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In addition to the prerecorded White People segment and the Adam-Levine-starring proposal sketch, one of the more notable moments from this week’s Saturday Night Live was a “Proud Mary” musical number. The gist of the sketch was that three women — played by Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata, and host Sarah Silverman — were performing on a riverboat cruise as a kind of Tina Turner trio called “The River Sisters,” and detailing the hard luck stories that brought them to that particular point in their lives during breaks in the song. You remember those sketches where four guys sit at a bar and tell weird/disturbing stories in between singing verses of classic songs? It was a little like that, but with more sequins.
Hey, speaking of things that sketch was a little like…
This is a video of a sketch featuring Groundlings castmembers Kimberly Condict and Vanessa Ragland that the two have performed as part of the group’s Sunday company. As the AV Club notes, it seems … awfully similar, no? Like, more than a coincidence similar? Condict and Ragland certainly seem to think so.
And so does a Groundlings instructor named Ian Gary, who took to Facebook to accuse SNL of a long practice of “f*cked up” sketch thievery:
Alright. So this is weird. And a delicate subject… I, like many of my friends, do sketch comedy. I have a lot of influences, especially SNL to thank for that. Over the years, I, and many of my friends have performed in front of Lorne Michaels and his staff. And this is not an attack on SNL or anyone that has ever been a part, will be a part, or was a part of it… I have very dear friends who have written and performed or still do, on that show. The respect that I have for those people, for the countless others I don’t know and the television INSTITUTION that is SNL is off the charts…And I’m sure that goes without saying for most everyone reading this.
But, over the years I have seen MANY, MANY sketches flat out stolen from my friends by Saturday Night Live. Nearly verbatim. Word for word… And everyone in our community goes “Oh man. That sucks.” and nobody says anything because I guess SNL is still some dream for some people or they don’t want to get involved, or a million other reasonable things that stop people from standing up for each other when things are blatantly wrong.
Well, enough of that. This is f*cked 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.
No word yet from SNL about the accusations, although one would have to assume they’ll have their longtime spokeswoman craft a statement shortly.