Comedian Art Metrano sues Family Guy for allegedly stealing his bit

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Thu, Dec 6 - 6:22 pm EDT | 11 years ago by
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This via TMZ; comedian Art Metrano is suing Family Guy for allegedly stealing one of his bits:

Art Metrano, an actor who frequently appeared on “The Tonight Show” performing simple magic tricks, is suing the FOX show “Family Guy” for stealing his routine in their animated movie, “Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story.” In the movie, a future version of Stewie Griffin says that he traveled back in time and that Jesus’ abilities may have been exaggerated. The scene then cuts to Jesus performing, Metrano claims, a “comedy routine identical in music, sound and action to Metrano’s act, ‘The Amazing Metrano.’”

Metrano, who played Captain Mauser in two of the “Police Academy” films, filed a lawsuit in federal court yesterday, claiming copyright infringement, among other things, and is seeking in excess of $2 million.

The man looks like he has a case; if you watch these two videos, you’ll see that pretty much Family Guy copied this particular bit down to the last detail.

First, the Art Metrano clip:

Then the Family Guy clip:


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  • Alex

    I don’t think you can call that stealing a bit. They were playing off Art’s fame and humor to make a funny moment in the show. Just seeing that segment of the show would be funny, but knowing that they’re imitating Art Metrano makes it that much funnier. This lawsuit severely limits creative freedom, writers are no longer allowed to create allusions to the shared experience of their audience? Part of what makes Family Guy so funny are the references that we all connect with.

  • http://www.ecofriendlydriver.com Hil

    Sometimes there’s a fine line between paying homage and theft. Personally, I think they crossed it. A reference is only a reference when something is commonly connected to a person. It’s a risk a lot of shows take … doesn’t mean they intended to harm, but I have to take Art’s back on this one.

  • Kat

    I saw Tim Conway do the same magic skit DECADES ago. Who’s stealing from who?!

  • http://clipart purple_slone07

    family guy

  • http://www.smartbunny.net smartbunny

    It’s a PARODY! Has Art Metrano never seen this show?? Jeez.

  • Tom Piantanida

    The pseudomagic bit IS Art Metrano.

  • http://www.artmetrano.com someone with a sense of humor

    theft or propz? if any signature act or gesture used in satirical context is grounds for a lawsuit, everyone is screwed. i think the first guy who used the middle finger should sue the entire human race.

    art, no one cares about you – alive or dead. your life is worth less than a cartoon. your time is almost up… *looks at watch*

  • mary

    What a terrible thing to say about Art Metrano…that his time is up…He gives nothing but joy to the world.

  • M Styborski

    For “someone with a sense of humor,” you certainly are a hateful little jerk.

    Most of Family Guy’s bits fall under the wide umbrella of parody and it’s usually made pretty clear. Since they decided not to reference where this bit originated, and it did indeed originate with Art Metrano, it’s theft, pure and simple. Had they added a ten second bit they could have saved a lot of trouble (and made it even funnier) by having someone in the crowd remark that they “saw Art Metrano do that act on the Tonight Show with Johnny Iscariot.”

    As for Art Metrano, he’s been working the film and stage circuit for over forty years and he’s funny as hell. And I’m sure he’s made more people laugh than you ever will, “someone.”

  • grow up people

    art metrano sued for one reason- his money is running out, and he needs dough. so many people view lawsuits as a way to get oodles of money. he was a terrific actor, but his time has passed, like silent movies. if he cant realize that the jesus thing was a joke, (or if he does and still sues, thats even worse) he needs to get out of show business. if hes even in it anymore.

  • JAMIE GOLDER

    SURE YOU SAW IT ON TIM CONWAY..ART OPENED THE SHOW EVERYWEEK WITH SALLY STRUTHERS DANCING TO HIS ACT..ART IS NOT SUING BECAUSE HE NEEDS THE MONEY. ART IS WELL TO DO… LIVING WELL…IF THEY WOULD HAVE PARODIED ART THERE WOULD BE NO LAWSUIT. CAROL BURNETT SUED AND LOST BECAUSE THE COURT SPECIFIED THAT A PARODY IS CREATING THE LIKENESS OF ONE’S FACE TO CONNECT WITH THAT WELL KNOWN PERSON. IN ART’S CASE NO ONE…ESPECIALLY THE YOUNGER GENERATION KNOW’S OF ART’S AMAZING METRANO ROUTINE…THEY ALL KNOW IT AS THE JESUS DANCE…WITH THE LIKENESS OF JESUS DOING ART’S ACT…THAT STEALING! A RIP OFF WITH NO CONSIDERATION TO HIM OR HIS FUNNY…CREATIVE ORIGINAL ACT….IF THEY WOULD HAVE ART’S LIKENESS THERE WOULD BE NO LAWSUIT AND MAYBE ART’S CAREER COULD HAVE BEEN RESURECTED…EVEN THOUGH HE LOVES BEING RETIRED! BY THE WAY HIS TRIAL BEGING ON JUNE OF THIS YEAR…THE COURT FEELS THERE IS A REAL SUIT AGAINST FOX AND FAMILY GUY! THANKS TO ALL OF THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THAT THE TRUTH HAS BEEN TOLD!

  • KYLE

    @ JAMIE GOLDER says: February 10, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    “BY THE WAY HIS TRIAL {begins in} JUNE OF THIS YEAR”

    How is that possible when in July of 2009, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted Twentieth Century Fox’s motion to dismiss the case.

    When was the case refiled between July ’09 and now, I can’t seem to find it?

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