Tig Notaro is calling out Louis C.K.’s Saturday Night Live “Birthday Clown” short, saying that it resembles her short film Clown Service and that a writer/director who “was fully aware” of her project worked on C.K.’s piece for the show.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, the One Mississippi co-creator states that she finds the SNL short “extremely disappointing.” Notaro also adds that she has “not communicated in any way for nearly a year and a half” with C.K. or gave permission to use anything from her short film.
Though, it seems jarring that Notaro hasn’t spoken to C.K. in such a long time, as he’s an executive producer on One Mississippi and his company, Pig Newton, Inc., produces the show.
The SNL sketch sees the comedian ordering a clown to his home to cheer him up, the same premise of Notaro’s film. The two have similarities but C.K.’s ends on a darker note, whereas Notaro’s has a happy ending.
You can read Notaro’s full statement below and compare the two pieces.
“It has been impossible for me to ignore the cacophony of voices reaching out personally and publicly about the potential plagiarizing of my film Clown Service (a film that I screened at Largo in Los Angeles for over a year and it premiered at Vulture’s Comedy Festival in NYC as well as numerous film festivals around the country and I am currently screening on my national tour).
While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing.
Here is what I can tell you:
First off, I have recently learned that a writer/director who was fully aware of Clown Service when I was making it, actually worked on Louis C.K.’s clown sketch that is in question.
Secondly, Louis C.K. and I have not communicated in any way for nearly a year and a half.
And finally, I never gave anyone permission to use anything from my film.
I hesitated to even address any of this, but I think it is only right to defend my work and ideas and moving forward, I plan to continue screening Clown Service with the joy and pride I always have.”