Full disclosure: On Monday, when Emily first wrote up the story about Louis C.K.’s clown sketch being awfully similar to a Tig Notaro short, she was all like, fuck that guy, that sorry stealing sonofabitch. But Seth and I suggested that there was another possibility: That Louis C.K. — who helped promote her cancer comedy special — had perhaps asked for permission from his friend to use the sketch. I mean, it’s not like Louis C.K., to plagiarize, they have a history together, and while the execution to the two sketches were similar, they clearly shared a lot in common.
Turns out, Emily was right the first time. Fuck that sorry stealing sonofabitch.
Here’s Tig Notaro’s statement on plagiarism accusations.
“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.”
Huh. That is disappointing.