You may or may not know the name Josh Ostrovsky. You may or may not have heard of his nickname or nom de net The Fat Jew. He’s been in a few movies (most recently Zoolander 2) some music videos, some t.v. shows. Mostly he’s achieved a lot of success on Instagram and other social media—enough to have signed with talent firm Creative Artists Agency, one of the giants of the industry. One little problem. Ostrovsky rarely writes his own material. Nor does he pay others for it. He steals it, outright, without apology. Professionals in comedy tend to call him Josh The Fat Jew Joke Thief.
This in mind, his success becomes easier to understand. After all, writing good humor has never been a simple task. Achieving it over and over again garners lots of attention. But when you simply go out and steal all the good ideas you can find—well, it doesn’t take as much work.
Much less talent. And no ethics, not one drop.
Comedians of course hate him. Quite naturally. He steals the sweat from their brow. He takes credit for their hard work, makes money off it then (at least figuratively) laughs at them all the way to the bank.
Norm Macdonald, Chelsea Peretti, Patrick Walsh, Matt Besser, Davon Magwood and Maura Quint are all among those trying to bring this man’s thievery to public attention. Many have been his victims, with little more than a tweet telling them to “Chill out” from Ostrovsky in reply. He continues to steal, of course, after sometimes almost offering an apology like “It was on a blog!”
Meanwhile, Brett Druck and comedian Nat Baimel started the Twitter @FitJew to call attention to Ostrovsky’s “borrowed” gags, while pointing out the writers of same.
Of course this wouldn’t be a problem if it were one man behaving like a horse’s behind. Rather, he seems part of a trend who call themselves “aggregators” of humor (plagiarists, in other words) with success following said theft of others’ work. Unfortunately, making off with jokes and humor has been much of a priority generally. It isn’t seen as a serious crime. Hence efforts by the comedic profession to create consequences. They frankly hope to ban this man’s social media accounts, creating a precedent for same to discourage other thieves.
Without such consequences, they are probably right it will continue.