Hmm ... Bozo line sounded a tad familiar
In a recent column I disclosed the shocking and largely unknown fact that most children hate clowns. (Unknown, that is, mainly in southern Armenia and parts of Uzbekistan where the only clowns kids see are those from yearly visits by the international humanitarian organization Clowns Without Borders. Children in the rest off the world know clowns are evil.)
I mentioned that kids didn't always hate clowns, it's just that with serial killer clowns on every other TV channel these days, well, tykes have become leery of weirdoes with enormous glowing noses, painted-on smiles and tacky mismatched outfits. (Wait, are we talking about clowns here or presidential candidates?)
I pointed out that kids loved the first TV clowns, like Bozo the Clown. And added, "You knew he was the first because he had to call himself 'Bozo the Clown' so nobody would think he was 'Bozo the Wiener Dog"' or 'Bozo the Certified Public Accountant.'"
So I received a note from a reader which said, "It appears that Jerry Seinfeld is stealing your stuff." And he included a line from a "Seinfeld" episode in which Jerry says, "I mean, Bozo the Clown ... does he really need 'the clown' in his title? Are we going to confuse him with 'Bozo the District Attorney'? 'Bozo the Pope'?"
Of course, it is impossible that Jerry stole the line from me since his show stopped filming in 1998. So I suspect the reader was hinting, in what he took to be a funny way, that I had somehow lifted the Bozo lines from Jerry. Man, that hurts. That really hurts. It's not that I'm above stealing another man's humor, but if I were going to pillage Seinfeld's stuff, I would have gone for something funnier, like "Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason." Except I would have changed "road" to "highway to Hana" or something Hawaiianish.
THE EASY way to explain why Jerry and I had the same idea is to say "great minds think alike." But the fact is that the "Seinfeld" show ran for nine years and included 198 episodes. You figure each episode had about 100 funny lines, so that's nearly 20,000 jokes. Seinfeld simply used up all the jokes in America. There are no original jokes left. Any jokes you hear on TV now or funny lines you read in newspapers either originated on "Seinfeld" or were imported by foreign joke-producing countries. (How many Armenian children does it take to kill a clown? None. Because Clowns Without Borders clowns wear Kevlar vests and carry automatic weapons.)
I suppose I should run each of my columns through the vast Seinfeld Joke Database to make sure I don't inadvertently publish something similar to Jerry's. But because Jerry has already used up all the humor in the country, what's the point? Besides, "Bozo the Certified Public Accountant" and "Bozo the Wiener Dog" are tons funnier than Jerry's "Bozo the Pope" and "Bozo the District Attorney."
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