Comedian Tig Notaro has accused fellow comedian Louis C.K. of plagiarizing the premise of his recent Saturday Night Live sketch from one of her own short film projects.
In a statement Wednesday to Entertainment Weekly, Notaro said that a writer-producer who worked on C.K.’s “Birthday Clown” sketch for SNL was “fully aware” of her own Clown Service short film while she was making it.
In the SNL skit, which aired April 8, C.K. orders a birthday clown to his home to cheer him up, a set-up very similar to Notaro’s short film, though the endings to both sketches are different.
“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),” Notaro wrote in her statement to EW.
“While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing,” she added.
According to EW, C.K. and Notaro have a professional relationship; C.K. is listed as an executive producer on her show One Mississippi.
In her statement, Notaro said that she and C.K. had not communicated “in any way” for more than a year, and that she had never given her permission for her work to be used.
Neither C.K. nor Notaro have commented publicly since the latter issued her statement.
Watch both sketches above and decide for yourself.
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum