8:03pm PT by Katie Kilkenny, Patrick Shanley
Late-Night Hosts Spoof Ambien Ads Following Roseanne Barr Tweet
After she lost her ABC show and talent agency due to a racist tweet, Roseanne Barr blamed the insomnia medication Ambien for the controversial comment in several tweets on Tuesday. The next day, late-night hosts latched onto the comment, jokingly casting racism as a possible side effect to the medication in spoof ads.
Barr first blamed the medication on the tweet that caused a firestorm in a few tweets on Tuesday: "guys I did something unforgiveable so do not defend me. It was 2 in the morning and I was ambien tweeting," she said in one, and added that she had "done weird stuff while on ambien-cracked eggs on the wall at 2am etc --" in another.
The medication's manufacturer, Sanofi U.S., responded to the comments on Wednesday, tweeting, "People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication."
On Comedy Central, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah joked, "If you listen to their ads, there is a subtle warning about just [racism]."
The ad that followed showed stock images of doctors and a person stretching in the morning, while the voiceover said, "Side effects of Ambien include nausea, diarrhea and sudden racism." It continued, "Do not operate social media while taking Ambien because it may lead to sitcom loss" as the advertisement showed a television playing a Roseanne Barr speech blow up in a desert.
The voiceover then said, "If you feel sudden racism while on Ambien, don't leave your house. If you must say the n-word, scream it into a pillow until the feeling passes. If Ambien is taken on Memorial Day, racist side effects are amplified, for some reason. If you suddenly wake up and you're at a Klan rally, contact your doctor immediately — unless he's black, because then you'll probably just call him a monkey."
On Full Frontal, a fake ad for the drug showed images of individuals struggling to fall asleep with a voiceover narration stating, “If sleeping through the night feels like a far away dream, try Ambien, the prescription sleep aid that helps you get a good night’s sleep and possibly makes you racist? I mean, you were already racist but maybe Ambien made it worse?”
The ad goes on to state that users should use Ambien if “you’ve ever asked when will there be a White History Month,” used the phrase “I’m not racist, but …” and “if you’ve previously tweeted racist things that your boss forgot about.” The latter statement was accompanied by an old tweet by Barr.