SNL: Dakota Johnson controversial sketch once sparked major backlash

SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration
SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration / Gary Gershoff/GettyImages

Saturday Night Live welcomes back Dakota Johnson this week. The actress hosts for the second time, returning to where she starred in one of SNL's most controversial sketchs in recent memory.

Johnson will host the January 27 show, joined by musical guest Justin Timberlake. She'll be on to promote her new film Madame Web as she becomes the latest star to try their hand at a superhero blockbuster.

Johnson made her SNL hosting debut on February 28, 2015. She was arguably at the height of her fame thanks to the 50 Shades of Grey franchise. So she entered SNL already used to raising eyebrows with her performances and choice of material.

But things went to a different level with the "Father Daughter Ad" sketch. What starts as a father (Taran Killam) seemingly dropping his daughter (Dakota Johnson) off at the airport to join the military takes a wild turn. It turns out she's actually joining ISIS and that's where the controversy began.

SNL's spoof combined parodying a Toyota ad and commenting on headlines at the time reporting an increasing number of women joining ISIS. However, some viewers felt the show went too far to pull humor from the sensitive subject. Social media kept itself busy, demanding SNL apologize or calling for a boycott.

Neither Saturday Night Live nor Dakota Johnson really engaged with the criticism. Much of it was overstated and ignored what SNL truly parodied with the sketch. It also wasn't the first time SNL used ISIS for comedy. The year prior, the group appeared in a Shark Tank bit that also rubbed viewers the wrong way.

Don't expect Dakota Johnson and SNL to make a sequel

So will we get a sequel to Dakota Johnson's ISIS sketch in 2024? That seems unlikely given the response to the 2015 sketch.

That's not to say Saturday Night Live and Dakota Johnson don't have the material to try again. While a sketch set in the Middle East would be too risky, the sketch could easily be updated to show a teenager joining the MAGA movement or diving into a conspiracy theory group.

But both of those ideas feel dated. And SNL would be asking its audience to remember Johnson's controversial sketch from years ago for the joke to really land. Plus, SNL already has whiffed once this season by playing with fire. Remember the college presidents cold open? SNL would prefer you didn't.

Johnson is more than capable of delivering a memorable performance without blurring the lines of controversy. Expect SNL to get back on track this week.