YouTuber responds to fan accusations that ‘Saturday Night Live’ allegedly ‘stole’ his video concept for a sketch

YouTuber and comedian Joel Haver posted a response video to his channel on Oct. 4 addressing rumors that Saturday Night Live allegedly “stole” one of his video concepts for a sketch.

The 26-year-old filmmaker has almost 1.7 million subscribers on YouTube, and one of his more popular videos is an animation short titled “Toilet Paper Bears.” The video has 1.5 million views and was uploaded in July 2022. The plot follows a family of blue bears who are obsessed with toilet paper — a parody of Charmin toilet paper commercials, although Charmin is not explicitly named or referenced — and their reactions to the son’s expressing interest in pursuing theater and dancing.

On Oct. 2, Saturday Night Live began its 48th season with host Miles Teller and featured a sketch called “Charmin Bears.” The cast is dressed in blue bear costumes, and Teller, the son, breaks the news to his dad that he wants to dance instead of working in toilet paper.

Within hours, fans immediately forwarded the sketch to Haver, who posted his response days later.

“When it comes to these stealing accusations I always err on the side of coincidence. I think parallel thinking does happen more often than not,” Haver explained. But still, Haver couldn’t help but notice the striking similarities. “It was pretty alarming, I was like wow … usually when these things come up I’m able to see it’s the same concept but they took it somewhere different … but this one was a little weird.”

A source close to the show told In The Know that it was indeed a case of parallel thinking. Ultimately, Haver did not think Saturday Night Live was being malicious.

“It was either a subconscious borrowing from somebody on the writer’s staff who saw my video. Or it was a coincidence,” he concluded.

But, Haver pointed out that if he were still a small, struggling creator on the platform, he could understand seeing the sketch on Saturday Night Live and feeling snubbed.

“If I was still a small creator, which I was for a long time, I could see it rubbing me the wrong way and I’d be a little more likely to believe that they did steal it. I have to recognize that I’m in a position to not be bothered by it,” he said. “I’m lucky in the event that SNL did steal from me, I’m lucky to be in a position to have my stuff seen by enough people that that would even happen.”

This is not the first time Saturday Night Live has been accused of parallel thinking.

In 2010, Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric Awesome Show was tagged in a flurry of tweets after a sketch aired about a group of women wearing increasingly tinier hats while out to lunch. The concept, according to Heidecker, was “surprisingly similar” to a 2007 Tim and Eric sketch called “Tiny Hats.”

“We understand that we’ve created something that a lot of people in comedy watch and like, and influences are totally fine,” Heidecker told Vulture at the time. “I don’t want to start a big thing here.”

Comedian Ben Zweig wrote in a Medium post in 2015 that Saturday Night Live released a sketch that was identical in name to his idea for a Comedy Hack Day project. Months before the episode was written, Zweig and his friend Matt Condon came up with the joke app idea for “Settl” — a Tinder parody for “sad people.” Then, Saturday Night Light came out with a fake commercial for a dating app called … “Settl.”

“A simple Google search would’ve informed you it had been done,” Zweig wrote. “What happened is either a degree of comedic plagiarism, or an impressive lack of basic, easily-done research.”

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