Last fall, at Carnegie Mellon’s freshman orientation, Joe Reilly and his friend Sean Hoffman invented a dance called The Creep – and earlier this month, they posted two YouTube videos with instructions on how to do it (watch below). So they were startled by the most recent episode of Saturday Night Live, which featured a digital short based around an identically named dance with similar moves, and the resemblance has sparked a mini-controversy online.
But in a statement to Rolling Stone, Lonely Island — the Andy Samberg-led trio who create many of SNL‘s digital shorts — say that any resemblance has to be coincidental, noting they recorded their song before Reilly and his friends posted their first Creep video. “We wrote and recorded the song over the summer,” Lonely Island says, “and [Nicki] Minaj recorded her part in November 2010, well before that video was made.”
Still, there are some striking similarities. In both videos a character wears a T-rex mask while dancing, and both advise people to smile as they do the Creep. The dance movements are also practically identical, though Lonely Island’s far more elaborate video contains an original song, a guest rap by Minaj and an introduction by John Waters.
“Truthfully, we were initially a little angry at first,” says Reilly. “But we calmed down after we thought about it. Our views have even shot up to 7,000. The only thing we’re hoping for is some sort of acknowledgment from them.”
In their statement, Lonely Island did acknowledge the students’ talents: “That’s crazy that they have a T-rex head as well! I guess great minds really do think alike. And by great minds we mean ours and theirs. We enjoyed their dancing and hope they continue their creeping ways.”
When reached again, Reilly was stunned that Lonely Island responded to their concerns. “That’s incredible!” he says. “I’m pleased we have an answer, but it’s kind of hard to believe. Even if I said I didn’t believe them it wouldn’t change much of anything.” Does he think they’re lying? “Hold on a second…” (Reilly asks a friend in the room if he believes the story) “Yeah, we believe them. This whole thing was actually just a crazy coincidence, just crazy and shocking. It’s nice to hear back from them. In the end, it’s pretty advantageous for us.”