Every now and again (okay, maybe more often than that) Saturday Night Live will unleash a sketch so damn strange that we can’t help but wonder how that seed of a notion could have possibly materialized. The founders of one comedy troupe claim to have an inkling of an idea when it comes to two of the late night show’s oddball shorts.
Variety reported today on plagiarism allegations involving an SNL sketch from last October, titled “The Pumpkin Patch,” which appeared in an episode hosted by comedian and Crazy Rich Asians star Awkwafina. The plot is super complicated: A group of pumpkin patch employees get busted for fornicating with the pumpkins. Yes, it’s a thinker.
According to Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman, the founders of the sketch comedy troupe Temple Horses, the idea was a rip-off of their 2014 sketch “Not Trying To Fuck This Pumpkin,” which has lived on YouTube for years. Please insert a clever “not safe for work” warning here.
They also cite similarities between their 2011 sketch “Pet Blinders” and SNL’s “Pound Puppy,”—aired during Don Cheadle’s episode in February—both of which are about shielding pets from watching their owners have any and all forms of sex. The dialogue and execution in both sets of sketches are definitely different; however, the Ruggia and Hoffman are claiming that the SNL writers lifted the concepts.
“This is not ‘parallel construction’: Two separate instances of wholesale lifting of concept, setting, characters, plot, and outcome in the same season do not happen by coincidence,” a legal representative for the Temple Horses creators wrote in a letter to SNL dated February 27. “Someone(s) at SNL is plagiarizing material.”
Per Variety, SNL’s legal team is currently working on a formal response to the independent creators. This is following an earlier verbal response from the major comedy institution, who claimed to have performed an internal investigation that yielded no evidence of plagiarism. We hope that all parties eventually find some resolve. Everyone should be able to have their (weird, but generally harmless) work and the labor behind it respected.