It is common for SNL to make jokes of current events, and more often than not the subject matter is political. However, for many, their joking take on the heroin epidemic on April 16th took things too far. The skit featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was selling the (thankfully) fictional product, “Heroin AM.” “I want to use heroin, but I also want to get stuff done,” Louis-Dreyfus states in the skit. The main concept of “Heroin AM” is that it gives you energy and offers you motivation to do daily activities, while still using heroin. To add onto that, caffeine and cocaine were thrown into the mix. So not only were heroin addicts targeted, but so were users of cocaine and caffeine. This seemed odd to many true fans of the showing, given that both Chris Farley and John Belushi died of an overdose combination of heroin and cocaine.
Many are claiming that this skit is offensive to anyone who has been affected by heroin whether it be themselves or a loved one. It is understandable the outrage that has taken place over it. The overwhelming public response has been that people are appalled at the mockery of a disease that so many people are struggling with today. If it had been any other sort of disease, the skit would not have even made it on air. Yet, no one at NBC opposed the idea of making a joking matter out of an opioid addiction while we are in the midst of an epidemic. As a result of the commercial, many people and companies have begun to boycott the popular NBC show.
Or Savvy Satire?
On the flip side, an article posted on CNN, by contributor Dr. Ford Vox, presents the argument that SNL was using comedy to bring awareness to the absurdity of the root of the problem. Namely, “‘Heroin A.M.’ did a great job elevating awareness that many seemingly ‘normal’ and high-functioning people are abusing opioids. This skit is savvy satire that portrays the medicalization and commercialization of a ‘street drug,’ and that seemingly absurd scenario speaks to the underlying truth that a haywire medical system ruled by corporate greed, bad regulations and complacent doctors actually generated this problem in the first place.” This perspective is certainly one of the lesser voiced ones in the wake of the skit, but also presents an interesting challenge to those claiming distaste and disrespect.
See For Yourself
For those of you who have not seen the skit it can be found here for you to have a chance to form your own opinion on the matter.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opiate addiction reach out to Serenity Acres to speak to an addiction’s professional today, at 1-800-203-2024.