Tig Notaro Blasts ‘SNL’ Over Alleged Plagiarism of Clown Sketch: No Funny Business
The April 8 episode, which featured Louis C.K. as host and The Chainsmokers as musical guests, aired a segment called "Birthday Clown," in which C.K. played a single, depressed man who commissioned a party clown, only for the clown to realize he'd been hired for C.K.'s amusement, alone.
Almost immediately, comedy buffs saw the glaring similarities between "Birthday Clown" and "Clown Service," a film made by Notaro that came out in 2015. Notaro said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly that she simply couldn't ignore the throngs of messages she received that pointed out the similarities, and added she still can't understand how SNL let the sketch fly.
"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)," she wrote. "While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing...And finally, I never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film."
Notaro added that she hasn't spoken to C.K. in more than a year, but that a "writer/director" she knows who was fully aware of "Clown Service" proceeded to work on "Birthday Clown."
"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," she noted.
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