SNL’s ISIS Skit: Insensitive or Hilarious?

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This past weekend “50 Shades of Grey” actress Dakota Johnson showcased her comedic roots while hosting “Saturday Night Live” for the first time. However, it’s not Johnson’s acting range that everyone is talking about now, but rather a controversial skit she appeared in poking fun at the Islamist terror group ISIS.

In the skit Johnson and SNL cast member Taran Killam parody a tear jerking Toyota Camry ad, where a father drops his daughter off at the airport to presumably join the military. SNL’s version had a twist, though, as this time the daughter’s ride was none other than a truck full of armed ISIS members. Their arrival is followed by this hilarious exchange:

Father: “You be careful, ok.”

Daughter: “Dad, it’s just ISIS.”

Father (Looks at ISIS member): “You take care of her.”

ISIS Member whispers:  “Death to America.”

The truck then pulls away with guns blazing while the slogan “ISIS. We’ll take it from here, Dad” appears in the lower right corner.

If you haven’t yet seen the skit in question check out the video below.

It singlehandedly became the most talked-about skit of the night, with many people debating whether the comedy was offensive or not. Below are a few tweets from people on both sides of the debate.

By turning ISIS into a punch line, SNL openly challenged the group’s ideology. As it turns out, it seems like more people did like it than find it offensive. This morning, the “Today Show” decided to ask its viewers if they thought SNL went too far with the skit. So far the poll has over 12,500 votes, with over half of the voters (54 percent) picking “no.”

Some found the faux ad particularly distasteful after the recent death of 26-year-old American aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was kidnapped and held ransom by ISIS members in August 2013. However, the skit wasn’t mocking Mueller, it was mocking ISIS as an organization and the people who choose to join it.

Personally, I found the skit funny and wasn’t at all offended. SNL has parodied several controversial American enemies in the past including Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, making this terrorist-themed joke neither its first nor most likely its last. There’s something to be said about the ability to take something tragic and scary and find humor in it, thus alleviating its power. As SNL celebrates its 40th anniversary, here’s to hoping they continue to push the envelope and keep us all laughing.

Alexis Evans
Alexis Evans is an Assistant Editor at Law Street and a Buckeye State native. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and a minor in Business from Ohio University. Contact Alexis at aevans@LawStreetMedia.com.



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