Conan O'Brien headed to trial over Patriots joke


It's no surprise that the Patriots have been the talk of the NFL over the past several years. Between how great of a team they've consistently been over the past decade-and-change, to bizarre court battles and everything else, it's no surprise they're one of the league's most talked-about teams.

Conan O'Brien is no exception. The host of TBS' Conan, and a staple of late-night television for the past 20 years, has been known to dig at the Patriots whenever he'd see fit. Except one of his Patriots jokes has gone too far and crossed into copyright-infringement territory, according to a lawsuit headed to a trial by jury from comedy writer Alex Kaseberg.

From ProFootballTalk:

On February 3, 2015, Kaseberg posted this on his website, according to the Hollywood Reporter: “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.”  
That night, O’Brien said this on his show: “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. . . . So Brady’s giving his truck to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.”

Kaseberg initially filed a lawsuit on O'Brien and his writing staff in 2015, after noting several of his jokes had been utilized on the show without proper credit. U.S. District Court Judge Janis Sammartino, of the District of Southern California, ruled that the case does have merit and will be settled by trial, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

The Pete Carroll joke is a tough one to call out for theft -- it's basically low-hanging fruit, and I had seen variants of the joke all over my social media feeds in the ensuing months. Even FXX's The League got in on the fun, inviting Marshawn Lynch himself to make the joke in their seventh-season premiere that autumn.

Nonetheless, I appreciate any story where someone smaller wants to take on an established powerhouse, and the unlikely ruling of a trial is a big step in the right direction for Kaseberg.

Follow Rob Riches on Twitter @Riches61