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Tiny hats war: Did 'Saturday Night Live' steal a sketch from the 'Tim & Eric Awesome Show'?

By Melissa Bell

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Updated, Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.
When Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim woke up Sunday morning, they had hundreds of messages on Twitter railing against "Saturday Night Live." A skit on the Saturday premiere episode had content very similar to a skit that had appeared a few years earlier on Heidecker and Warheim's show "The Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!," which airs on Adult Swim.

The comic duo got their start on the Internet, uploading sketch comedy to their Web site before Youtube launched and have kept in contact with their fans through the Internet, even after moving to a television show. Heidecker and Wareheim said the Internet has allowed them to build a loyal fan family and their fans did not like an idea being stolen.

"Tiny Hats was sacred to the Awesome Family. Our fans feel ownership of the jokes, 'This wasn't small hats. This was tiny hats,' " Heidecker said.

When his fans complained about the "SNL" sketch, Heidecker responded with a "half-serious, half-not-serious" joke, rallying his troops to a tiny hat war.

But what the fans understood as Tim's humor, the rest of the world did not comprehend: "It was blown out of proportion," he said.

The comedians think any similarity in the two sketches about tiny hats most likely was just a coincidence and that, as much as any writer tries to guard against it, occasionally people do borrow ideas from past shows. "We don't have encyclopedia of every comedy sketch every filmed," Heidecker said.

Even so, the men do have a list of demands they would like "SNL" to meet as a formal apology: They want to write an entire episode of the show; Lorne Michaels should open the show with a five-minute apology; Warheim wants a date with Andy Samburg; and Heidecker wants an "SNL" leather jacket, size small.

"Saturday Night Live" has not returned calls for comment, and Tim is still waiting on the leather jacket.

Monday, 3 p.m.
What is worth fighting for? Love? Honor? Tiny hats?

To fans of the "Tim & Eric Awesome Show," tiny hats are indeed worth going to battle over. At least worth tweeting in rage over.

On the premiere "Saturday Night Live" show, one skit struck a chord with viewers. Ladies who lunch fought for fashion attention with smaller and smaller hats. Some viewers, though, thought the skit was too familiar for their liking.

"I understand that SNL hasn't had an original idea in years, but can't believe they thought no one would notice," wrote @shirtsizesmall.

"The Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!" is a sketch comedy show that airs on Adult Swim and has a fierce fan following. Tim Heidecker did not see the "Saturday Night Live" skit, but when his fans started tweeting about it, he responded, "Will there be a 'Betty White' sized online movement demanding public apology?"

The two scenes share tiny hats and a hat-within-a-hat gig, but the Web site SplitSider points out that tiny hats have been a comedy staple since at least the "Men on Film" rocked them on "In Living Color."

Is this making a mountain out of a petit chapeau?

By Melissa Bell  | September 28, 2010; 8:36 AM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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