You stole my soul!

Jim Tavare makes plagiarism claim

Jim Tavare has accused another comedian of stealing his entire stage persona.

The stand-up accuses Sid Bowfin not of lifting the odd gag, but his life’s work in creating a distinctive comic style.

Tavare – whose TV credits include ITV’s The Sketch Show and American talent show Last Comic Standing – says the similarities include:

  • Both appear on stage, bald and in long-tailed jacked – although Bowfin has only recently shaved his head to complete the look
  • Both use a string instrument. Tavare usually a double-bass, but sometimes a violin; Bowfin a violin
  • Both are very hesitant to actually play the instrument; and when they do it’s revealed that they use a backing track
  • Both start their sets with some business involving a supposedly faulty mic; while he too has a piece with a faulty mic
  • Bowfin has a routine in which he 'plays' a dustpan and brush, while Tavare has one with a vacuum cleaner

    Writing for Chortle, Tavare, who points out that even Bowfin’s website has a similar design to his own, said he thought Bowfin’s act could damage his reputation, as fans may get confused as to who was who.

    ‘If this were just joke theft, it wouldn't be so bad.  But this “identity theft” can seriously damage a comic's reputation.  The guy has apparently performed on cruise ships, corporates, festivals and boasts of two Edinburgh Fringe awards using my stage image.’

    He said that when jokes are stolen, it’s ‘extremely annoying’ but can be solved by re-writing more material.. but this case would require him to ‘totally reinvent’ his ‘image/career/life that has taken years to perfect’.

    ‘I have stood by time and time again watching pale copies come and go. Its now time to speak out,’ he added.

    Tavare has been performing on the circuit since the Eighties, and was nominated for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1990. He appeared on the Royal Variety Show in 1992 and 1994 and 1998.

    Bowfin – whose real name is Adrian Garratt – founded the comedy classical music group Pluck in 2002, but left two years ago to perform the new act.

    Pluck won the Tap Water Award for cabaret in 2003 and the Spirit Of The Fringe award the following year.

    Chortle contacted him for comment yesterday afternoon, but he has not yet responded.

    Here are clips of the two performances.

    Jim Tavare:

    The clip of Sid Bowfin that Tavare complained about was removed from YouTube soon after the story broke, but we have some footage:

    Click here to read Tavare’s accusation in full.

    Published: 22 Jun 2011

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