×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tig Notaro Responds to Plagiarism Accusations Against Louis C.K. ‘SNL’ Short

Tig Notaro has responded to claims that Louis C.K.’s “Saturday Night Live” skit “Birthday Clown” bears too strong of a resemblance to her 2015 short film “Clown Service.”

In a statement released to Entertainment Weekly, Notaro said she finds the situation “extremely disappointing.” She also wrote that she had no communication with C.K. for almost a year and a half prior to the release of the skit, and that no one asked her permission to use any material from the film.

She also adds that, to her knowledge, one of the writer/directors who worked on C.K.’s “SNL” skit had definitive knowledge of her film during its production.

The similarity between the two pieces is primarily in set-up, as both feature depressed people, played by Notaro and C.K., who invite clowns into their home to perform solely for them. In C.K.’s version, the skit takes a dark turn at the end as it’s implied that his character is a serial killer with the clown set to be the next victim, whereas Notaro’s has a positive ending in which she and the clown bond over their disappointing lives.

The episode that featured “Birthday Clown” marked C.K.’s fourth time hosting the NBC staple.

C.K.’s Pig Newton banner is the producer of Notaro’s Amazon comedy series “One Mississippi.”

Here’s Notaro’s full statement.

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).

While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing.

Here is what I can tell you:

First off, I have recently learned that a writer/director who was fully aware of Clown Service when I was making it, actually worked on Louis C.K.’s clown sketch that is in question.

Secondly, Louis C.K. and I have not communicated in any way for nearly a year and a half.

And finally, I never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film.

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.

Watch the two videos below.

More TV

  • Game of Thrones finale

    Six Things We Learned From 'Game of Thrones: The Last Watch' Documentary

    HBO gave fans a long parting look at the making of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday night in a two-hour documentary that focused on the Herculean efforts by the small army craft and technical experts who worked on the mammoth fantasy drama. “Game of Thrones: The Last Watch” introduced viewers to the leaders of the [...]

  • 'Killing Eve' Season 2 Failed Where

    'Killing Eve' Season 2 Stumbled Where 'Barry' Soared (Column)

    SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the entire second seasons of “Killing Eve” and “Barry.”  I was dead certain that “Killing Eve” and “Barry” — two of my favorite television debuts of 2018 — should have ended after a single season. Both coincidentally starring unstable assassins, the shows were smart, propulsive, and extremely weird [...]

  • A.P. BIO -- "Melvin" Episode 208

    'AP Bio' Canceled After Two Seasons at NBC

    “AP Bio” has been canceled at NBC. Series creator Mike O’Brien shared the news with fans on Twitter, writing that “This has been my favorite project of my life.” In the single-camera comedy, Glenn Howerton portrayed a disgraced Harvard philosophy scholar who lost out on his dream job and was forced to return to Toledo, [...]

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content