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Joel Haver Responds To Fan Outcry That SNL's Season 48 Premiere Stole His Sketch

On October 2, 2022, "Saturday Night Live" returned for Season 48, with Miles Teller as the host. The premiere episode was filled with surprises, including appearances from Jon Hamm and Shaun White (via Deadline), and ... plagiarism accusations? Viewers grew concerned when the "SNL" episode featured a sketch involving a young Charmin Bear (Teller) who denounces his family's storied history of working with toilet paper in favor of going to college to become a dancer. The sketch is similar to Joel Haver's "Toilet Paper Bears," which was released in July 2022. Featuring blue bears, the animated video sees a young man asking his father if he can abandon the family obsession with toilet paper and instead focus on his true passion: theater.

Haver, who boasts nearly 1.7 million subscribers and over 1,770 Patreon patrons who directly support his work, has since opened up about the "SNL" clip, calling both sketches "very similar" in a response uploaded to YouTube. The comedian has decided to dismiss claims that "SNL" stole his idea, attributing it to a coincidence. "When it comes to the Charmin Bears thing, there's a lot of coincidences that would have to line up to make it truly a coincidence, but I don't think it was malicious," says the comedian. "It was either a subconscious borrowing from somebody on their writers' staff who saw my video, or it was a wild coincidence."

Haver's response to the plagiarism allegations has been widely applauded, with social media praising the comedian for taking the high road and taking advantage of the "coincidence" in a unique way.

Fans are happy Joel Haver has a positive spin on the controversy

Joel Haver's response to the "Saturday Night Live" plagiarism allegations currently has over 1.3 million views, while the "SNL" Charmin sketch has just under 500,000 and boasts over 58,000 dislikes. After suggesting that the NBC series did not steal his sketch, Haver takes the time to highlight the content of several other YouTube creators, using his platform (and the controversy) to give them exposure. The decision to move past the elephant in the room has made Haver a darling on social media.

"While I would've been quick to anger if something like were to happen to me, [Haver] spun such a positive twist on it highlighting his favorite creators," writes Twitter user @JaeAIK. This sentiment is echoed by Minecraft creator Markus Persson, who says, "Joel Haver reacting to SNL is so wholesome I regained hope in humanity." Perrson says he now has "other great new comedy to watch" instead of being upset at "SNL."

Other users, like @NotaCuttlefish, suggest that "SNL" should hire Haver in a bid to save face: "Just Hire Joel Haver to be on your digital media team and write sketches like the ol' 'SNL Digital Shorts' because his content is always good." r/LiveFromNewYork, the "Saturday Night Live" fan subreddit, has also chimed in on the Joel praise party, with users like u/PeltzerBilly labeling him a class act. Other "SNL" fans are pointing out why it's important Haver has decided to tackle the issue in a positive light because it preserves his brand.

Why Joel Havers' response is good news

Entertainment Weekly says that the writer behind the "SNL" sketch was unaware of Joel Haver's video. While there are coincidences between both videos, there are striking differences in execution. The humor in the Miles Teller-led sketch is rapid-fire, over-the-top, and features a dance sequence, while Haver's take is much more subdued and deadpan. "SNL" has been given the benefit of the doubt by user u/OswaldCoffeepot, who says, "It looks like the old trope of 'kid tells traditionalist dad that they don't want to go into the family business' but with the Charmin bears." Another user agrees with Haver: "I could see subconscious. At 4 a.m. the Monday before an episode, you might not remember you've seen something before."

The entire situation has led many users to discuss the impact of plagiarizing in the world of comedy. In a 2015 article discussing joke theft, David Sims of The Atlantic notes that writer Adam Frucci once suggested that "if you want to accuse someone of stealing your joke, make sure it wasn't only highly original, but also highly similar, and visible enough that someone famous might have seen or heard it."

While it's unclear if Haver's work was actually stolen, the situation has done nothing but great things for the comedian. Haver has walked away with new fans, a positive PR spin that builds his brand, and the opportunity to highlight the works of up-and-coming creatives, while "SNL" continues to be criticized. Is the criticism warranted? That's up to the viewer and "SNL" head Lorne Micheals, who has seen his series face plagiarism accusations on numerous occasions (via Salon).