The Greg Wilson is Accused of Stealing Another Comedian’s Material while recording America’s Got Talent
According to the story that I first read on Slashfilm.com, comedian-contestant, The Greg Wilson, was performing on “America’s Got Talent.” He went to his closing bit which was an act-out of a mimed argument of a couple arguing in a car.
The crowd loved it, the first two judges loved it. When they got to Howie, he asked the contestant, (The Greg Wilson), “Did you write this, or are you performing someone else’s material?”
Right there in front of the audience and the cameras at the Pantages in Los Angeles, he gets asked if he stole material!
To top it all off, Howie says that he knows the comic that does the bit in question. Then he reveals the name of the comic: “Frank Nicotero.” Some of you may say, “Who the hell is Frank Nicotero?” Well, Frank is a comic who has been around for quite a while. He’s smart and funny… and he also just happens to be the warm-up comedian for… (drum-roll please)…
AMERICA’S GOT TALENT!
So The Greg Wilson is being accused of stealing a bit from a comedian who (unbeknownst to him) is in the SAME ROOM!
DOUBLE OUCH with an “OH SNAP!”
Being accused of stealing material is a big deal in this business. It’s scummy. It’s pathetic. And it can ruin a reputation and possibly a career… isn’t that right Carlos Mencia?
But to be snagged while doing it for a television show that gets to broadcast out to tens of millions is epic!
Here’s where it gets a little gritty:
I watched both comedians performing the bit:
Here’s Frank Nicotero:
Here’s The Greg Wilson: (The Bit starts at 3:43)
See The Differences?
When I watched both of the videos my initial reaction was this:
This bit is a high concept bit that could easily be performed by two different comedians. We’ve all seen couples fighting in a car and I could see that two comedians could come up with similar bits on that concept.
Based on the two versions, I thought that Greg Wilson did a more concise job defining the different characters and acting them out, but…
Jay Leno said to me: “There are no ethics in this business. You have to write faster than everyone else and your reputation will precede you.”
[gn_quote style="1"]Your reputation will precede you…[/gn_quote]
That’s where this conflict begins to sort itself out; and we can begin to answer the question of if the idea was stolen.
If we consider the fact that Frank Nicotero is a seasoned professional who has hosted a television show called “Street Smarts” for 5 years and has had additional success and has a reputation that is super solid in this business, the origination of the bit in question starts to become clear.
But this is what settled it for me…
According to people who know both guys, It’s said that The Greg Wilson KNOWS Frank and Greg has SEEN FRANK PERFORM THAT BIT for years. I mean the bit goes back to 1993 for Frank Nicotero. It has been Frank’s closing piece for a very long time.
That’s where it’s No Bueno.
It boils down to this: Having a reputation for being a solid writer and comedian with fresh ideas by actually doing the work and writing on a regular basis is crucial in developing your reputation.
By doing a comedy bit that is known to be a signature bit of another comedian, The Greg Wilson has created a dilemma for himself that he now needs to overcome. He has seriously tainted his reputation and that is now being spread via the internet and social media.
If this story continues to have legs, it could really have an impact on his career and what other people in this business think of him.
Also consider this: America’s Got Talent is a reality show. It stays on the air as long as the ratings stay high. Much of the ratings are driven by conflict and drama on the show and although Frank was told that The Greg Wilson’s bit will never be aired…
A decision might be made by the show’s producers to air the segment just for the sheer drama and conflict. It’s bound to drive ratings and new blog posts, shares on Facebook and tweets on Twitter.
This story doesn’t die here. It reanimates when the show airs in about 6 weeks for potentially tens of millions of viewers watching on T.V. and potentially millions in the blogosphere and social media all pointing to the headline of The Greg Wilson allegedly stealing Frank Nicotero’s routine and performing it on Television.
Your reputation precedes you, indeed.
Love to hear your thoughts on this situation pro or con…