Saturday Night Live has been accused of allegedly stealing two skits by comedians Nick Ruggia and Ryan Hoffman. The SNL skits were aired last October and were entitled “The Pumpkin Patch” and “Pound Puppy,” both written by different writers according to an NBC spokesperson.
In the first skit, “The Pumpkin Patch,” employees were attempting sexual intercourse with the pumpkins. Ruggia and Hoffman, who founded the comedy sketch group Temple Horses, claimed that this was based off of their sketch “Not Trying to F**k This Pumpkin,” which can be found on their YouTube channel. Wallace Neel, their attorney, detailed the similarities. In both of the skits, an owner confronts the people about their indecencies, the people deny it, and the owner scolds them, pointing to kids that are close by. Ruggia and Hoffman’s version came out in October of 2014.
In the second skit, “Pound Puppy,” and the Temple Horses version “Pet Blinders,” both involve a device preventing pets from viewing their owners having intercourse. In the Temple Horses version, the product covers the pets’ eyes, while in the SNL version, the owner climbs into a device that hides them from their pets’ vision. The similarities arise in that there are “[three] separate settings for pet-interruption, introducing the pet owners’ dilemma,” according to Neel. Both versions include a reverse shot and a dog’s-eye-view, with the same types of dogs used: a labrador retriever, a mid-size dog, and a custom-breed dog. “Pet Blinders” by Temple Horse first aired back in 2011.
“Imagine, one day you come home and it looks like somebody’s robbed your house,” Hoffman explained to Variety. “What do you want from that situation? We feel like somebody took our stuff, and this isn’t the kind of thing where you can just get it back or call your insurance company to have it replaced, so at this point we’re just speaking out about it.”
An attorney representing NBC responded to Neel’s letter, stating that an internal investigation was conducting. During the investigation, it was found that two separate writers were responsible for the skits. In addition, the representative claimed no similarities were found that could be protected under copyright law. A formal response is currently being drafted in response to the plagiarism claims.
Neel responded with the following letter: “This is not ‘parallel construction’: Two separate instances of wholesale lifting of concept, setting, characters, plot, and outcome in the same season do not happen by coincidence,” adding that, “Someone(s) at SNL is plagiarizing material.” The Temple Horses duo were not planning on responding to the seeming act of plagiarism, but as Hoffman explained, “It was twice in the same season, and we felt that at this point, that we didn’t really have a choice but to address it. And we don’t really want to be involved in a mess like this, but there’s a certain point you have to stand up for yourself and your work.”
SNL has previously been accused of plagiarism by comedians Tim and Eric of the Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Fans of the show had denounced SNL for seemingly copying a skit involving tiny hats.
Watch the videos of both the Temple Horses and SNL versions below.