A comedian’s job is to entertain his or her audience by being as funny as possible. What could be better than getting paid to make a bunch of people laugh? Not much, which is exactly why comedy is one of the best gigs in town. As a result, people often become very fond of their favorite comedians, and hold them in high regard. However, even for people who make a living off of being funny, life isn’t always full of kicks and giggles. Even some of the funniest people in the business have found themselves in some not so funny situations, and there’s some things you just can’t joke yourself out of. Here are the most shocking crimes comedians got arrested for.
George Carlin was one of the most well-known comedians to ever work in the industry. However, when he wasn’t making people laugh, things were pretty serious for Carlin. Throughout his lifetime he was arrested multiple times, including an arrest during the 60s in which he was taken into custody for refusing to show his ID because he claimed to not ‘believe’ in government issued identification. In the summer of 1972, Carlin was arrested again for performing a comedy routine that was deemed obscene.
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Tim Allen is well-known for his stand up comedy and his role as Tim Allen on the popular sitcom, Home Improvement. However, Allen may not be the all-American dad he once portrayed on TV. In 1978, Allen was arrested at the Kalamazoo Airport for possessing cocaine. He pled guilty and provided the name of his drug dealers in exchange for a three to seven-year prison sentence. In 1997, Allen was arrested again for driving under the influence and was sentenced to one year probation.
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Throughout his lifetime, Lenny Bruce was the type of comedian who didn’t care what anyone said or thought about him. Bruce was arrested several times during his career for obscenity for using inappropriate language in his routines. Most shockingly; however, Bruce was arrested in Miami for impersonating a priest and trying to raise money for a ‘leper colony in Guyana.’ Bruce had even gone as far as creating the fake “Brother Mathias Foundation.” However, Bruce did donate some of the money he made to the leper colony. Apparently, Bruce was actually trying to raise the money to help his wife end her career as a stripper.
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When most people are approached by a police cruiser with flashing lights and a siren, they pull over to the side of the road. However, Chris Tucker apparently had no interest in doing any such thing when he was asked to pull over by an officer in Georgia. As a result, Tucker was arrested for reckless driving and fleeing/attempting to elude.
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Paula Poundstone isn’t a household name, but after this story you definitely won’t forget her. In 2001, Poundstone, who was a foster parent at the time, was arrested and charged with “lewd conduct upon a child and child endangerment.” Although Poundstone initially appeared to be shocked by the allegations and arrest, she eventually stated, “My drinking helped to create a dangerous situation for the children. For this, I am very sorry. All I can say is that I am working hard in rehab to overcome my alcohol problem. For my kids’ sake, as well as my own, I am determined to succeed.” Poundstone took a plea deal which gave her probation instead of more than a decade of prison time. There’s no doubt that her history as affected her career, and she’s struggled to regain her footing since the incident.
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French comedian, Dieudonne, found himself in hot water earlier this year after making a Facebook post following the attack on french magazine, Charlie Hedbo. On his Facebook page, Dieudonne, simply stated, “Je suis Charlie Coulibaly“ (I am Charlie Coulibaly)” and was subsequently arrested by local authorities. While this arrest may seem strange to people in the United States, the idea of free speech in France is not identical to what Americans are familiar with.
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Everybody has a past, even people who have gone on to find great success. In 1997, British comedian, Stephen Fry, who was no stranger to trouble as a young adult, was arrested for credit card fraud after stealing credit cards and making purchases. Fry served three months in prison for his crime. However he has since gone on to remain on the straight and narrow and has incorporated many of his experiences into his comedy.
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Richard Pryor is one of the most-well known comedians of all time. Pryor left his mark on both the stage and the screen and his legacy continues to live on. There are very few comedians who have become a pop culture staple the way Pryor has. However, not taking things seriously almost landed Pryor in some serious trouble. In 1974, Pryor was arrested for income tax evasion and served 10 days in jail.
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