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HOT TOPICS: Alcoholism  Addiction  AA  Cocaine  Heroin

The Funniest Addiction Videos

“Funny” and “addiction” don’t usually go together. These videos are the exception. 

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How South Park intervenes Photo via

By McCarton Ackerman

02/09/12

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Intervention Intervention

What do your friends do when you’re addicted to the show about the addictions of others? Why, they have an intervention! Directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and starring former SNL member (and current Portlandia star) Fred Armisen and his then-wife, Mad Men’s Elizabeth Moss, this roughly four-and-a-half minute-long video follows the travails of a man who watches up to 21 episodes per day of the A&E show. Imitating the format of Intervention to the letter, "Intervention Intervention" has special treats for diehard fans in the form of recognizable sound bites (“It feels like I’m walkin’ on sunshine!” and “We're gonna go score some coke!”). Since its release in the summer of 2009, the video has, with over 215,000 views, reached “immortal” status on Funny Or Die and has also run on The Huffington Post and Jezebel, among others. While at first glance, none of the players seem to have anything whatsoever to do with addiction, the commenters on one website believe that Armisen (who has divorced Moss since the video was released) may have a bit more experience in that realm than you might think.

Bashing the attempts of others to get sober can be a tightrope walk for comics, but this 2010 video from The Onion News Network plays it perfectly. Led by Julie Brister, who has appeared on shows including Reno 911! and Little Britain USA, the talking heads on In The Know with Clifford Banes discuss how AA turns people into “boring, sanctimonious husks of their former selves.” The Onion has never strayed from poking fun at alcoholism and addiction, but this was their first and only take on recovery programs. Since going viral, the video has received more than 59,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Sh*t 12 Steppers Say

There’s a “Sh*t (insert group) Say” video for every almost every demographic on the planet at this point, but photographer Frankie Norstad created the first of these viral clips that specifically targets the recovery community. “Sh*t 12-steppers Say” condenses all of the slogans, excuses and messages you hear in the program, from the hackneyed to those that only the most seasoned meeting-goers could identify, into a handy two-minute clip. Norstad, a 29-year-old Angeleno with a talent for mimicry, began a 12-step program for sex addiction last September after seven years of sobriety from drugs and alcohol. “Sh*t 12-steppers Say” has had over 43,000 views since launching the third week in January, prompting Norstad to release a new video, “Sh*t 12-steppers DON’T Say” a week later, where she announced in the comments section that she is working on a soon-to-be released “Sh*t People Say to 12-steppers” video.

Family Guy, “Mr. Booze”

One of Family Guy’s many musical numbers over the years, “Mr. Booze”—a song that blames alcohol for all moral failures and is a cover of the 1964 Rat Pack classic —was part of a Season 10 episode that featured cameos from Carrie Fisher and Adam Carolla. The set-up: Homer Simpson knock-off Peter Griffin and his alcoholic dog Brian are sentenced to 30 days in AA for their excessive drinking and a police officer is called when the entire meeting gets drunk; the center is transformed into a church and the members sing “Mr. Booze” as a trick to get the officer to leave. There are now several videos of the same version of the song on YouTube, with the most successful one reaching over 360,000 views. But perhaps a greater sign of the impact it has made is that The Parents Television Council voted this episode Worst TV Show of the Week (one of 32 Family Guy episodes to achieve that distinction); some members of the recovery community were similarly displeased.

South Park, Towelie’s Intervention

Coming off the heels of their highly controversial Muhammad episodes, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker decided to get back to doing what they do best: slamming pop culture. In this Intervention parody that’s part of a Season 14 episode, Towelie, a perpetually stoned towel who’s a recurring character on the show, starts upping the ante and abusing crack and heroin, causing him to lose his job as a towel at a summer camp for handicapped children. Parker and Stone said they wanted to do a similar episode in Season 10, but plans for it were eventually scrapped; this episode was the most watched cable program of the night on April 28, 2010. While it received some negative criticism, that backlash paled in comparison to the one Stone and Parker received over the Muhammad episodes, perhaps proving that making fun of addiction and handicapped children is fine as long as you stay out of people’s religion.

 

McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer currently residing in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Time Out New YorkThe Huffington Post, abcnews.com and usopen.org, among others. He has also written about Carré Otis and Celebrity Rehab, among other topics, for The Fix.

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