“Saturday Night Live” aired a sketch this weekend that initially received tons of praise.
Titled “Draw Muhammad,” the bit was a riff on “Pictionary” or “Win, Lose or Draw,” in which contestants must sketch a word or phrase.
In the “SNL” sketch, Bobby Moynihan’s character receives the “Trend Setters” category and is given the phrase, “The Prophet Muhammad.”
After two gunmen opened fire on an anti-Muslim “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest art show in Texas last week, Moynihan’s character is especially reluctant to draw the controversial figure.
After Moynihan’s character says “I can’t draw it,” Reese Witherspoon, who hosted this weekend’s show and played Moynihan’s wife, guesses the correct answer– “The Prophet Muhammad.” The couple walk away with a $US1 million prize.
The bit was praised on social media.
Salon wrote that the show “brilliantly tackled the fear of drawing Muhammad.” Comedian and former “SNL” staffer Dean Obeidallah called the bit “a great comedy sketch that raises an important issue about freedom for expression and the fear some Americans have about drawing the Prophet Mohammed.”
But by Monday, the Internet was quick to call out SNL’s “Draw Muhammad” sketch — a bit that originated on Canadian comedy show, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”
The Canadian sketch, which first aired in January, has an identical premise to the “SNL” bit.
Both contestants have $US1 million at stake, both refuse to draw Muhammad, and then both wives guess the correct answer after their husbands refuse to draw Muhammad.
“22 Minutes” comedian Shaun Majumder, who is featured in the original sketch, tweeted about the copy cat bit.
“Wow if only we could steal some of their budget,” tweeted the 43-year-old comedian, with the hashtag “GreatMindsThinkAlike.”
“I think both pieces are important satirical comedy with two different audiences,” he continued.
Watch the original “Draw Muhammad” sketch below:
Now watch this weekend’s “Saturday Night Live” version and judge for yourself:
This isn’t the first time “Saturday Night Live” has been accused of plagiarism.
In October, NBC’s long-running comedy show blatantly took a bit from The Groundlings comedy troupe in which female cast members impersonate Tina Turner on a riverboat casino.