Is it ever okay to make jokes about anything? The Internet wonders.
Saturday Night Live is facing some harsh criticism for a commercial parody gently titled "Father Daughter Ad." In the sketch, Dakota Johnson plays a teenage girl being dropped off by her dad. We're meant to think she's on her way to college, but her "ride" turns out to be a group of bearded men with machine guns—she's leaving home to join ISIS.
The sketch, which parodies a Toyota Camry commercial, angered some viewers, and not just because Dakota Johnson looks too world-weary to play a teenager. They wondered if it was in poor taste, and many brought up that age-old question: are we allowed to make jokes about anything serious? (By the way, the answer is yes and also calm down.)
Taran Killam, who plays the dad in the sketch, defended it on Twitter:
Proud of this. Freedom to mock is our greatest weapon. Thanks to the writers who asked not to be mentioned by name. https://t.co/FjdX9xGewX— taran killam (@TaranKillam) March 1, 2015
Killam makes a good point, though I wonder if this sketch is using satire as a weapon against ISIS. The actual target of the sketch isn't really clear. Is it young people choosing to join ISIS or just cheesy car commercials?
That said, it's definitely possible to make funny jokes about ISIS.
ISIS has started recruiting Canadians. What are they going to do, politely ask hostages to remove their own heads?— Warren Holstein (@WarrenHolstein) February 27, 2015
ISIS thinks the dress is white and gold, btw.— Johnny McNulty (@JohnnyMcNulty) February 27, 2015
The worst part of joining ISIS is when they circle all your fat spots with a marker in front of the other recruits.— Justin Shanes (@justinshanes) February 27, 2015
Thought I was upset about ISIS, but then a celebrity made a gaffe at an awards show & now I know the true enemy.— rob delaney (@robdelaney) February 23, 2015
A Tea Party Republican compared Planned Parenthood to ISIS because one of them has to say something crazy each day and it was his turn.— Rex Huppke (@RexHuppke) February 19, 2015