Did Louis CK plagiarise another famous comedian's joke for this SNL sketch? 5 years ago

Did Louis CK plagiarise another famous comedian's joke for this SNL sketch?

Last week, Louis C.K. was the host of Saturday Night Live, and for the most part it was fairly controversy free.

Despite making racist chicken jokes, impersonating Borat and failing to keep a straight face during his time on-screen with Kate McKinnon (which you can watch here), the show mostly went off without a hitch.


However, in the days following the broadcast, a small storm has begun to brew in the comedy circuit in the States, and it has to do with a sketch C.K. had a hand in writing, titled Birthday Clown.

In it, C.K. plays a lonely man who tries to celebrate his birthday with a party clown, who thinks he is there to entertain kids.

Clip via Saturday Night Live


However, some people were quick to notice that this sketch had more than a few similarities to another sketch titled Clown Service, which was written and directed and starred comedian Tig Notaro.

In it, Notaro plays a depressed, lonely woman who hired a party clown to cheer her up, who arrives thinking he is there to entertain kids.

Clip via Mixed TV


To date, neither Louis C.K. nor Saturday Night Live have officially commented on the controversy, but Tig Notaro was interviewed by Variety on the subject.

Notaro, who is about to start production on the second season of her Amazon series One Mississippi, on which Louis C.K. is an executive producer, spoke about how difficult it can be to accuse another comedian of plagiarising:

"I’m not quick to call people out, especially if it’s observational. When it’s something directly from your life, and obviously things directly from your life can happen in other people’s lives, [that’s different]. For me, personally, it was tricky finding out that somebody [I knew] – my sister-in-law’s ex — worked on that. It started to get fishier and fishier. Whenever any of these comics are calling people out, I pretty much roll my eyes because it’s a hard thing to pinpoint."

Notaro also released a statement saying that Louis C.K. has not contacted her since his sketch the release, and that the pair have not spoke in over 18 months.