Illustrator Dan Meth has staked a claim that Saturday Night Live ripped off his online animated video series—and blatantly.
The New York-based artist, known for his internet-famous sitcom maps points out on his blog the similarities between his own Alan Kaufman, rock star accountant at Kaufman, Kaufman, Rothman, and Roth: Rock Star Financial (the cartoon first went live in 2007), and Andy Samberg's Mort Mort Feingold, Celebrity Accountant, who didn't hit the airwaves until April 2010.
You might find it difficult to argue otherwise for Samberg's character: Mort Mort Feingold is exactly the same nebbish caricature as Meth's Alan Kaufman—throwing obnoxious jabs at vapid celebrities. See for yourself:
Churning out the chuckles every week for national television isn't easy, so it's not such a surprise to hear that SNL would Xerox material from an artist with likely no loot for legal representation in order to grab some laughs. Stuff like this happens all the time. Last month, the Late Show with David Letterman aired a bit that mashed up clips of Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson into a farcical phone conversation. One week prior, satirical Hollywood blog Film Drunk had posted the exact same concept. (Though, given how topical tiger blood has been of late, it's a little more difficult to point fingers as that one.)
The Letterman bit could be chalked up as pure happenstance, but the SNL sketch, albeit having aired in the throes of tax season, seems beyond coincidence. Then again, Bill & Ted's Alex Winter featured a rock n' roll accountant bit on his MTV sketch comedy show, The Idiot Box, before Samberg was even born. (Skip to the 6:00 mark here.)
Do you think Lorne Michaels might throw Meth a bone or two by hiring to do some cartoon shorts as reparation? That's all the artist is asking for.