"Imitation is the sincerest of flattery."
Charles Caleb Colton wrote those words in 1820. Was Colton looking ahead to 2014 and the premiere of the 40th season of "Saturday Night Live"?
Another year of "SNL" kicked off this weekend, and I admit to watching — every single (mostly) unfunny minute of it.
The show has a long history of skewering current events, politicians, and pop culture. Aside from mocking the NFL's recent spate of domestic violence scandals, this viewer saw very little comedy inspired by current events or politics.
With the exception of a brief mention of Obama's lack of popularity during the lackluster "News" sketch, political humor was nowhere to be found. Instead the show was filled with inane, sophomoric sketches devoid of comedy that relied on forced punch lines and that "applause" sign flashing to the studio audience to create endings to any number of wandering sketches.
But in the final half-hour of Saturday's show, a short video made me laugh a little. However, about 30 seconds into it, I felt as if I'd seen it before.
The video made of fun of the player introductions often seen before televised games. In this case, instead of the players announcing the school's they represented, these "NFL" pros announced their criminal histories.
Here's the sketch from "SNL":
As I mentioned before, the sketch, while entertaining, felt a little familiar.
Then I recalled a very funny and massively popular sketch from Comedy Central's "Key and Peele."
More than two years ago, "East/West College Bowl" was uploaded to Comedy Central's YouTube channel and has since generated more than 25 million views.
Like the "SNL" video, "Key & Peele's" starts with an animated graphic, cuts to two announcers with a football field behind them, and then cuts away to players from one team introducing themselves.
The video returns to the announcers who then toss it back to the montage of players from the opposing team.
The only difference between the two sketches is that one makes fun of the players' criminal records while the other mocks crazy names some players go by.
Watch the "Key & Peele" video from 2012 here:
To my eye, the two videos are nearly identical
Both use an animated opening graphic, two sportscasters with the football field behind them, and cutaways to players for punch lines.
They are even very close in length: SNL's video is 3 minutes while Key & Peele's is only 15 seconds longer.
If I were Comedy Central's Key & Peele, I might be asking Lorne Michaels and his crew for an apology and residuals.
Follow Mike Opelka (@Stuntbrain) on Twitter.