'SNL' Allegedly Plagiarized New York Comedy Duo's Sketches

Saturday Night Live has once again been accused of plagiarizing. This time by a pair of New York comedians.

Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman, the founders of the sketch troupe Temple Horses, claim two of their sketches — "F– a Pumpkin" and "Pet Blinders" — were plagiarized by SNL's writers.

"Imagine, one day you come home and it looks like somebody’s robbed your house,” Hoffman told Variety Friday. “What do you want from that situation? We feel like somebody took our stuff, and this isn’t the kind of thing where you can just get it back or call your insurance company to have it replaced, so at this point we’re just speaking out about it.”

The duo's attorney, Wallace Neel, sent a letter to NBC listing the similarities between their sketches and the SNL ones they claim are rip-offs.

The pumpkin sketch was released in October 2014, four years before SNL aired the "Pumpkin Patch" sketch during the Oct. 6, 2018 Awkwafina-hosted episode. The duo also claims "Pound Puppy," a parody commercial about a tent couples could buy to have sex in while their pets are in the room, was a rip-off of their "Pet Blinders" sketch.

“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,” Neel's Geb. 27 letter reads. “Someone(s) at SNL is plagiarizing material.”

Ruggia and Hoffman told Variety an NBC attorney only verbally replied to Neel's letter a week after they received it. NBC said they already completed an internal investigation and found no similarities between the their sketches and the NBC ones. A SNL source confirmed this response to Variety, and said the network is still preparing a formal response.

Ruggia and Hoffman told Variety they initially heard about the similarities between the sketches from friends who watched SNL. They first heard about "Pumpkin Patch" in October, but did not decide to take any action until "Pound Puppy" aired during the Don Cheadle-hosted episode on Feb. 16.

"It was twice in the same season, and we felt that at this point, that we didn’t really have a choice but to address it,” Hoffman explained. “And we don’t really want to be involved in a mess like this, but there’s a certain point you have to stand up for yourself and your work.”

This is not the first time Saturday Night Live has been accused of plagiarism. In 2017, Tig Notaro's fans pointed out the "Clown Service" sketch with Louis C.K. was similar to her 2015 short film Clown Service. Notaro later told Entertainment Weekly it was "extremely disappointing" and said a person who worked on "Clown Service" was fully aware of her film.

0comments

"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," Notaro said at the time.

Photo credit: NBC