Comedian Sues Bravo Claiming 'Real Housewives' Stole His Catchphrase

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

Jeff Allen, a comedian specializing in Christian, family-friendly comedy, is suing NBC Universal for allegedly hijacking his trademarked phrase, "Happy Wife, Happy Life," on Bravo's The Real Housewives of New Jersey.

The comedian (born Jeff Mishler) has performed on Comedy Central, Showtime, VH-1 and in front of politicians and military troops, and says he's earned income through DVD sales of his comedy routine, also called "Happy Wife, Happy Life," and merchandise such as t-shirts. A complaint filed last week in U.S. District Court in Nashville indicates he's less than happy these days.

According to the lawsuit, Giudice, one of the New Jersey Housewives, has been using the phrase on the show and on the Internet, and to capitalize on the growing popularity, NBCU has been selling t-shirts and coffee mugs bearing "Happy Wife, Happy Life" in its Bravo merchandise store.

Allen says that use of the mark is likely to cause confusion or the false impression of endorsement. He says he's also fearful of others beginning to believe he copied Giudice, instead of the other way around, harming his credibility as a comic. He's asking for a permanent injunction and compensatory damages.