SNL's Latest Season Just Started, And It's Already Being Accused Of Stealing A Sketch

Saturday Night Live went through one of the biggest turnover periods in its history between Seasons 47 and 48, with a whopping eight stars announcing their exits throughout the summer months, and Chris Redd made his departure known less than two weeks ahead of Miles Teller hosting the latest premiere. With Kendrick Lamar as the musical guest, SNL kicked off its 48th year with some Adam Levine riffing, some Peyton Manning spoofing, and some Jon Hamm…hamming. But it wasn’t too long after the episode aired that some viewers questioned the originality of one of the evening’s more left-field sketches. 

In the midst of the Cecily Strong-lacking season premiere, SNL had stars Kenan Thompson, Punkie Johnson and Heidi Gardner, along with Miles Teller, decked out in big, fluffy, blue-and-white bear suits, for what would be known as the “Charmin Bears” sketch. Some viewers no doubt didn’t think twice about what they were seeing, but fans of the web-based comedian Joel Haver were quick to notice the similarities between this and the somewhat recent animation titled “Toilet Paper Bears,” which currently has over 1.3 million views on YouTube.

For one, a fan started up a Reddit thread within the Joel Haver subreddit to question whether or not they were on the right path in thinking SNL was possibly guilty of allegedly ripping off the pre-existing sketch. Nearly a dozen commenters were in agreement, with several pointing out how often Saturday Night Live has been accused of sketch-stealing tactics in the past. For what it’s worth, it’s happened in cases concerning the Awkwafina-starring “Pumpkin Patch” sketch, the Tina Turner-esque “Proud Mary” sketch, the seductive Zillow sketch, and many more over the years. (Joe Rogan and fired SNL-er Shane Gillis spoke to SNL’s alleged joke-ripping during a 2021 installment of Joe Rogan Experience.)

So with that in mind, first give the Saturday Night Live sketch a look-see below. 

And now pass those eyeballs over the Joel Haver animated sketch to suss out any potential comparison points. 

While it's impossible to fully lay out how things went down regarding the creation of these sketches, it's also rather impossible to ignore the closeness in subject matter. I'm all for believing in coincidences when logic dictates it, but others are less quick to give SNL the benefit of the doubt. This viewer commented directly under the sketch show's tweet about "Charmin Bears," saying:

This is stolen from a joel haver sketch. Usually I think "SNL stole a sketch" is baseless and stupid but this is so obvious. C'mon guys.

@OneTwittee

Meanwhile, the user below went on a mini-tirade after seeing SNL's bears on parade, starting off with:

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Another fan offered up thoughts on how this may be a case where there's some validity behind the copycat claims, saying:

There are claims this was a ripoff of Joel Haver. Sometimes I roll my eyes at those claims but a number of people have said they think it's valid this time. I guess we'll see if it gets any traction.

@SoapsandSciFi

SNL famously featured Louis C.K. in a cut-for-time sketch about joke-stealing, with the stand-up comic having previously been in a feud with Dane Cook over such things. Only for Tig Notaro to come out two years later and accuse C.K. and the NBC series of ripping off her short film Clown Service with its “Birthday Clown” sketch. 

With new episodes airing every week at 11:30 p.m. ET, Saturday Night Live also streams live for those with Peacock subscriptions. Head to our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see what other new and returning shows are on the way. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.