Updated: Tammy Pescatelli has apologized for accusing Amy Schumer of stealing jokes. Earlier today, Pescatelli went on the Jim Norton Advice Show, where Schumer herself appeared as a guest the day before, and apologized profusely for her tweets and accusations. "I went too deep," Pescatelli said. "I went too far and I am super apologetic." Pescatelli also agreed that the Trainwreck star had "every right to be mad," and that the parallel thinking between both their jokes and skits "does happen" in the industry.
Updated January 20, 8:15 p.m.: Amy Schumer has responded to the accusations with a categorical denial.
There are lots of explanations for why the jokes are similar. And they are, have no doubt, very similar. For reference: here’s Amy's “Slap Chef” sketch, and here’s Kathleen Madigan’s bit on the same general topic. Stealing jokes is a major accusation for a comedian to make, and also distressingly common. Anyone who's made a joke and then heard another kid repeat it for huge laughs knows the feeling. Now picture that literally being your career. Not fun. (This Key & Peele sketch does a pretty great job with the topic.)
This story was originally published on January 19 at 3:45 p.m.
Right when Amy Schumer seemed to be triumphing in the Twittersphere, she's facing another internet debacle — one we're tempted to nickname "Funny Women, Serious Accusations." Over the weekend, three female comedians — Wendy Liebman, Tammy Pescatelli, and Kathleen Madigan — all shared frustrations on Twitter about seeing familiar material appear in a variety of bits by Schumer, ranging from Inside Amy Schumer to Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo to Trainwreck. Apparently, it started with a now-deleted tweet from Liebman reading, “Between Amy Schumer doing 1 of my best jokes on her HBO special and this meme of my joke, I’m done with social media.” The meme, which was not related to Schumer, shows another alleged rip-off of one of Liebman's jokes. Then, Chuck Martin, a comedian, writer, director, and producer, suggested Liebman talk to Pescatelli and Madigan about their own qualms with Schumer's jokes. Thus ensued the following back-and-forth conversation on Twitter, in which the comedians point out specific instances where they believe Schumer took jokes from their stand-up routines. Pescatelli said Schumer used to open for them when she was on the road, which could be where she first heard the material. Some of the tweets have since been deleted, but we've captured the text, below.
The women clarified that they weren't trying to start "beef," but had been frustrated at the likeness between the jokes for a while now.
Meanwhile, Schumer has been posting behind-the-scenes pictures of the fourth season of her Comedy Central series, Inside Amy Schumer.
We reached out to Schumer's representives for a comment on the accusations, but they were unaware of the tweets and have not yet responded. We also reached out to the comedians for comment on their complaints, but have not received a response. The discussion eventually simmered down, with Liebman issuing this last tweet.