Did The Daily Show "rip off" Room Next Door creator Michael Spicer?

Friday 2nd October 2020, 5:31pm by Jay Richardson

  • US satire The Daily Show has aired a sketch remarkably similar to Michael Spicer's Room Next Door creation
  • Spicer has responded with a diplomatic Rihanna side-eye meme
  • The British comic performed his own Presidential debate sketch on American television the same night
Michael Spicer.

The Daily Show has been accused of "ripping off" The Room Next Door creator Michael Spicer.

A package on the satirical US news show about Tuesday night's Presidential debate featured several of the show's correspondents, Ronny Chieng, Desi Lydic and Roy Wood Jr, remotely prompting Donald Trump and Joe Biden through earpieces.

The similarity to Spicer's Room Next Door Man sketches are all the more remarkable, given that the British comic has himself made several appearances in character on another late-night US show, The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Indeed, the Mash Report regular gave his own take on the presidential debate on Corden's show last night, in a clip that has already attracted more than 180,000 views on YouTube.

Spicer responded to The Daily Show's "exclusive" by tweeting an image of the singer Rihanna glaring in a "side-eye" look.

Many on social media were less diplomatic, however.

Comedian Ben Thurston wrote "This is an awful rip off of @MrMichaelSpicer - you need to make amends", while @richecfc addressed The Daily Show's host directly: "you have disappointed a lot of people @TrevorNoah for this blatant ripoff of room next door [sic]. Imagine someone stealing your stand up routine? Not good."

Others pointed out the similarities between Spicer's creation and earlier variations on the earpiece concept, such as this 2011 send-up of former Irish leader Enda Kenny by the satirical Twitter account @TasoiseachEnda.

The Daily Show, which airs on Comedy Central in the UK and US, established John Oliver on US television and has featured comics such as Gina Yashere and Dave Gorman as British correspondents.

This is not the first time The Daily Show or Noah have been accused of plagiarism, with the comedian Russell Peters and the disgraced alt-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos making claims against the show and its host in the last decade, although Peters later called his accusation a joke after he was in turn accused of plagiarism by Yashere.

Spicer, who has amassed more than four million views for his YouTube sketches, published his first book yesterday, The Secret Political Adviser, and is set to perform a mini-tour of the UK from November next year.

British Comedy Guide has approached Comedy Central for comment.

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Michael Spicer - The Secret Political Adviser: The Unredacted Files Of The Man In The Room Next Door

Michael Spicer - The Secret Political Adviser: The Unredacted Files Of The Man In The Room Next Door

The debut novel from comedian Michael Spicer, The Secret Political Adviser imagines the life of a secret political adviser working with clients such as Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump.

Little is known about the secret political adviser known as the Man in the Room Next Door - only a handful of people know his real name - but this explosive journal and collection of his correspondence offers a startling insight into his life.

It reveals the elusive organisation that employs him, as well as reams of information about working with clients such as Boris Johnson, Prince Andrew and Donald Trump. From leaked documents to illicit communications, and day-to-day notes on the treacherous world he inhabits, The Secret Political Adviser is a window into the world of the most influential* political adviser on the planet.


First published: Thursday 1st October 2020

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