SNL Heroin Skit Has Upset America… And Prompted Conversation

SNL Heroin Skit Has Upset America… And Prompted Conversation

SNL Skit on Heroin Has Most of America Enraged

Those who have lost loved ones to what has recently become recognized as a national heroin epidemic may have been slightly (or severely) offended by the somewhat distasteful sketch that aired on Saturday Night Live this past weekend. In the fake television commercial, Julia Louis-Dreyfus depicts a clean-cut mother openly discussing her desire to use heroin responsibly. The satirical ad presents a product called ‘Heroin AM’ – a daytime narcotic opioid that allows for a solid high and uncompromised productivity.

Uncouth Fake Ad Leaves Bad Taste in Many Mouths

It is not all too uncommon for the writers of the long-standing sketch comedy show to poke fun at some pretty disheartening and valid issues, such as police brutality and terrorist attacks. In fact, essentially every skit the show features is exceedingly offensive and repugnant depending on who you are. However, this particular issue seemingly strikes especially close to the cast and crew of SNL, seeing as the show has personally experienced several heroin-related overdose deaths. Both John Belushi and Chris Farley lost their lives to the deadly combination of heroin and cocaine – the very same recipe that Heroin AM so enthusiastically advertises.

New York as a whole has been rocked by the heroin epidemic, with the number of heroin-related deaths throughout the state skyrocketing from 215 in 2008 to 478 in 2012. The sketch comedians and writers behind the nationally broadcasted show would have to be quite thick to miss the fact that this particular skit would deeply offend thousands.

heroin skit on snl

So why the blatant spotlight on such a clearly devastating and widespread crisis?

Like I mentioned previously, nearly every skit the raunchy comedy show airs is offensive in some lighting. What ‘goes too far’ is based heavily on personal opinion and experience. I personally live in Delray Beach, Florida – a ‘recovery community’ in every sense of the term. Because of this, my life has been directly touched by the utter destruction of heroin addiction. While I lack personal experience, I have had friends lose their lives to the disease and I have seen loved ones rapidly deteriorate at the hands of unrelenting physical and psychological dependency. And because of this, I found myself slightly disturbed by this particular farce. Not to the point of heated debate, merely to the point of thinking, “Wow, that was not funny at all.”

In 1988 a sketch called “Nude Beach” aired on SNL, bringing to rise much public uproar regarding the gratuitous use of the word “penis”. If I was a devout Christian, my feathers may have been quite rustled by the 2013 skit titled “DJesus Uncrossed”. Yes, some may argue, but heroin addiction is responsible for thousands of annual deaths. Well, so is terrorism, which SNL has also tastelessly tackled. And domestic violence, and racism… the list goes on.

SNL Has a History of Meddling With the Offensive

Any publicity is good publicity. So, some people may have been rubbed the wrong way by a cheerful advertisement for what may have contributed to the death of a lover or family member. Of course. Some people are even downright angry, demanding that NBC publicly apologize for being so excessively gauche. But the nationally broadcasted skit has gotten people around the world talking about the heroin epidemic in a way that it needs to be talked about. The spotlight is being shone directly into the eyes of the issue at hand, and although the light may not be the most flattering, it is still quite illuminating. Perhaps this was the intention of the show all along. To bring to light the fact that heroin addiction is non-discriminatory, overwhelmingly pervasive, and constantly increasing in severity. What are your thoughts?


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