Patton Oswalt Fired Up About Ivy League Joke-Stealer
By PopEater Staff Posted May 26th 2010 08:39AM
Corman, a political science major, told the story as if it was from first-hand experience. After catching wind of the plagiarism, Oswalt sarcastically tweeted: "Congrats to Columbia University valedictorian Brian Corman! Great speech."
Videos of the speech, given May 16, and Oswalt's routine, from 2006, have been posted online.
Oswalt, star of 'Ratatouille' and 'Big Fan,' angrily told the New York Times that Corman's actions show just how little respect comedians receive from the general public. "In people's heads, they think that comedians can't possibly make up their own material," he said. "They must get it out of joke books."
He believes people "just can't imagine that a comedian can make up original stuff," adding, "They're like, 'I can just take it. He didn't make it up.'"
The funnyman said Corman wrote him to apologize, taking full responsibility for his error. "He didn't try to squirm out of it, unlike other people. He said 'I stole it, should not have done it, it was wrong.'"
On his website, Oswalt said Corman "flat-out admitted his thievery, his stupidity," but that the gaffe opens up much larger questions about the former student and, furthermore, the academic standards at Columbia University.
"Still makes me wonder what [Corman] might have done to become valedictorian," he opined. "I mean, if he's willing to steal material for something as inconsequential as a speech, how rubbery did his boundaries become when his GPA and future career were on the line? Oh well."
The Ivy League school addressed the growing scandal in a statement from Peter J. Awn, Dean of General Studies:
Oswalt has made tracking down joke-swipers a favorite pastime. Less than a month ago, he thoroughly skewered a comic named Nick Madson, who was caught telling Oswalt's joke during a show in Denver. Madson made some excuses and apologized, but that only made Oswalt angrier."It has come to our attention that a portion of our Valedictorian's remarks at this year's School of General Studies Class Day was taken from a comedy routine by Patton Oswalt. As an institution of higher learning that places a core value on respect for the works of others, we were surprised and disappointed to have learned of this matter today. Columbia University and the School of General Studies do not condone or permit the use of someone else's work without proper citation. The student speaker has appropriately issued an apology to his classmates and to Mr. Oswalt for failing to provide such attribution."
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