Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Penn Jilette and My Knock Knock Joke

UPDATE: Penn Jillette replied to this post. Go here for update: Penn Jillette Replies

Yesterday my friend Simone texted me this graphic, a photo taken of her Kindle.
She wrote "Have you seen this in Penn Jilette's "God No!"? Did you write that joke?"

Well, yeah. I did write that joke. And since I perform regularly at atheist events, conventions, etc. it concerns me that people within that community might think I stole it.

Here is a clip of me telling that joke in 2007.

It became a regular part of my set as I performed with The Coexist? Comedy Tour:

So did Penn Jilette steal the joke from me? I'd like to think no. I know it happens that people come up with the same joke. It happens all the time in fact. The wording is so similar though, from the "Oh, I'm sorry" right up to "When you're trying to relax." Could someone have claimed they wrote it and sold or gave it to Penn? I suppose its also possible that the joke has just circulated around and has become one of those standards which you assume you'll never know who wrote. That is certainly the case with most of the knock knock jokes I've heard over the years, like the brilliant Interrupting Cow for instance.

I've been a Penn and Teller fan for longer than I've been an atheist, and though I've disagreed with Penn on many things (him being a libertarian for one) he has always seemed to conduct himself with integrity and honesty and so, I will hold out hope that there is a reasonable explanation. I'm not trying to stir the pot, but like I said, I find it necessary to say that I did not steal the joke. I am also flattered. I know I wrote the joke, and now I know that Penn Jilette thinks its a good knock knock joke. So, I wrote a good knock knock joke, which is hard to do as it often feels like every knock knock joke has already been written. For now I will retire the joke. I have plenty of others.

Lastly, these are really old clips. I've gotten much better. Visit my youtube page here: http://www.youtube.com/user/klfly

UPDATE: Penn Jillette replied to this post. Go here for update: Penn Jillette Replies


chubrock said...

Hey Keith, This is Gregg Dietz, If it counts for anything, I had read a similar joke in a comic strip. His went as so, A man is seen holding a black folded piece of paper and says "this pamphlet is black", 2 men are standing in front of him looking very Mormon and say "We're Atheist". I feel the joke has the same context, the idea of atheist knocking on someones door as a joke because they aren't religious is a very easy joke, shit Keith, I'm pretty sure I've made a similar joke many years ago while hanging with Josh and Jawara. As I appreciate what you do and very much enjoy your stand up, its not what the joke is, its how you use it and deliver it, you know that as well as anyone. I like Penn Jilette, I have ever since the show bullshit came out, however the likelihood of him stealing your joke seems very ,um, well, unlikely.

KLJ said...

Hey Greg,
I love the Bizarro strip you refer to, and it is simillar but its also very different.
It happens that people hit on the same idea, but the wording here, structuring it as a knock knock joke, etc. seemed like too much to be conincedence, and as I suggested, it was. Penn heard the joke somewhere and didn't know where it came from, as he himself has now clarified.

chubrock said...

Agreed, I just didn't want you to pull a Joe Rogan vs Carlos Mencia (regardless that you and Penn are actually funny), because I respect you as a comedian and friend.

Simone said...

For the record, I always assumed you wrote that joke. Seeing it in book though, made me want to check, but felt I was more informing you "Hey! Here's your joke!"

KLJ said...

Oh yeah, thats how I took it.

afsheen said...

oh yeah u r right
Knock Knock Jokes