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Saturday Night Live has a long and glorious history of original, generation-defining comedy bits. Unfortunately, it has a far less glorious and far less famous history of stolen material accusations. The finger-pointing added another chapter today too when some people stepped forward to claim last night’s Tina Turner Riverboat Sketch was lifted from a bit by The Groundlings.

For those of you who watched Saturday night’s episode, you no doubt remember exactly what I’m talking about. Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata and Sarah Silverman played three women working on a riverboat who sang “Proud Mary” by Tina Turner. In between key moments in the sang, they each stepped forward to complain about how they got stuck on the riverboat. It was profoundly weird and apparently, profoundly similar to a creation by comedians Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland.

You can watch it below…



There’s no denying the striking similarities when it comes to the hair, the outfits and the basic idea of awkward, weirdo Tina Turner impersonators who are pissed off about their lives. That being said, the individual lines are clearly different. As such, it doesn’t seem like there’s really anything anyone could sue over here, but there seems like enough of a reason for some people to say WTF?

Like Groundlings teacher Ian Gary, for example, who went off on his Facebook Page. You can check out an excerpt below…
”This is fucked up. This is stupid. And we have the means to make people aware of blatant rip offs of other peoples material. It doesn't need to be a witch hunt. It doesn't need to be pointing fingers, assigning blame, or taking sides. But a simple case of what's right and wrong.”

Bonded by a shared love of laughter and a shared hatred of bad audiences, many of the world’s funniest comedians forge lasting relationships, consisting mostly of hilarious, over the line jokes. At a glance, it seems like it would be a fun world to be apart of, but those who are actually involved often talk of a city underbelly involving depression and joke stealing. Saturday Night Live has not been immune to either of those issues either, obviously.

A writer on Saturday Night Live shrugged the situation off and said the similarities boiled down to parallel ideas, but there hasn’t been any official response yet. If one comes, we’ll let you know what Lorne Michaels and company have to say.

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