I need to apologize to a Denver, Colorado comedian/actor named Nick Madson.

I apologize for calling you a “thief”.

Yesterday I wrote a blog – “THIEVERY” – about Mr. Madson who recited, verbatim, a handful of my bits at a headlining gig at The Harrison Hilltop Theatre this past Wednesday, April 27th. Someone named “Underking” filmed his act, complied all of my bits (the other bits he did were from Louie CK, Dave Attell, David Cross, Maria Bamford and God knows who else) and sent them to me. Underking also posted ‘em on YouTube. A lot of people seem to think “Underking” is Nick himself. He’s not. Nick wouldn’t be dumb enough to post incontrovertible evidence of his own thievery.

And yet…

I posted the videos, along with my blog. Here and on my MySpace. Then the story got picked up everywhere – HuffPo,, The Onion AV Club, Reddit – and it was out of my hands.

Nick feels horrible. I know this because he sent me a message on MySpace:

Mr. Oswalt.
I would like to sincerely appologize [sic] to you for everything that has transpired in the last couple days. It is not now, nor was it ever my intent to make a career for myself, or to profit by telling other comics jokes. I understand the work that goes into making something your own, and the pride that one takes in that.

I want to let you know that I was not trying to build a career for myself by telling jokes that you and others had written. I was trying to put together a little show for my good friend, to possibly try and raise some money for his theatre that he is still in the process of getting off the ground. Without a lot of time to prepare for said show, I decided I would pull some of my favorite bits together from comedians I admire, to create a funny performance that might raise some money for his theatre. I did not want to be taped, and I did not want to become a youtube [sic] star, and was not looking for my 5 minutes of fame (however negative). I should have informed the Hilltop Theatre owners that I was going to do a performance made up of jokes and bits from my favorite performers.

Please know that I do not travel around the country telling your jokes. This was a performance that I did as a fundraiser for a crowd of about 12 of our friends. I know this appology [sic] does not take anything back, and does not by any means make anything right. I do not know what I can say, or exactly how to appologize [sic], as I have no personal manager or any one to consult with about my first public scandel [sic]. I hope you can trust I will not go around telling your jokes, and I am sincerely sorry that all of this had to happen. I wish I could take it back and do things differently, but I cannot.
My Deepest Appologies [sic]
Nick Madson

This is where I have to apologize (one ‘p’!) to Nick Madson.

I’m sorry I merely called you a “thief.”

You are also an asshole, sociopath and liar.

First off, did you look at the angle the video was shot from? Who do you think shot it? Where would someone have access to such an angle? Perhaps, I don’t know, another comedian? The owners of the theater, maybe?

I contacted the other performers on the show. The other performers who were paid – just like you were. People don’t tend to get paid on a benefit show.

And I also contacted the theater owner. You see, I have a special computer that is connected to other computers – like a “net”, for lack of a better term. I can contact people and ask them questions.

For instance, let’s say someone steals my material.

And then writes me to say he’s sorry (after he’s caught, of course), and claims he was performing on a benefit show to help the theater he was performing at.

And let’s say, for instance, that said actor/comedian also claims to have been a guest on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, and to be one of Comedy Central’s 100 Greatest Comedians, and to be filming a one hour special for Comedy Central in the fall, and also claims to be a writer for me, Louie CK, and Dave Attell. All of which I know not to be true.

So, of course, maybe I’m not 100% convinced about his claims to have been performing a benefit show. And I’ve got some questions.

Questions, like, “Hey, was the show this past Wednesday really a benefit show?”

Here’s what Tristan Tapscott, the manager/booker for the Harrison Hilltop Theater, said in response to the above question:

Hey man-
None of that is true. Sadly.
This was an event that was talked about months ago… planned weeks ago… and was not a fundraiser. It was an event that we scheduled on an off night of our production of RENT. We had the understanding he was simply trying more material prior to his so-called special he was filming in the fall. He did something similar across town at another theatre in February (where we met). We thought it would a great opportunity for us.

This definitely upsets me.

Again, for what its worth on our end… we apologize for this.

Best wishes,

Tristan and, it seems, everyone else at the Harrison Hilltop are enthusiastic, honest people trying to run a small theater, do plays, put on shows, and turn a profit.

Also, according to the other comedians I contacted – comedians who actually live in Davenport, – the Hilltop isn’t struggling at all. Here’s a message from Andrew King, aka “Underking”, another comedian who performed on your show:

No it was not, that’s a complete lie. I know for a fact the theatre is doing really well, they’ve had sold out shows for their production of Rent all month.

Jesus Christ, Nick — you craven, pudding-spined clitoris of a man.

All you had to say to me was, “I fucked up. I took your material. I made a little money off it. I’ll never do it again.” End of story.

Here’s what you did instead:

1. Lied to me. And not even well.

Maybe I’m to blame. I always imagined the villains in my life would be the diabolical, Harry Roat Jr./Hans Gruber/Fantomex types. Instead, I’ve got Buford T. Justice, Witchy-Poo and The Hamburglar. Do I need to live my life more heroically? This is something to think about. Maybe this Laphroaig Cask Edition will help.

2. Clumsily tried to make me the villain.

“Shucks (sniffle) I was just trying to raise money for this little struggling theater, trying to bring Art to the People. But I guess, by implication, you hate Art and Charity and People – which isn’t a problem, since I’m the wronged hero of this story, and will happily march to the guillotine of public scorn for the sake of Good.”

This is shit I pull with my wife and friends when I’m at my weakest. I know I’ve fucked up but, in an attempt to make me look like the martyr, I try to make my fuck-up look like a selfless attempt at charity, or sacrifice outside my own self-interest.

Then see 1., above. You didn’t even do this well. If you were truly presenting an “evening of your favorite comedians”, as if you were Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain, Zero Mostel doing Ulysses or even Gallagher II, wouldn’t you have prefaced each bit with a, “and now here’s”, instead of the bullshit, shyly-peering-out-from-under-your-forelock, can-you-believe-my-crazy-life-and-my-brilliant-way-of-seeing-it demeanor you so grotesquely adopted during this show?

3. Threw other people under the bus.

No problem trying to make the Hilltop Theater seem like it’s “struggling”, when it’s not. No problem passively trying to make me seem like the villain. No problem putting as many torsos between you and the bullets.

A lie to defend thievery.

We need to become close friends, you and I. And fast. You’re going to be running Hollywood in 5 years.

Hey, what were the two words you misspelled in your message?

Oh yeah – “apology” and “scandal”.

Fuck. You.