Members of a Groundlings troupe in Los Angeles are claiming the NBC show swiped their sketch, and they have the video and photos to prove it. The SNL bit titled "River Sisters" bears a striking resemblance to a sketch LA-based writer and director John Irwin says was performed at the Groundlings theater.
"Vanessa Bruiser Ragland and Kimberly Condict performed the heck out of their brilliant and hilarious sketch featuring a Tina Turner tribute band singing ‘Rollin’ at a casino with their musings during the music pauses about the establishment’s food, the bad hands life dealt them, and a past gig on a Nebraska river boat -- the sketch ends with the MC piping in," Irwin wrote on Facebook.
Sound familiar? Irwin insists that nearly the same sketch was featured on this past weekend's SNL. In the show's version, Cecily Strong, Sasheer Zamata and host Sarah Silverman wore Turner-like wigs and flashy red dresses, and performed "Proud Mary" on a river cruise. The three ladies continue to interrupt the song to talk about their struggles.
Groundlings teacher Ian Gary isn't happy either over the similar sketch. "Over the years, I have seen MANY MANY sketches flat out stolen from my friends by Saturday Night Live," he too wrote on Facebook. "Nearly verbatim. Word for Word."
Gary continued, "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."
Vanessa Ragland, who wrote and stars in the Groundlings sketch, also called out SNL. She tweeted: "Like the Tina Turner sketch on #snl last night? You'll LOVE this funnier/OG version I wrote w/ @kimberlycondict."
This wouldn't be the first time SNL has been accused of being unoriginal. In 2010, it was pointed out that the show's sketch that included "tiny hats" looked a lot like a 2007 parody ad on Adult Swim's Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
A source close to SNL commented on claims that they stole the Tina Turner sketch idea, telling The Hollywood Reporter, "It’s a common idea since Tina Turner is such an iconic figure. The similarities represent parallel thinking in the comedy world."
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SNL is arguably the biggest sketch show on TV, and ET was backstage for their season 40 premiere with host Chris Pratt. Check it out: