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Conan on Settlement of 'Stupid' Suit: It's Been 'Upsetting'

Late-night host insists he and his writers never stole anything
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2019 8:35 AM CDT
This May 16, 2018, file photo shows Conan O'Brien at the Turner Networks 2018 Upfront event in New York.   (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) – Great minds think alike. That's the gist of an essay penned by Conan O'Brien in Variety, in which he addresses the settlement of a four-year-old lawsuit accusing him and writers for his TBS late-night show of stealing jokes. Robert Alexander Kaseberg accused O'Brien and his staff of lifting five jokes from Kaseberg's blog and Twitter account, and O'Brien gets right to the point in his essay: That didn't happen. What did happen, he writes, is that "different people around the world come up with the same joke all the time," especially when it's something making headlines (he provides a real example involving Dan Quayle). These days, the practice is called "tweet-saming," O'Brien writes, and based on his staff's monitoring of Kaseberg's tweets, Kaseberg himself has written similar jokes to those written by O'Brien's people, after they'd written them.

And O'Brien doesn't think Kaseberg stole them in those cases, either—it was just more tweet-saming coincidence. In fact, the late-night host insists most comedy writers are "honorable" and wouldn't want to pilfer others' jokes because there's no real money or good feeling involved in doing so. "What's important to me, today, is defending the integrity and honesty of my writers," he writes. "They are remarkably hard working and decent people, and this episode has been upsetting for them, and for myself." Meanwhile, Kaseberg reacted to the settlement Thursday on Twitter, posting, "While I am happy the case has been settled, I would like to officially apologize to HBO for leaving my coffee cup on 'The Game of Thrones' table." More from Conan on the "stupid lawsuit" here. (Read more Conan O'Brien stories.)

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