Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, and Michael Jackson were all the butt of jokes on late night talk shows like SNL and Conan before their death These are easy jokes that get easy laughs and I've been guilty of laughing at them. Mya Rudolf's impression of a drugged up Whitney Houston became a fan favorite on SNL and the more she acted completely out of it, the more laughs she got. Well now Houston is dead and I assume that the character will be retired. It's not funny now that she has passed away but it never should have been funny in the first place.
I think that as a society we have accepted that if a famous person has problems then we can make fun of them and laugh at their problems.
I think we forget that drug and alcohol problems and mental illnesses are diseases. We would never make fun of a person dying of cancer but we ridicule people dying of addictions.