To recap: Notaro made a short film called "Clown Service" in 2015 that was screened at Vulture's Comedy Festival in New York City and regularly at Largo in Los Angeles. The film is about a bummed out woman (played by Notaro) who hires a clown to help her get over a breakup. The April 8 episode of SNL included a sketch that involved host Louis C.K. hiring a clown to perform for him when he's alone on his birthday.
We've now learned, based on a comment Notaro provided to Entertainment Weekly, that one of the creatives who worked on the Louis C.K. sketch was also aware of "Clown Service." Though Notaro and C.K. used to work together, they haven't spoken in a year-and-a-half.
"While I don’t know how all this actually happened, I did find it extremely disappointing," Notaro said.
Notaro's statement is measured but firm. Read it in full below.
“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.“