Talk show funny guy Conan O'Brien is at it again. He has diabetes on his mind, apparently.

This morning we reported about a show in December in which he hosted a type 1 artist from Texas who has the unique ability to paint with her lipstick kisses.

Well, that fun story was a welcome change from last summer, when the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) responded to one of Conan's segments that included a video game spoof called Super Diabetic Mario Brothers -- in which he basically tied obese couch potato kids to diabetes. Many fellow PWDs found it extremely offensive, despite it being said in jest.

On Nov. 14 (World Diabetes Day, ironically!), Conan again mentioned diabetes with a joke during his opening monologue:

"Over the holidays, the makers of Pringles are coming out with a white-chocolate, peppermint-flavored potato chip. And in a related story, Pfizer is coming out with cinnamon-flavored insulin."

— Conan O'Brien, November 2012

Jump to last week, when on Wednesday (Jan. 9) a Chicago-area pharmacy student named Joel called Conan out on his joke. Joel (no clue whether he's a person with diabetes or not) noted that insulin isn't available in oral form -- he "couldn't let it go" that Conan was implying there was. So he submitted a "fan correction" video pointing out the mistake (see below).

Personally, I wasn't upset about Conan's joke about oral insulin. Sure, Joel is technically correct that no oral insulin is available at the moment. But that wasn't really the point anyway.

If you want to get into it, a handful of companies have actually been working on oral insulin for years: Novo Nordisk, Biodel, Monosol RX in New Jersey, Oramed Pharmaceuticals in Israel, Apollo Life Sciences in Australia, and Biocon in India. And anyone remember Pfizer's inhalable insulin Exubera that actually did make it to market, but didn't fare so well? That was technically an "oral" medication, although you didn't eat it. MannKind Corp. has been working aggressively on inhalable insulin for years, and the newer outfit Dance Pharmaceuticals is working to re-make the original Exubera formula.

With all this product development, I don't think it was a stretch for Conan to imply in jest that Pfizer was doing it in a fun-flavored potato chip way. Sorry, Joel, this isn't a Pharma textbook lesson here. It's comedy. And you know what? A little laughter about this stuff is sometimes a good thing.

But then, there's Conan's response... which again, is funny. But on the other hand, it's a little more concerning than the original monologue line:

Oh, boy.

An "insulin juice box" for that's made with 90% cane sugar and 10% cinnamon insulin -- so it's the "only juice drink that causes AND treats diabetes"?

{Shaking head, face to palm}

At least the jingle in the video mentions this is about type 2, and not type 1... which I guess is something. Still, despite the humor, the obviously-fake commercial could very well reinforce two erroneous things that many people outside the D-Community already believe: 1) Sugar causes diabetes, and 2) Cinnamon can treat diabetes.

Great. Thanks, Conan, for inadvertently reinforcing two myths our D-Community already battles on a regular basis. Just what we need...

I get it. This is all comedy. And while shaking my head, I did laugh. It was very funny, and assuming you know none of it's true, then you can enjoy a chuckle without any harm being done. But some might take a couple nuggets of truth from this.

Is there a chance a non-PWD will see the Conan clip and think, "Oh, there's a juice box you can get to lower your blood sugar! I saw it on Conan!"

Maybe. But that's really not what I worry about. For me, it's about the above two myths: the sugar-causing and cinnamon-treating.

Those myths are already widely perpetuated, and we hear about them from family, friends, coworkers and strangers all the time.

Does the risk of myth-spreading trump any attempt at humor? Have we lost the ability as a society to simply laugh at obvious jokes and not take everything so seriously? To an extent, maybe. It's a delicate balance.

Sure, if you can't laugh and make fun of life with diabetes, you'll drive yourself nuts pretty quickly. But there's a line between humor and misleading people, and sometimes things are just done in bad taste. Maybe this is one of them.

Yes, I think I can take a joke as well as the next guy or gal. But I don't think it's a stretch to think that some non-PWD parent or teacher will see this and renew their belief that a cookie or cone of ice cream will lead to some type of diabetes, maybe even "the bad kind."

I think we always need to make it clear that eating sugar isn't going to cause diabetes. It's just plain wrong when it comes to type 1, and on the type 2 front it's more complicated than just "too much sugar." Saying these things can have ripple effects on the larger community, for both type 1 and 2 PWDs. It's a "blame game" that keeps getting reinforced. No matter what the research and scientific data shows about lifestyle habits impacting type 2 and pre-diabetes, when it comes to quick soundbites on TV, we all need to be careful about making accurate statements. Because people will generally take the message at face value, and that's what is so dangerous.

We ALL need to do better. Especially celebrities in the public eye. That means you, Conan! ... despite the laughs you provide. Overall I think we should steer clear of  turning diabetes itself into a joke disease, just a "touch of sugar" that's more funny than serious... because more often than not this approach seems to backfire.

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This content is created for Diabetes Mine, a consumer health blog focused on the diabetes community. The content is not medically reviewed and doesn't adhere to Healthline's editorial guidelines. For more information about Healthline's partnership with Diabetes Mine, please click here.