SNL's Controversial 'Heroin AM' Commercial Goes Viral

By McCarton Ackerman 04/18/16
The fake drug ad, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus, makes light of widespread heroin use in the U.S.
 SNL's Controversial 'Heroin AM' Parody Commercial Goes Viral
Photo via YouTube/NBC

A Saturday Night Live sketch from this past weekend took a less than tactful approach to addressing the U.S. heroin epidemic, causing it to go viral.

The sketch advertises a new drug called Heroin AM, "the only non-drowsy heroin on the market" from the "makers of Cocaine PM."

"Heroin usage is on the rise in America," the soothing voiceover explains, "but productivity among heroin users has remained stagnant." Heroin PM, which comes in the box with "five milligrams of caffeine and a small pile of cocaine," promises to allow heroin users to enjoy the drug without the lethargic effects. But it doesn’t come without harmful side effects, which are stated as, simply, "It’s heroin, so…all that stuff."

A suburban mother with a blissful disposition, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, swears by Heroin AM: “I want to use heroin, but also want to get stuff done…so I can get jacked on scag and then get to work.” A soccer coach, played by Beck Bennett, says, “When I would call time-out to inject black tar heroin, there was almost a stigma about it. But with Heroin AM, I’m almost more alert than if I weren’t on heroin.” 

The commercial concludes with Louis-Dreyfus cheerfully declaring that she “went from nodding off to nodding yes to more heroin” as the camera pans out to show her in the driver's seat of a school bus full of kids.

Video courtesy of NBC/YouTube

Despite a lack of sensitivity, the sketch struck a chord with viewers. Since it was posted to YouTube early Sunday morning, it racked up over 250,000 views in less than 24 hours.

SNL also struck viral gold in the fake drug market last October. Its sketch marketing the anti-dementia drug Abilify For People Who Think They Can Be President garnered over 1.1 million views. The product promises to “destroy the damaged part of the brain that says, 'I’m going to be president,' leading to an almost immediate return to reality. It’s the only dementia medication prescribed for 11 specific people.”

In the ad, the wives of Republicans Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilmore, express their concern about their husbands' nonsensical rants insisting they can become president. But after taking the drug, they’re able to laugh about their prior delusions. Santorum (played by Taran Killam) sits with his wife (Cecily Strong) and incredulously admits, “Before Abilify, I would go on national TV and say, ‘Here’s how I would eradicate ISIS!’ Me! It’s like, what?

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.