyLiebman) January 20, 2016
And other comedians, including Aziz Anzari, Colin Quinn and Norton, came to Schumer's defence.
Anyone accusing @amyschumer of stealing jokes is a ding dong. She's one of the hardest working ppl I've ever met. Doesn't steal jokes.— Aziz Ansari (@azizansari) January 21, 2016
Pescatelli, meanwhile, stuck to her guns and seemed bemused at the suggestion that she had engineered the attack against Schumer's comedy:
I appreciate the credit of being a mastermind,but I am ahard working wife,mom&comic.I barely have time 2start my car https://t.co/w1opUzLIoa— Tammy Pescatelli (@TammyPescatelli) January 21, 2016
"I appreciate the credit of being a mastermind, but I am a hard working wife, mom & comic. I barely have time 2 start my car"
Listen Amy Schumer on Jim Norton Advice Show: