Conan O’Brien offered a detailed explanation of a legal case that has been dragging on for years in which he and the writers on his TBS show “Conan” were sued in July 2015 by Robert Alexander Kaseberg of San Diego, who accused them of stealing five jokes from his Twitter account and blog.
O’Brien lays out his side of the story in a column published today by The New York Post’s Page Six. He writes, referring to Kaseberg, “We had never heard of him or his blog or Twitter account, and we did not steal any of his jokes. Short of murder, stealing material is the worst thing any comic can be accused of, and I have devoted 34 years in show business striving for originality. Had I, for one second, thought that any of my writers took material from someone else I would have fired that writer immediately, personally apologized, and made financial reparations. But, I knew that we were in the right.”
O’Brien goes on to explain how, with the proliferation of comedians on the Internet, duplication of material — especially topical material — has become a commonplace occurrence.
“The fact of the matter is that with over 321 million monthly users on Twitter, and seemingly 60% of them budding comedy writers, the creation of the same jokes based on the day’s news is reaching staggering numbers,” he writes.
But after fighting the lawsuit for almost four years, O’Brien indicates that he thought it would be expedient to end it.
“This saga ended with the gentleman in San Diego and I deciding to resolve our dispute amicably,” he writes, adding: “I decided to forgo a potentially farcical and expensive jury trial in federal court over five jokes that don’t even make sense anymore. Four years and countless legal bills have been plenty.”
We encourage readers to click on the link above to The Post to read the full column.