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Friday Comedy Smackdown

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 9, 2007 10:23PM

whit.jpgAnheuser-Busch is taking heat for an ad they ran during Super Bowl XLI. For laughs, the 30-second spot glorifies interracial and intergenerational violence, not to mention violence against cute women, Asian American food service workers, and pretty much everyone. But the real issue is that ad agency DDB Chicago may have stolen the idea from NYC sketch comedy troupe Whitest Kids U’Know, who smack each other around in their video The New Thing.

The Bud Light commercial’s certainly more focused and professional looking and WKUK’s video veers more towards esoteric humor and Hitler jokes, but the opening few seconds of each, down to the camera angles, look remarkably the same.

College Humor picked up on the similarities, so did Whitest Kids, and comedy website The Apiary, who contacted troupe member Zach Cregger and discovered Budweiser contacted WKUK last year about doing a show on BudTV and their agent William Morris sent DVDs of their work.

At the risk of sounding painfully unhip, this spat reminds us of the lawsuit Huey Lewis and the News brought against Ray Parker Jr. over the hit single “Ghostbusters.” Parker’s song sounded uncannily like Lewis’ “I Wanna New Drug.” And since Lewis apparently turned down an invitation to contribute to the movie’s soundtrack, that similarity was more than coincidental. They settled out of court. We believe WKUK might have similar recourse.*

*Disclaimer: The author of this post is not a lawyer. The opinion expressed herein is based more on speculation and common sense than on sound legal principles. Bored attorneys and legal scholars are invited to comment on this material in accordance with the comment policy devised by Gothamist LLC.

Image via College Humor. Thanks to The Bastion for the tip.