Saturday Night Live: 30 scandals and secrets you didn’t know

Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images)
Saturday Night Live (Photo by NBC Television/Getty Images) /
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SNL (Photo: NBC)
SNL (Photo: NBC) /

19. The Groundlings accuse SNL of plagiarism

Plagiarism is no laughing matter, especially in the world of comedy. People rip “joke stealers” like Carlos Mencia for taking ideas from other people. SNL writers found themselves in a similar situation in 2014.

Ian Gary, a former member of the Los Angeles comedy troupe The Groundlings, was watching SNL and noticed something familiar. A sketch performed on the show was very, very similar to one previously done by The Groundlings. Did SNL steal the sketch?

The controversial skit in particular features host Sarah Silverman, Sasheer Zamata, and Cecily Strong as Tina Turner impersonators. While singing the hit song “Proud Mary”, the singers each take turns pausing to complain about trouble in their personal lives. In the original skit by The Groundlings, pretty much the exact thing happens.

“This is Tina Turner impersonators talking about a riverboat casino in Nebraska,” Gary explains, “singing the ‘Proud Mary’ where they take breaks in between singing their songs to lament the choices in their lives so it is beat-for-beat the sketch.”

He’s right. If you take the time to watch each video, it’s pretty difficult to believe it’s a coincidence. According to Gary, it was not the first time SNL repurposed Grouldings material. But it may not be the last as the NBC sketch show faced no consequences from the alleged plagiarism.