In a story that promises to test the boundaries of your principles regarding intellectual property theft, as well as your human sympathies, Roseanne Barr has accused Chuck Lorre and Ashton Kutcher of stealing one of her jokes for use on Two And A Half Men, lending her argument the appropriate gravitas by presenting it as a three-day Twitter rant. It all began on Friday, when Barr relayed that her friends had informed her that a recent episode found Kutcher’s character making a joke about being elderly—“I’d imagine that you’re wet in the places you used to be dry, and dry in the places you used to be wet”—that’s noticeably similar to a line from Barr’s standup routine about menopause, as well as from your “List Of Things I’d Rather No One Say.” (It’s also pretty similar to a joke my uncle used to tell about how, as he aged, his dreams got drier and his farts got wetter, yet somehow my uncle has yet to escape such public condemnation.)
An incensed Barr launched a diatribe calling Kutcher a “motherfucking thief” that—after realizing Kutcher probably doesn’t write all his own material—eventually turned to Lorre, whom she accused of doing anything to make money (“lie, steal, cheat, rip off comics ideas, re use already overused premises2 entertain moronic droolers”) while threatening to sue and/or steal some of Lorre’s shows' jokes as payback (“altho NOT many R FUNNY”). However, Roseanne soon seemed to have a change of heart about blasting the moronic drooler-ready comic sensibility of the man who wrote and executive produced her own sitcom, commending Lorre on his “great sense of humor about himself,” and saying, “I forgive Ashton and Chuck! It’s prob one of their writer’s fault!”
By then she'd already refocused her rage as a scattershot blast on TV writers as a whole—whom she called “soulless thieves of comics’ intellectual property”—before escalating her complaint to the network she believes “should be responsible when their top shows are proven to use stolen intellectual property,” urging CBS to feel a sense of shame about Two And A Half Men.
But by this afternoon, Barr had come back around to Lorre, suggesting he’d known all along that he was lifting her joke, yet approved it anyway. Then, for good measure, she roped in Carsey-Werner Productions, accusing it of stealing her life for the Chuck Lorre-created ’90s sitcom Grace Under Fire. While those are some fairly bold charges—any of them possible grounds for more serious action than yelling on Twitter—all Barr really seems to want is an apology. Whether or not she gets one, let this be a warning to all of us that the jokes on Two And A Half Men may not be as clever as they appear, and that Roseanne Barr has a Twitter account.