'Saturday Night Live' sends up Ozempic craze in Ramadan-themed parody ad

For Ramadan this year, Big Pharma is giving practicing Muslims a hand to get through their daily fasting.

At least, that’s the premise of a tongue-in-cheek sketch from last weekend’s episode of ‘Saturday Night Live’ that was titled “Ozempic for Ramadan” and starred the episode’s guest host, actor and comedian Ramy Youssef.

The sketch opens with Youssef, playing a busy dad, talking about how difficult fasting for Ramadan had become for him until he discovered Ozempic for Ramadan, the packaging for which describes it as a pork-free semaglutide injection and “100% halal food”—complete with real Ozempic maker Novo Nordisk’s branding.

“I used to rush to eat a whole meal before dawn, but now I just grab my prayer beads and my Ozempic needle,” Youssef says, reaching to grab the medication from a bowl of dates in his refrigerator. “As long as I shoot up before the sun rises, it’s halal.”

The fake ad goes on to show ‘SNL’ cast members Ego Nwodim, Kenan Thompson and Andrew Dismukes as additional satisfied users of Ozempic for Ramadan. The injections’ appetite-suppressing mechanism helps Nwodim work through her colleagues’ lunch break and Thompson avoid getting “hangry” while manning a halal cart, while giving Dismukes’ character, a convert to Islam, the help he needs to make it through daily fasts—plus “a 27-inch waist,” he boasts.

Side effects of the drug include nausea, headaches and “going straight to hell,” a cheerful voiceover intones but Youssef counters that if Ozempic for Ramadan helps him fast for the entire month, without any breaks, he’ll “probably get extra awards from God.”

The parody commercial ends with a final shot of the Ozempic for Ramadan packaging, plus the slogan, “Yeah, it’s just Ozempic.”

This isn’t the first time that ‘SNL’ has joked about the growing ubiquity of GLP-1 drugs. A sketch last year parodying red-carpet coverage of the Academy Awards claimed that the event was sponsored by Ozempic, with an onscreen reporter played by cast member Heidi Gardner offering the slogan, “Ozempic: I guess everyone in Hollywood has diabetes!”

The high-profile off-label use of GLP-1s hinted at in that sketch, in turn, was the subject of an actual—not parody—ad from Eli Lilly that debuted during Hollywood’s major awards season earlier this year. In it, the pharma decried the use of its GLP-1s “for the smaller dress or tux, for a big night, for vanity,” stressing the importance of ensuring the drugs are available to their approved populations, including people with obesity or Type 2 diabetes.