Did SNL’s Clown Sketch Plagiarize Tig Notaro?

Rumors are circulating that the Louis C.K. clown sketch featured on this past week’s SNL was ripped off from a Tig Notaro short film. The popular “Birthday Clown” sketch starring Louis C.K. and Bobby Moynihan on Saturday Night Live bares close resemblance to Tig Notaro’s “Clown Service” short.

Notaro’s full statement below:

“It has been impossible for me to ignore the cacophony of voices reaching out personally and publicly about the potential plagiarizing of my film Clown Service (a film that I screened at Largo in Los Angeles for over a year and it premiered at Vulture’s Comedy Festival in NYC as well as numerous film festivals around the country and I am currently screening on my national tour). While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing.

Here is what I can tell you:

First off, I have recently learned that a writer/director who was fully aware of Clown Service when I was making it, actually worked on Louis C.K.’s clown sketch that is in question.
Secondly, Louis C.K. and I have not communicated in any way for nearly a year and a half.
And finally, I never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film.
I hesitated to even address any of this, but I think it is only right to defend my work and ideas and moving forward, I plan to continue screening Clown Service with the joy and pride I always have.”

Tig Notaro “Clown Service”:

SNL “Birthday Clown”:

Take a look at both videos and let us know what you think.

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