Before we get into this, I would just like to remind everyone that life is hard, and that we should all be so lucky as to find something that makes us happy in this world. There is no pride or glory in picking on the little guy who is just trying to figure out what it all MEANS. That being said, there is also no pride or glory in being a fucking jerk and doing things that you know are wrong. America, I would like to introduce you to Nick Madson. He is a young, would-be stand up comedian just trying to make a name for himself. He is no Dane Cook, and based on this performance (after the jump) he will not be a Dane Cook anytime soon. But he does share one thing in common with Mr. Cook, and that is being a joke thief. During a recent set in Davenport, Iowa, Nick Madson performed a number of Patton Oswalt bits, practically verbatim, peppered gently with some bits stolen from Louis C.K. and Dave Attell, you know, just to keep the rhythm going. When it comes to stealing jokes, ALWAYS BE KEEPING THE RHYTHM GOING:


Patton Oswalt has responded on his blog, which is worth reading. But this part is probably the worst part:

That Nick Madson is a thief is undeniable. Maybe, I thought, he’s a truly struggling actor, and did this show because he needed money, and feels bad about it. Or maybe he’s one of those deluded souls, like columnist and commentator Mike Barnicle (who lifted the majority of an August 2, 1998 Boston Globe column unchanged from George Carlin’s book Brain Droppings) who truly think that stand-up comedians get their jokes from books, and that any comedy bit is somehow public domain.

But then I find out that one of the other comedians on the show confronted Madson about the bits. And he said, in effect, “I write for Patton, and Louie, and Dave. I wrote those bits”.

So fuck him.


Look, Nick Madson is just some dude who performed in front of 12 people in Davenport, Iowa. But we still live in a world of consequences, and one of the consequences of stealing jokes from other comedians is getting called out on a relatively small pop culture blog in a post that tries a little too hard to toe the sensitivity line. Because, to quote Patton Oswalt, fuck him.

The weirdest part about it to me is that you don’t steal from Patton Oswalt, Louis C.K., and Dave Attell unless you actually LIKE comedy. Because those are three of the GREATS. Nick Madson wasn’t ripping off Jay Davis’s bits from Tourgasm. So, you know, as someone who likes comedy to another person who likes comedy (and who then steals that comedy and also lies about his relationship to that comedy) BOOOOOOOO. Get off the stage. Seriously, get off of the stage please.

Again, I recognize that this is small potatoes. But small potatoes aren’t NO potatoes. And even the smallest potato can still fit in a regular sized jail cell. (Via Fluxtumblr.)

Comments (75)
  1. He would’ve killed at my high school talent show.

  2. Lost is a terrible show.

    I might have stolen that joke.

  3. Sure he’s a lousy comedian, but his contributions to the field of astrophysics is undeniable.

  4. “That Nick Madson is a thief is undeniable. Maybe, I thought, he’s a truly struggling actor, and did this show because he needed money, and feels bad about it. Or maybe he’s one of those deluded souls, like columnist and commentator Mike Barnicle (who lifted the majority of an August 2, 1998 Boston Globe column unchanged from George Carlin’s book Brain Droppings) who truly think that stand-up comedians get their jokes from books, and that any comedy bit is somehow public domain.

    But then I find out that one of the other comedians on the show confronted Madson about the bits. And he said, in effect, “I write for Patton, and Louie, and Dave. I wrote those bits”.

    So fuck him.”

    - Nick Madson

  5. My Theory is that Dane Cook paid him off so he wouldn’t be the most notorious terrible, joke stealing comedian. My proof? Dane Cook definitely paid him off with those jeans.

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • Well, he already has a PATTON on his jokes.

      (I obviously did not steal that ‘joke’)

    • Is this a joke? I’m bad at joke reading.

    • For once in my life I just wanted to feel what it is like to be Steve Winwood. Thanks for making my dream come true, Monsters.

      • Kimbowee: Once you produce a work of art, you _automatically_ have a copyright on it. It’s not like a patent, which you have to file for and defend. Copyright is just that: a right to your art.

        Note that this isn’t an ambiguous case, where one comedian wrote a joke that was _like_ another joke. This guy told a joke word-for-word, which is technically plagiarism.

        • The comedy industry (art of comedy?) is something I am literally clueless about. I know much about copyrights pertaining to art: I’m a photographer. Thanks for filling me in!

          Does this also mean that anything I say is automatically copyrighted?

          • For a copyright to exist, there has to be a record of it someplace. So your comments in the message boards or things you write in your diary are copyrighted. That means people can’t steal Oswalt’s words, as written, and sell them.

            However, things get a little tricky when they simply say them out loud for free. Like he’s not necessarily committing copyright infringement by performing the act, or every cover band and shitty college guitarist would be committing copyright infringement every time they performed unoriginal work.

            If this guy is selling his performance, then he might face some copyright issue… Also, while everyone owns a copyright in whatever they right down, without filing a copyright with the copyright office, you can’t get any financial remuneration when people steal your work. You certainly can’t get the statutory damages.

            PRO TIP: If you’re a writer or creator of any art, certainly go through the process of actually copyrighting your work at the copyright office. It’s VERY easy and filing makes your work eligible for statutory damages.


          • Oh man I wrote “right down.” Oh man…

          • Are you there Steve Winwood? It’s me, Grammatical Error.

  7. I’m from Iowa and I could have warned you that Davenport is famous for getting flooded by the Mississippi River and breeding joke stealers.

  8. Actually, Gabe, Jay Davis’ bits from Tourgasm were planned to be in Nick Hilltop’s (hehe, Hilltop, good stage name) next set, along with some Tim Heidecker (“I don’t want a Coke, I want a Pepsi! 2, 3″) and some Eddie Murphy for good measure (“Gus, your wife is a Bigfoot!”).

    • P.S. I intentionally quoted those jokes to try and get at least a laugh of recognition out of all of you because I’m a closet joke thief myself. But I am working very hard to fight this addiction and with a little luck I can be the man that Sandy deserves. Shit, now I’m ripping off Jesse James! Dammit.

  9. It’s so neat to see how unfunny this stuff is when it’s done poorly. Kind of like listening to a cover of a great song that just doesn’t capture the spirit of the original at all. If the humor doesn’t come from within you, it sounds exactly like this guy: strained, desperate, crass, rehearsed, and boring.

    That’s all on top of the obvious moral wrong involved in passing off someone else’s work or ideas as your own. With respect to kimbowee’s theory, I don’t think anyone cares about what legal issues may or may not come up.

    Oh how gross this is. At the same time, I just spent 18 minutes frowning with a furrowed brow because I kept wanted to hear more of this hack thief.

    • Luckily my theory was the result of peaking on my ADD meds. I actually have a thorough understanding of plagiarism. It’s happened to me!

    • No kidding, besides the fact that it sounds wrong coming from him, he just rips through the pieces with lightning speed(at least, through the KFC bit because that’s all I could take).

    • back in the heady days of 2008 when seeqpod was still up and running my friend and i would get stoned and drunk and make epic, unending playlists of songs we knew the internet could provide countless cover versions of (proud mary, don’t think twice it’s alright, yesterday, etc.), and then subject ourselves to the pain of sitting through them all no matter how awful (a live recording of pontiac, michigan’s favorite bar band doing “the weight” anyone?). the point is, a bad cover version, regardless of intent, is so, so, so much more funny than this asshole. you can’t add an out of tune guitar and a totally misguided synthesizer breakdown to a patton oswalt joke.

    • We have reached maximum jibber jabber capacity on the other thread. Are you a lawyer from hell? Is that where copyright infringement claims are handled? Don’t sites such as videogum and facebook own everything we write on them?

      Obviously I am replacing google with you.

  10. Madson pulls [a bunch of jokes] off the shelf. “Oswalt, Attell, CK. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”

    • Great work, pep.

      • You guys give me the warm and fuzzies. I was waiting for some other, better monster to make this joke (what is it with people named Nicholas and being the worst? [this only applies to N. Sparks and N. Madson, all other Nicholases, you guys are the best]) but thought I’d go for the gold myself for once.

    • I love the imagery of pulling jokes off of a shelf.

      And I like the idea of jokes as tangible things. It makes me think that Nick Madson snuck onto Patton Oswalt’s joke farm late one night and wrangled some jokes. Now Madson is trying to sell these stolen jokes and no one’s buying them since the jokes just look dejected and bitter, because the jokes know that Madson is not their master.

      I feel like I could have used the word ‘jokes’ more in this post. Jokes.

      • You just made me picture all of Patton’s & Attel’s jokes lying on a blanket in a flea market next to stereos that have obviously been ripped out of cars. Ooh — look! An old Abbott & Costello. Man, I haven’t seen one of these in years. How much you want for it?

        “Who’s on First?” Yeah, see, I spent hundreds of hours crafting that one, and it still works, so… [shifts eyes] how about eighty? Okay okay — for you, fifty. But I’m taking a loss!

      • - The Bristled Bengalese Joke (Dromaius novaehilariandiae)

    • I love this.

  11. This is all gonna turn out to be viral marketing for the Double Down

  12. give him a call at 719-325-6486 to let him know how you feel. smart move, posting your phone number on your webpage, hacky mchackerson.

  13. ok, sure, he stole a few jokes, but honestly, if you guys had heard his bit about how his Uncle Gus’ wife is a bigfoot, you’d give him the benefit of the doubt.

    you do your thing Nick Madson

  14. I like this Nick fella, the confidence he exudes is breath-taking as he reads from his pile of joke notes.

    One question though, why did they make him perform backstage?

  15. Call me old fashioned, but I find the laziness of today’s joke thief discouraging. Really? Patton Oswalt’s KFC Famous Bowls bit? You couldn’t have stolen something more obscure from his ouvre? “Psst. I ripped off this song, White Christmas. Don’t tell anyone!”

  16. Watching Nick Madson do Patton Oswalt is like watching my 9 year old nephew try to play the opening guitar riff to Sweet Child O’ Mine. A tablature book doth not a Slash make.

  17. WOW. I have Patton’s albums memorized. I love them. They’re REALLY funny. I listened to them all through school, diligently working at my drawing desk, with my outdated discman playing Feelin’ Kinda Patton on repeat, quielty giggling to myself. Then I spread the love around and burned discs for my friends in the other classrooms and started hearing people laugh and recite Patton’s comedic genius on lunch breaks. SO much joy.

    Some classmates and I even ventured out to Caroline’s on two separate occasions to see Patton live, and being comic book art school students, got to chat with him extensively after both shows. He is a delight.

    I couldn’t watch these videos. I got through the famous bowls bit. Then Nick Madson gracelessly jumped into the Man Shave His Balls bit and I had to stop. This kind of theft is the WORST. It hurts my soul. I don’t care what his motives were behind such blatant reappropriation. FUCK. NICK. MADSON.

    • Wow you brag about how you burned discs for your friends and yet you are upset that this Nick Madison character “stole” from Patton Oswalt. You realize you have just dug your self in to an irony hole, yes? Here’s a hint: by burning those discs for your so-called friends, you denied Mr. Oswalt album sales. Move over pot calling the kettle black, looks like we have a new phrase for thievery and that phrase’s name is “KajusX & Chainsaws”

      • Go fuck yourself, Steve. They wouldn’t have heard it otherwise.

        • Shit, I think I just fed Steve.

          What I meant to say was, “Oh Steve, you’re so awesome. Why can’t _____ let you be ______?”

        • Whoa… calm down, techno-KajusX & Chainsaws. Just pointing out an obvious discrepancy in your vehemence is all, didn’t mean to cause your whole world to come crashing down all around you and blow your mind, friend.

          • No worries, Steve. I happen to have an extreme distaste for your whole shtick, so as soon as you pointed out a very valid observation based on my story in your usual, shitty way, I became irritated.

            You may or may not know this, but, people when stories get told sometimes aspects of them are glossed over or simplified for time. I unfortunately did so in a way that made me a hypocrite in my own story, as you were quick to pick up.

            But now that I HAVE to think about this particular event because of your astuteness, I recall that I actually only ever burned one disc at the request of my- oh, who fucking cares? why am I writing about this shit?

            I stole from Patton Oswalt. Let’s just leave it at that.

  18. I love the the second video when he says ” I remember when I was starting out”. I ‘m surprised he didn’t do Chris Rock’s “Black people Vs N*****”

  19. I’m too ashamed of Iowa and of comedy to watch all of these. I live in one and do the other (not for long to one but probably really both of these things, though!!!!!!)

  20. What’s the point ripping off the words without ripping off his inflection and timing? That’s like stealing only one half of a priceless, priceless pair of jewels … from Patton’s pants.

  21. Wow, something finally got me to go back to Myspace.

  22. I just want to meet the guy who called him out and give him a high five. o/\o

  23. You know what we do with joke thieves boys, cut out his joke-box and send it to him.

  24. He’ll always be the guy who sucked Vincent Gallo’s cock on camera.

  25. Nick Madson is a plagiarist commentator.

  26. Yikes! We need to give this guy a break. He’s doing his routine in a creepy rape dungeon. There’s someone off camera with a sniper rifle forcing him to do hackneyed, verbatim renditions of well known bits under the fear of either being shot or raped on that biology lab table that his script is on.

  27. Now you know how I felt when Gallagher stole all my watermelons.

  28. This bit does go to show you how important delivery is though. Repeating these jokes word for word they still get virtually no laughs for an audience that (im assuming) has never heard them before. Man. I like that when I think of myself as a comedian who has never written a single joke or ever performed in front of an audience, I can at least take comfort in knowing i’m a more honorable comedian than this guy.

    • I was just going to say exactly what Ben said. Good work, Ben.

      It’s really amazing how much these suck when Patton is not doing them. I always gave him credit as a brilliant comedy writer, but this proves his delivery is like half of what he has going for him.

      • The other thing this proves is the importance of authenticity. Stand-up comedy is at its best when you feel like you are getting to know the skewed but hilarious worldview of an actual person. The best alternative comics create an on-stage persona who is at least an exaggerated versions of themselves. The more honest their bits feel, the funnier they are.

        This guy, clearly, is NOT the person he is pretending to be. Patton Oswalt is that person. And without that authenticity, it just feels really awkward, even if you don’t know the jokes are lifted.

  29. “Hi, I’m Nick Madson, the comedian. There’s one article about me on the internet and it contains the phrases, “fucking jerk,” “joke thief,” “Dane Cook,” and “Davenport, Iowa.”

    -Nick Madson

  30. There’s a little David Cross “shut up you fucking babies” in there too

  31. We live in a “now” lottery winning reality TV star society that demands instant gratification and immediate results, whilst overlooking the time-tested skills and proven talents that were once a necessary requirement for fame and fortune. Much to the chagrin of totally unfunny and unoriginal Nick Madson, we also live in a voyeuristic world where the camera is always running and the Internet never goes to sleep. Trust us Nick, we wont wont be stealing your act anytime soon.

  32. Dan Bakst is stealing from Nick Madson!

  33. Although joke thieves are obviously the worst, it’s almost comforting to me that these people (Dane Cook, Carlos Mencia, etc) are just the most HORRIBLE comedians. Hopefully we will someday find out that Jeff Dunham’s act is plagiarized from a local comedian.

    Wait….that would mean more than one Jeff Dunham…

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