Last weekend Saturday Night Live presented a skit that mocked terrorists – no, not Tea Partiers, the usual butt of Hollywood's jokes and DHS surveillance, but ISIS itself. The bit got mixed reactions – some found it in offensively bad taste, some appreciated the dark humor. This raises a serious question about comedy: is it ever acceptable to joke about terrorism?
In the sketch, the comedy show spoofed a sentimental Toyota commercial in which a father drops his daughter off at the airport to join the U.S. Army. In SNL's version, however, the daughter is joining up with a band of, shall we say, less noble fighters.
"You be careful, okay?" says the dad to his teen daughter, just before she climbs aboard a pickup loaded with ISIS militants bearing their black flag and weapons. "Take care of her," the tearful father tells one of the bearded terrorists. "Death to America," he replies, and the pickup races off with terrorist guns blazing and tongues ululating. A voiceover concludes: "ISIS. We'll take it from here, Dad."