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Saturday Night Live is facing scrutiny from a pair of New York comedians who have accused the sketch comedy show of plagiarizing two of their sex-focused sketches. Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman, founders of sketch troupe Temple Horses, are now calling attention to the situation in hopes it will shed a spotlight on what they believe is SNL copying their work that they've had on the internet for years before SNL aired either its bits.
Specifically, Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman believe that Saturday Night Live used its sketches "Fucking a Pumpkin" and "Pet Blinders" in order to create two of this season's sketches, "Pound Puppy" and "The Pumpkin Patch." The latter of the two first aired in October, and guest-starred Awkwafina in a sketch about a pumpkin patch owner accusing his employees of performing lewd acts on a pumpkin. Take a look:
Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman told Variety they had been told of the similarities between the Saturday Night Live sketch and their material when the sketch first aired, but ultimately decided not to pursue it. Both men feared "repercussions" for the accusation, and that doing so would draw criticism from fellow comics within the area if they decided to make a big deal of it.
While there are differences between "Fucking a Pumpkin" and Saturday Night Live's "The Pumpkin Patch," there are some strange similarities as well. Both sketches involve a pumpkin patch owner accusing someone of wanting to do lewd things to a pumpkin, and a small group of people discussing such an act before being asked to leave the premises. While SNL's sketch aired in October 2018, Temple Horses' sketch dates back to October of 2014. Check it out!
As mentioned, the men decided not to speak out about the incident, but have now broken their silence after another sketch seemingly inspired by their work has appeared in a recent episode. "Pound Puppy," which featured Don Cheadle, aired in February of 2019 and was a commercial offering a solution for couples who wished to have intercourse without their pets watching. Again, it was a premise very similar to Temple Horses' "Pet Blinders" which had been uploaded in 2011.
After the second incident, Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman reached out to NBC in the form of a letter. They received a response a week later from an NBC attorney, who reported an internal investigation found no similarities between the sketches that were actionable by copyright law. Additionally, the attorney revealed that the sketches were credited to two separate writers, but did not reveal the identities of either writer.
In an ideal scenario, Nick Ruggia said they'd like attribution and compensation for the situation. "Pound Puppy" and "Pumpkin Patch" have over 2 million combined views while Temple Horse's sketches presently have less than 200,000. At the moment it does not sound like either man is interested in pursuing further legal action against Saturday Night Live, and as NBC's lawyer mentioned, it's hard to say what similarities are actionable by copyright law.