Not the rarest situation for Saturday Night Live.
Saturday Night Live experienced one of the biggest periods of staff turnover in its history between seasons 47 and 48: a whopping eight stars announced their departure during the summer months, and Chris Redd announced his departure less than two weeks before Miles Teller. the last premiere. With Kendrick Lamar as the musical guest, SNL began its 48th year with Adam Levine riffs, Peyton Manning spoofing and… Jon Hamm hamming. But shortly after the episode aired, some viewers questioned the originality of one of the most left-wing sketches of the evening.
In the midst of the season premiere missing Cecily Strong, SNL stars Kenan Thompson, Punky Johnson and Heidi Gardner, as well as Miles Teller, dressed in big, fluffy, blue-and-white bear costumes for what will be known as the “Bears Charm” sketch. Some viewers undoubtedly didn’t think twice about what they saw, but fans of Internet comedian Joel Haver quickly noticed the similarities between this and a somewhat recent animation called “Toilet Paper Bears,” which currently has more than 1.3 million views on YouTube.
First, a fan launched a Reddit thread on Joel Haver’s subreddit to ask if they were on the right track, thinking SNL might be guilty of allegedly stealing a pre-existing sketch. Almost a dozen commentators agreed with this, and some of them noted how often in the past “Saturday Night Live” was accused of sketch theft tactics. For what it’s worth, this has happened in cases involving the Pumpkin Patch sketch featuring Aquafina, the Tina Turner-style Proud Mary sketch, the seductive Zillow sketch, and many others over the years. (Joe Rogan and fired SNL employee Shane Gillis talked about an alleged SNL joke during the 2021 release of the Joe Rogan Experience.)
With that in mind, first take a look at the “Saturday Night Live” sketch (see below).
And now run your eyes over Joel Haver’s animated sketch to find out possible points of comparison.
While it is impossible to fully outline how things were going with the creation of these sketches, it is also quite impossible to ignore the closeness in the subject. I’m all for believing in coincidences when logic dictates it, but others are less in a hurry to give SNL the presumption of innocence. This viewer commented right under the tweet of a sketch show about “Sharmin Bears”, saying:
This is stolen from a sketch by Joel Haver. I usually think that the phrase “SNL stole the sketch” is baseless and stupid, but it’s so obvious. Come on, guys.
Meanwhile, the user below started a mini-tirade after seeing the SNL bears at the parade, starting with the words:
Fuck SNL for stealing its Charmin sketch from @joelhaver. Was enjoying the episode, but that immediately soured it. They really need to stop stealing sketches—they’ve been doing it for decades with no consequences. Ridiculous
— Cody Clarke / Kill The Lion Films (@codyclarke) October 2, 2022
Another fan shared his thoughts on how this could be the case when the statements of imitators have some basis, saying:
There are claims that it was a robbery by Joel Haver. Sometimes I roll my eyes at these claims, but a lot of people have said that this time they think it’s fair. I think we’ll see if he gets some traction.
SNL famously featured Louis C.K. in a time-shortened sketch about stealing jokes, as the stand-up comedian had previously feuded with Dane Cook over such things. Only for Tig Notaro, who came out two years later and blamed C.K. and the NBC series that copied her short film Clown Service with the sketch “The Clown’s Birthday.”
New episodes are released every week at 23:30. ET, Saturday Night Live is also broadcast live for those who have a Peacock subscription. Head over to our TV premiere schedule for 2022 to find out what other new and returning shows are in the pipeline.