The five-time Super Bowl champion is actually being dragged into a lawsuit that claims O’Brien stole a joke used on his TBS late-night show.
Comedy writer Alex Kaseberg is suing the “Conan” host, stating that similar versions of his jokes turned up on O’Brien’s show — most notably, one about the New England Patriots’ last-minute victory over the Seattle Seahawks in 2015’s Super Bowl XLIX.
The suit alleges that on the morning of Feb. 3, 2015 (two days after the game), Kaseman posted the following on Twitter and on his blog: “Tom Brady said he wants to give his MVP truck to the man who won the game for the Patriots. So enjoy that truck, Pete Carroll,” the New York Daily News reported.
A writer for “Conan” then submitted a very similar joke at 3:14 p.m. that day, which was used on that night’s show after being slightly modified.
“Tom Brady said he wants to give the truck that he was given as Super Bowl MVP … to the guy who won the Super Bowl for the Patriots. Which is very nice. I think that’s nice. I do. Yes. So Brady’s giving his truck to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll,” O’Brien said in his monologue.
The joke stems from Seahawks coach Carroll’s decision not to give the ball to Marshawn Lynch at the one-yard line in the final minutes of the Super Bowl — resulting in it being intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler, who Brady later did in fact give the MVP truck to.
O’Brien’s legal team has been arguing that the jokes aren’t subject to copyright infringement because they involve facts, and the issue is now being examined by U.S. District Court judge Janis Sammartino in California federal court. Sammartino is letting the case move forward because a juror who reads both jokes could be convinced that one of them was copied off the other, CBS Sports reported.
Kaseberg’s lawyer, Jayson Lorenzo, told the New York Times that Sammartino’s ruling for it to proceed is “a victory for comedy writers, especially lesser known writers.”
O’Brien and his team are also accused of stealing jokes about Washington Monument and Caitlyn Jenner.
Robert “Alex” Kaseberg is a San Diego-based writer who has penned more than 1,000 jokes for Jay Leno.