Saturday Night Live has a storied relationship with Los Angeles improv institution the Groundlings. While the show has recruited some of its most successful talent from the comedy troupe, including Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, it looks as if they might have taken an original sketch as well.
On last weekend’s episode, host Sarah Silverman took a turn alongside cast members Cecily Strong and Sasheer Zamata for a sketch in which the threesome played entertainers on a Nebraska river cruise. Outfitted in red dressed and Tina Turner wigs, the River Sisters shared their real life tales of strife during an upsetting medley of “Proud Mary.”
After it aired, the only people who weren’t laughing were Groundlings comedians Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland, who had performed an alarmingly similar sketch back at a Groundlings show on September 21st. On Sunday, Ragland was quick to post footage of their original bit online, allowing viewers to judge for themselves whether they preferred SNL’s take or the “OG version” she wrote and performed with Condict.
— Vanessa Ragland (@vanessaragland) October 5, 2014
An awesome backstage pic from our Sept 21st show! pic.twitter.com/v19cXNxFJv
— Kimberly Condict (@KimberlyCondict) October 6, 2014
Quickly, other comedians chimed in to lend their support to the duo who allege that Saturday Night Live has lifted their sketch.
— Lee Newton (@leenewtonsays) October 5, 2014
— Wendi McLendon-Covey (@wendimclendonco) October 6, 2014
Gawker’s Defamer got ahold of a Facebook post from Groundlings teacher Ian Gary. In a lengthy post, Gary rants about SNL‘s intellectual property theft, which have been occurring for longer than most are aware, he alleges.
But, over the years I have seen MANY, MANY sketches flat out stolen from my friends by Saturday Night Live. Nearly verbatim. Word for word… And everyone in our community goes “Oh man. That sucks.” and nobody says anything because I guess SNL is still some dream for some people or they don’t want to get involved, or a million other reasonable things that stop people from standing up for each other when things are blatantly wrong.
While footage of the sketch isn’t available on streaming outlets like Hulu or Yahoo, the folks over at the A.V. Club received comment from an anonymous insider, who brushes aside the plagiarism accusations, saying that the “similarities represent parallel thinking in the comedy world.” The publication also managed to track down a clip of it online. Watch and judge for yourself if it’s all a coincidence, or the sketch is too similar for comfort. Saturday Night Live has not issued a statement regarding the alleged plagiarism.
H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screenshot via NBC