Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Wayans Brothers sued for stealing jokes

Illustration for article titled The Wayans Brothers sued for stealing jokes

It seems like the inspiration behind a 2009 book called 101 Ways To Know You’re A Gold Digger would be intangible and free-floating, a matter of channeling the pop culture zeitgeist circa 2005 into a series of even older Jeff Foxworthy-esque gags and then rushing them out to a Spencer Gifts four years later. But Jared Edwards, a former assistant to The Wayans Brothers, has gone to court to stake his claim as the fount from which that very specific funny flowed. In his lawsuit, Edwards says that Keenen, Shawn, and Marlon Wayans initially rejected his idea for a collection of comical observations about women and their desire for men with money—perhaps preferring instead to focus on their ideas regarding satirically rendered methods for determining whether you are ghetto and thus having a ghetto Christmas, or the right time to get out of your mama’s house.


Edwards then alleges that the Wayans clan committed copyright infringement and breached an implied promise to pay him for his jokes by going forward with the book anyway, allowing this Reuters reporter to have some fun riffing on how “you know you're a golddigging joke-theft plaintiff when…,” pointing out that Edwards can’t claim copyright if he did the jokes as work-made-for-hire or if they were jointly authored, as they definitely were. Unfortunately, that’s bound to be the end of the fun for this trial, as both parties have apparently signed an agreement that certain “bad acts” won’t be mentioned during the trial, “including allegations that Edwards committed check fraud and borrowed $12,000 from Shawn, that Edwards engaged in sexual acts in Shawn's vehicle, and that Edwards threw a phone at Marlon.” Which is too bad for the defendants, as everyone knows all contracts are rendered null and void as soon as you have sex in your employer’s car.