When it comes to “politically incorrect” comedians, Comedy Central just doesn’t get the joke.
In the most serious of tones, the laff cabler has filed a lawsuit against Borscht Belt comic Jackie Mason to bar him from using those words as a title for his upcoming Broadway show, “Jackie Mason: Politically Incorrect.”
Comedy Central claims it owns the rights to the usage of the pop phrase because of the weekly talkshow it launched in July, hosted by Bill Maher and also titled “Politically Incorrect.”
“Even though it’s kind of a common expression in contemporary language, when you start labeling goods and services with it you’ve got rights and protection,” said Stephen Paul Mark, Comedy Central’s attorney.
Mason said that’s the most ridiculous thing he’s ever heard. “If I didn’t read it in the paper, I’d think it was a joke. It’s hard to believe they’re really serious,” Mason told Daily Variety.
“You don’t see the producers of ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ running around Beverly Hills saying they have to change the name of the town,” he said.
The suit did not ask for any damages, just for Mason to change the name and to pay court costs. But the opinionated comic, who drew wrath for his statement that New York City Mayor David Dinkins is “nothing but a fancy shvartze with a mustache,” said he has no intention of dropping the tag.
“I’m known as politically incorrect,” he said. “When I did my first show on Broadway, Newsweek called me politically incorrect. I was always fighting censorship. I don’t believe that anything is untouchable or unmentionable.”
Mark said the cabler feared the usage could make viewers think that Mason’s show was somehow related to the TV show, which has garnered good reviews from national media.
“We’re concerned because Jackie Mason is not the demographic that we embrace for our channel,” said Mark. “It confuses or dilutes the value of our channel. People will think we’re now associating with Jackie Mason. He’s not the kind of comedian we would have on our channel at this point.”